Front Page Titles (by Subject) (Preface, written by Robert Prickett) - Selected Writings of Sir Edward Coke, vol. II
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(Preface, written by Robert Prickett) - Sir Edward Coke, Selected Writings of Sir Edward Coke, vol. II 
The Selected Writings and Speeches of Sir Edward Coke, ed. Steve Sheppard (Indianapolis: Liberty Fund, 2003). Vol. 2.
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(Preface, written by Robert Prickett)
To The Right Honourable the Earle of Exceter,
Knight of the most Honorable order of the Garter: and one of the Lordes of his Majesties most Honorable privie Counsel.
R. P. wisheth all encrease of Honor and endlesse happinesse.1
May it please your Hon. The observation which this world begets, may teach experience truly to report, that Love and Charity are for the most part growne so cold, even in the hotest Sun-shine of our Profession, as that despised Povertie, though addicted to the Religious exercise of endevors commendable, is in the best employment (which seemes with greatest Favor to smile upon his Hope) so coldly recompensed, as that pooreunpitieddejected miserable Povertie knowes neither Meanes nor Place how or where to warme it selfe.
Unhappie I, in this best time of greatest happines, who being as I am a Poore dispised, hated, scorned, and unrespected Souldier so unfortunate as no commended meanes, though many used, with confirmation both of love and Loyaltie, can bee of power from dispayres Gulfe, to raise a Spirit drowned, in worst of misery: but were I not indeered unto those by heaven made mine, who are indeed, to me, their life, more deare from whom there is no way to run, unlesse in me, selfe being be disolved, I would assuredly by heavens assistance in some honest War with use of Armes, give to my life so long as I should live, a living maintenance: but now Immured in my native home, unseperably Yoakt2 with leane-fact povertie. I have experience to conclude that as it is most certaine Pax procreat Bellum,3 so is it no lesse true, that a confirmed Peace, Non amat Filios belli,4 untill she hath need of them.
In this estate not knowing how to mend my selfe, Religions Lawe shall make my resolution honest, & though Rerum conditionem mutare non possum,5 yet I will have power to say Hoc possum magnum sumere animam et viro forti dignum,6 with patience therefore shal my grieved thoughts joyfully be thrown upon my makers providence bywhose assistance I will still resolve with a constant Bosome to persist in the prosecution of commendeddeedes, for this I know Spes mea, Christo vivens, Est vivere ut semper vivam.7
And thus, my Honorable Lord, having breathed forth a sight unto the grace of your compassionate respect: I humbly craveyour Honorwill vouch-safe, to patronize in this little booke (by me collected) not my owne but the words of that reverend and learned Judge, the Lord Coke, who at his coming to Norwich, did at the Assises there upon the bench, deliver a charge so exelent as that it worthyly deserves to bee continued in perpetuall memorie, which being thus prodused to a publique view, I hope it shall unto our Publickeweale remaine a worthy presedent, wherein Romes champions may with shame decerne their long continued shamefull practices, Puritans & Sismatickes learne to knowe with what Injustice they disturbe the happinesse of our most happie peace, our Justices, inferior officers, Jurors, and Commons generally, may in this booke find out commended documents, and instructions profitable as wel directing how to govern as to be governed: all which particulars the learned Judge hath wisely handled with such plausible Oratorical wisedomes eloquence, as that when I heard him speake, I thought the Poet had just cause to say, Prospera lux orritur linguisque; animisque; favete: Nam dicenda bono sunt bona verba die.8 If therefore in this following worke my Memory hath given a true instruction to my pen, I hope my labour shalbe accounted profitable, when it administersapublique benefit.
[1. ][Ed.: The Reader should note that the Preface is that of the reporter, and not, obviously, the words of Coke himself. It is reprinted here owing to Coke’s later disavowal of the printing, which may well have met with his initial approval.]
[2. ][Ed.: yoked.]
[3. ][Ed.: Peace begets war.]
[4. ][Ed.: does not love the sons of war.]
[5. ][Ed.: I cannot alter the condition of things.]
[6. ][Ed.: I may undertake this great [work], worthy of a spirited and mighty man.]
[7. ][Ed.: My hope, oh living Christ, is so to live that I may live for ever.]
[8. ][Ed.: The longed-for day is dawning; be favorable with your tongue and minds. Ovid, Fast. 1.71.]