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JUAN DE VALDÉS.
A FAITHFUL REPRINT OF THE ITALIAN OF 1546
WITH TWO MODERN TRANSLATIONS,
IN SPANISH AND IN ENGLISH.
"VALDESSIO HISPANUS SCEIPTORE SUPERBIAT ORBIS."
Et principio quidem eo te modo docere incipiam, quo
[The pious layman, instructing Tauler in the way of Christian perfection, says to him:]
I will do, then, as schoolmasters are accustomed to do to their children when they first go to be instructed,— they set them forward with the alphabet, and so shall I do to thee. I shall first propose to thee a SPIRITUAL ALPHABET.LIFE OF JOHN TAULER, AND ALFABETO CHRISTIANO, p. 7.
Et voglio sgannarvi in questo, che io non vi dò queste regole, perche stiate legata ad esse, perche la 'ntentione mia è, che non vi serviate di loro, se non come d'uno ALFABETO CHRISTIANO, per mezzo del quale possiate venire alla perfettione christiana.— ALFABETO CHRISTIANO,
I wish to undeceive you in this, that I do not give you these rules that you should be bound to them, because my intention is that you should use them only as a CHRISTIAN ALPHABET, by means of which you may come to Christian perfection.-ALFABETO Christiano, p. 125.
(NOT PUBLISHED: ONLY 150 COPIES PRINTED, AND 20 ON LARGE PAPER.)
TO LUIS DE USOZ I RIO.
THE ALFABETO CHRISTIANO is a book unknown even to bibliographers for the last three centuries. It had its origin in an actual conversation between Juan de Valdés, twin brother to the Latin Secretary of the Emperor Charles the Fifth, and Giulia Gonzaga, Duchess of Trajetto and Countess of Fondi, at Naples, about the close of 1535 or the beginning of the following year. At her request it was immediately afterwards written down by him in Spanish, to promote her instruction and refresh her memory. It now essentially conveys to us the spirit and substance of the conversation in the precise form and manner in which it then took place between them.
To whom can I address the English translation of this interesting dialogue with greater propriety than to him who, by first directing my thoughts into this channel of literary research, may almost be considered
to have been its discoverer? A friendship whose sincerity seeks no compliment and whose freedom asks no favours save those which advance the common object of our pursuit, might of itself afford a sufficient motive. Yet to these considerations may be superadded the fact, that his liberality has furnished the means also to give the work to the press; and to render it at the same time more worthy of acceptance to the Spanish reader, by accompanying the Italian, now the only original text, with a careful translation into Spanish, he has restored it once more to the language in which it was originally written. The Spanish manuscript of this treatise, like that of the Ciento i diez Consideraziones, not having been printed, very early perished, leaving the Italian versions to serve as the texts for all the succeeding translations of both these valuable compositions. You are aware how amply an inquiry directed to this section of writers has been rewarded by the discovery of other works of their pens, either wholly forgotten, or of such rare occurrence as to be all but unique. I may point with pleasure to fresh editions restoring to them a renewed existence; and readers may now turn to translations of some of them from the Latin or Italian into their authors' native tongue, as in the present instance; thus giving them another country and the mind of another people for their range and perusal. In the first place, for example,