The Mathematicall Praeface to Elements of Geometrie of Euclid of Megara
(click on an icon to download eBook)
вќ§ The Translator to the Reader.
Here is (gentle Reader) nothing (the word of God onely set apart) which so much beautifieth and adorneth the soule and minde of mã, as doth the knowledge of good artes and sciences: as the knowledge of naturall and morall Philosophie. The one setteth before our eyes, the creatures of God, both in the heauens aboue, and in the earth beneath: in which as in a glasse, we beholde the exceding maiestie and wisedome of God, in adorning and beautifying them as we see: in geuing vnto them such wonderfull and manifolde proprieties, and naturall workinges, and that so diuersly and in such varietie: farther in maintaining and conseruing them continually, whereby to praise and adore him, as by S. Paule we are taught. The other teacheth vs rules and preceptes of vertue, how, in common life amongest men, we ought to walke vprightly: what dueties pertaine to our selues, what pertaine to the gouernment or good order both of an housholde, and also of a citie or common wealth. The reading likewise of histories, conduceth not a litle, to the adorning of the soule & minde of man, a studie of all men cõmended: by it are seene and knowen the artes and doinges of infinite wise men gone before vs. In histories are contained infinite examples of heroicall vertues to be of vs followed, and horrible examples of vices to be of vs eschewed. Many other artes also there are which beautifie the minde of man: but of all other none do more garnishe & beautifie it, then those artes which are called Mathematicall. Unto the knowledge of which no man can attaine, without the perfecte knowledge and instruction of the principles, groundes, and Elementes of Geometrie. But perfectly to be instructed in them, requireth diligent studie and reading of olde auncient authors. Amongest which, none for a beginner is to be preferred before the most auncient Philosopher Euclide of Megara. For of all others he hath in a true methode and iuste order, gathered together whatsoeuer any before him had of these Elementes written: inuenting also and adding many thinges of his owne: wherby he hath in due forme accomplished the arte: first geuing definitions, principles, & groundes, wherof he deduceth his Propositions or conclusions, in such wonderfull wise, that that which goeth before, is of necessitie required to the proufe of that which followeth. So that without the diligent studie of Euclides Elementes, it is impossible to attaine vnto the perfecte knowledge of Geometrie, and consequently of any of the other Mathematicall sciences. Wherefore considering the want & lacke of such good authors hitherto in our Englishe tounge, lamenting also the negligence, and lacke of zeale to their countrey in those of our nation, to whom God hath geuen both knowledge, & also abilitie to translate into our tounge, and to publishe abroad such good authors, and bookes (the chiefe instrumentes of all learninges): seing moreouer that many good wittes both of gentlemen and of others of all degrees, much desirous and studious of these artes, and seeking for them as much as they can, sparing no paines, and yet frustrate of their intent, by no meanes attaining to that which they seeke: I haue for their sakes, with some charge & great trauaile, faithfully translated into our vulgare toЕ©ge, & set abroad in Print, this booke of Euclide....