Magnificent lord. 2 I submit humble reverence to you and offer due recommendations. It may be that your Magnificence will be astonished at my temerity that I should dare so absurdly to write the present long letter to your Magnificence, knowing that your Magnificence is constantly occupied in the high councils and affairs touching the lofty Republic. And I may be considered not only presumptuous but also idle in writing things not convenient to your condition nor agreeable, and written in a barbarous style. But as I have confidence in your virtues and in the merit of my writing, which is touching things never before written upon either by ancient or modern writers, as will be seen, I may be excused by your Magnificence. The principal thing that moved me to write to you was the request of the bearer, who is named Benvenuto Benvenuti, our Florentine, who is very much the servant of your Magnificence, as he tells me, and a great friend of mine. He, finding himself here in this city of Lisbon, requested me to give an account to your Magnificence of the things by me seen in different parts of the world, during the four voyages that I have made to discover new lands; two by order of the Catholic King Ferdinand, by the Great Gulf of the Ocean Sea towards the west, the other two by order of the powerful King Manoel of Portugal, towards the south. He assured me that you will be pleased, and that in this I might hope to serve you. It was this that disposed me to do it, being assured that your Magnificence would include me in the number of your servants, remembering how, in the time of our youth, I was your friend, and now your servant, going together to hear the principles of grammar under the good life and doctrine of the venerable religious friar of St. Mark, Friar Giorgio Antonio Vespucci, whose counsels and doctrine, if it had pleased God that I had followed, I should have been another man from what I am, as Petrarch says. Quomodocunque sit, I am not ashamed, because I have always taken delight in virtuous things. Yet if these my frivolities are not acceptable to your virtue, I will reflect on what Pliny said to Maecenas, “Formerly my witticisms used to entertain you.” It may be that, though your Magnificence is continually occupied with public affairs, you may find an hour of leisure, during which you can pass a little time in frivolous or amusing things, and so, as a change from so many occupations, you may read this my letter. For you may well turn for a brief space from constant care and assiduous thought concerning public affairs.