To the most gracious, and our most dread Sovereign Lord, King Henry the VIII., by the Grace of God, King of England, Prance, and Ireland, Defender of the Faith, and of the Church of England, and also of Ireland, in earth Supreme Head, next under Christ, be all Health, Victory, and Felicity.
WHAT time as, most Gracious Prince, your Highness, this last year past, took that your most honourable and victorious journey into France, accompanied with such a port of the Nobility and Yeomanry of England, as neither hath been like known by experience, nor yet read of in history: accompanied also with the daily prayers, good hearts, and wills, of all and every one your Grace's subjects left behind you here at home in England; the same time, I being at my book in Cambridge, sorry that my little ability could stretch out no better to help forward so noble an enterprise, yet with my good will, prayer, and heart, nothing behind him that was foremost of all, conceived a wonderful desire, by the prayer, wishing, talking, and communication, that was in every man's mouth, for your Grace's most victorious return, to offer up something, at your home-coming, to your Highness, which should both be a token of my love and duty toward your Majesty, and also a sign, of my good mind and zeal toward my country.
This occasion, given to me at that time, caused me to take in hand again this little purpose of shooting, begun of me before, yet not ended then, for other studies more meet for that trade of living, which God and my friends had set me unto. But when your Grace's most joyful and happy victory prevented my daily and speedy diligence to perform this matter, I was compelled to wait another time, to prepare and offer up this little book unto your Majesty. And when it hath pleased your Highness, of your infinite goodness, and also your most honourable Council, to know and peruse over the contents, and some part of this book, and so to allow it, that other men might read it, through the furtherance and setting forth of the right worshipful and my singular good master, Sir William Paget, Knight, most worthy secretary to your Highness, and most open and ready succour to all poor honest learned men's suits, I most humbly beseech your Grace to take in good worth this little treatise, purposed, begun, and ended of me only for this intent, that labour, honest pastime, and virtue, might recover again that place and right, that idleness, unthrift, gaming, and vice, have put them fro [from].
And although to have written this book either in Latin or Greek (which thing I would be very glad yet to do, if I might surely know your Grace's pleasure therein), had been more easy and fit for my trade in study; yet nevertheless, I, supposing it no point of honesty, that my commodity should stop and hinder any part either of the pleasure or profit of many, have written this English matter, in the English tongue, for Englishmen ; where in this I trust that your Grace (if it shall please your Highness to read it) shall perceive it to be a thing honest for me to write, pleasant for some to read, and profitable for many to follow; containing a pastime honest for the mind, wholesome for the body, fit for every man, vile for no man, using the day and open place for honesty to rule it : not lurking in corners for misorder to abuse it. Therefore I trust it shall appear to be both a sure token of my zeal to set forward shooting, and some sign of my mind towards honesty and learning.
Thus will I trouble your Grace no longer, but with my daily prayer I will beseech God to preserve your Grace in all health and felicity : to the fear and overthrow of all your enemies: to the pleasure, joyfulness, and succour of all your Subjects : to the utter destruction of Papistry and Heresy : to the continual setting forth of God's word and his glory.