Montemayor's Diana

Page 376

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To the most noble and vertuous Lady.Don̄a Maria de Austria y fuentes.

IF you were (my singular good Lady) that heauenly muse and diuine fire from whence this little creature hath borrowed life and light, being most happie that it was borne vnder such a constellation, whose beames and influence haue guided and indued it with those perfections, which now it presumeth by vertues thereof to possesse: Reason and dutie then it were to offer vp vnto your woorthines all the seruice it may, and humbly to craue of the same, That since now it commeth abroad to euery ones view, it may in the forhead carie the imprinted golden character and warrant of your noble and re∣nowned name: wherewith being protected, it feareth not any malignant spirit that may bite it. And little though this be which my zealous and dutifull affection, which I haue euer borne to you and your honorable house (from whence many gallant personages, and rare and learned wits haue sprung out) can present to such great bountie and vertue, the which nature hauing placed in a most beautifull and christalline figure, in euery part spread foorth their beames with loue and admiration: Yet respecting the minde of him that offers it, and the good will wherewith like bookes haue beene receiued by Kings and great Lordes, I hope faire Lady, you will not condemne me of too much presumption by dedicating this vnto your high patrocinie, when as the affiance which I haue in your gentle Graces, noble minde and sweete perfections inforceth me heereunto, the which duly to be recommended and recounted, require a finer wit and fitter place. Which if at any time heereafter my happy fortune shall grant me, in nothing else so iustly it shal be imploied, then in the deserued praise and seruice of your Ladiship, whose illustrous person and house our Lord defend and prosper many yeeres with increase of all happinesse. From VALENCIA the ninth of Februarie 1564.

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