Noble, worthy, courteous, and loving reader, if I could persuade thee to believe what profit the diligent and serious soldier doth reap by reading, and what advantage he gaineth above him, who thinketh to become a perfect soldier by a few years practice, without reading: Truly, thou wouldst use thy earnest diligence as well in the one as in the other; for I dare be bold to affirm, that reading and discourse doth as much or rather more, to the furtherance of a perfect soldier, than a few years practise without reading.
For out of my own experience, in my profession, having seen as many rare occurrences, and accidents of war by practise (as hath not been seen the like in many years before) which shall appear evidently by the subsequent observations of one regiment's service: Nevertheless, I must confess, that reading and discourse of wars, enable the mind more with perfect knowledge, than the bare practice of a few years. Therefore, what these years past I have collected, by the one and the other, following the laudable profession of arms, under the mighty and potent King of Denmark, the space of three years, and since under his Majesty of worthy memory the Invincible King of Sweden, his crown, and confederates, in four years; gathered together for the good, profit, and furtherance of thee and my country: whereby I hope the noble and worthy minded reader, shall be allured and animated to follow the traces of those worthy cavaliers mentioned in my observations, of most worthy memories: Whereof some, from mean condition, have risen to supreme honour, wealth, and dignity; though others perished in the way of preferment; for whose sakes, my sword shall be ever ready against the common enemy, that ruined the old and worthy regiment; the memory whereof shall never be forgotten, but shall live in spite of time; and its virtues and fame be made known to all those interested in the quarrel. The example of those brave spirits (noble and worthy reader) I hope, will allure you to follow their virtues, that you may be partaker of their honour, for the further credit of our nation. Therefore, worthy reader, what you find here, if you please, like; but howsoever, remember always to censure sparingly the writings of the shallow-brained soldier, not adorned with eloquent phrase; but with truth and simplicity. Pliny saith, there was no book so little worth, but might be profitable in some things. Caesar from his youth had his observations: and the bee out of the most poisonable herbs sucks the honey. Please to read, and thou shalt find something to delight thee; at least thou shalt see my thankfulness to my comrades and country, and examples of frequent mortality, to make thy use of. And as the stars take light from the sun; even so from histories, men draw knowledge and wisdom. Let me entreat thee therefore, when thou wouldst avoid care, to look on those observations, and by our examples amend thy life, and I shall be glad of thy profit, and not envy thy estate. If you ask; why I wrote these observations? It was because I loved my comrades. If why I published them, know it was for my friends, and not for the world, for which I care not, nor for any that is ungrateful; but those which accept well of this, will encourage me betime, to take greater pains for their sakes, if they view them. Farewell.
(Five poems in Latin omitted)