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The translator to the
gentle reader. .
HOU shalte understande gentle reader that thoughe this worke of Utopia in English, come nowe the seconde tyme furth in print, yet was it never my
minde nor intente, that it shoulde ever have bene imprinted at all, as who for no such purpose toke' upon me 5 at the firste the translation thereof, but did it onelye at the request of a frende, for his owne private use, upon hope that he wolde have kept it secrete to hym self alone. Whom though I knew to be a man in dede, both very wittie, and also skilful, yet was I certen, that in the knowledge of the 10 Latin tonge, he was not so well sene, as to be hable to judge of the finenes or coursenes of my translation. Wherfore I wente the more sleightlye through with it, propoundynge to my selfe therein, rather to please my sayde frendes judgemente then myne owne. To the meanesse of whose learn- 15 inge I thoughte it my part to submit and attemper my stile. Lightlie therefore I over ran the whole woorke, and in short tyme, with more hast then good speede, I broughte it to an ende. But as the Latin proverbe sayeth : The hastye bitche bringeth furth blind whelpes. For when this my 20 worke was finished, the rudenes therof shewed it to be done in poste haste. How be it, rude and base though it were, yet fortune so ruled the matter that to imprintinge it came, and that partly against my wyll. Howebeit not beinge hable in this behalfe to resist the pitthie persuasions of my frendes, 25 and perceaving therfore none other remedy, but that furth it
shoulde: I comforted myselfe for the tyme, only with this notable saying of Terence.
Ita vita est hominum, quasi quum ludas tesseris.'
Si illud, quod est maxume opus iactu non cadit: 5 Illud, quod cecidit forte, id arte ut corrigas.
In which verses the Poete likeneth or compareth the life of man to a diceplaiyng or a game at the tables : meanynge therein, if that chaunce rise not, whiche is most for the
plaiers advauntage, that then the chaunce, which fortune 10 hathe sent, ought so connyngly to be played, as may be to
the plaier least dammage. By the which worthy similitude surely the wittie Poete geveth us to understande, that though in any of our actes and doynges, (as it ofte chaunceth) we
happen to faile and misse of our good pretensed purpose, so 15 that the successe and our intente prove thinges farre odde:
yet so we ought with wittie circumspection to handle the matter, that no evyll or incommoditie, as farre furth as may be, and as in us lieth, do therof ensue. According to the
whiche counsell, though I am in dede in comparison of an 20 experte gamester and a conning player, but a verye bungler,
yet have I in this bychaunce, that on my side unwares hath fallen, so (I suppose) behaved myself, that, as doubtles it might have bene of me much more conningly handled, had
I forethought so much, or doubted any such sequele at the 25 beginninge of my plaie : so I am suer it had bene much
worse then it is, if I had not in the ende loked somwhat earnestlye to my game. For though this worke came not from me so fine, so perfecte, and so exact at the first, as
surely for my smale lerning it should have done, yf I had 30 then ment the publishing therof in print: yet I trust I have
now in this seconde edition taken about it such paines, that verye fewe great faultes and notable errours are in it to be founde. Now therfore, most gentle reader, the meanesse of this simple translation, and the faultes that be therin (as I feare muche there be some) I doubt not, but thou wilt, in just consideration of the premisses, gentlye and favour
ablye winke at them. So doynge
Thomas More to Pe-
AM almoste ashamed, righte welbeloved Peter Giles, to send unto you this boke of the Utopian commen wealth, welniegh after a yeres space,
whiche I am sure you looked for within a 5 moneth and a halfe. And no marveil. For you knewe
well ynough that I was alreadye disbourdened of all the laboure and studye belongynge to the invention in this worke, and that I had no nede at al to trouble my
braines about the disposition or conveiaunce of the matter : and 10 therfore had herein nothing els to do, but only to rehearse
those thinges, whiche you and I togethers hard maister Raphael tel and declare. Wherefore there was no cause why I shuld study to set forth the matter. with eloquence :
for as much as his talke could not be fine and eloquent, 15 beynge firste not studied for, but suddein and unpreme
ditate, and then, as you know, of a man better sene in the Greke language, then in the Latin tonge. And my writynge,
the niegher it should approche to his homely simplicitic and plaine, and simple speche, somuche the niegher 20 playnes.
shuld it go to the trueth : which is the onelye marke, wherunto I do and ought to directe all my travail and study herin. I graunte and confesse, frende Peter, myselfe discharged of so muche laboure, havinge all these thinges
ready done to my hande, that almooste there was nothinge left 25 for me to do. Elles either the invention, or the disposition of
this matter myghte have required of a witte neither base,
neither at all unlearned, both some time and leasure and also some studie. But if it were requisite and necessarie, that the matter shoulde also have bene wrytten eloquentlie, and not alone truelye: of a sueretie that thynge coulde I have perfourmed by no tyme nor studye. But now seynge 5 all these cares, stayes and lettes were taken awaye, wherin elles so muche laboure and studye shoulde have bene employed, and that there remayned no other thynge for me to do, but onelye to write playnelie the matter as I hard it spoken : that in deede was a thynge lighte and easye to be 10 done. Howbeit to the dispatchynge of thys so lytle busynesse, my other cares and troubles did leave almost lesse then no leasure. Whiles I doo dayelie bestowe my time aboute lawe matters : some to pleade, bussines and some to heare, some as an arbitratoure with
15 myne awarde to determine, some as an umpier or a judge, with my sentence finallye to discusse. Whiles I go one waye to see and visite my frende: another about
myne owne privat affaires. Whiles I spende almost al the day abrode emonges other, and the residue at home among 20 mine owne; I leave to my self, I meane to my booke, no time. For when I am come home, I muste commen with my wife, chatte with my children and talke wyth my servauntes. All the whiche thinges I recken and accompte amonge businesse, forasmuche as they muste of necessitie 25 be done: and done muste they nedes be, onelesse a man wyll be straunger in his owne house. And in any wyse a man muste so fashyon and order hys conditions, and so appoint and dispose him selfe, that he be merie, jocunde and pleasaunt amonge them, whom eyther nature hathe 30 provided, or chaunce hath made, or he hym selfe hath chosen to be the felowes and companyons of hys life : so that with to muche gentle behavioure and familiaritie, he do