To our noble and most illustrious lord, Mr. Gérard De Villiers, mayor of Villers-Perwin1, doctor of medicine and distinguished professor at the University of Louvain, called in as court physician by the most honourable
Duke of Bavaria, appointed, retained and paid as such by the most illustrious Archduke and Archduchess of Austria, Albert
and Isabella, sovereigns of the Belgae. Head physician to the magnates of the southern Netherlands.
What must I do? Shall I dedicate this to you? Your nobility too exalted for my humble little work. You who draw your
blood from the ancient French family De Villiers; you who with your own virtue have given new light to your pedigree when
it was eclipsing under an adverse course of fate; you, whose splendour Isabella, the most illustrious sovereign of the Belgae,
has confirmed by reinstating you; whose family history, attacked with the bites of envy, Philip IV, king of Spain and the
Indies, declared illustrious by an official document. Shall I call you to be my Maecenas? Your shining qualities are too much
for my obscure pen. You who with admirable learning and lectures of the highest quality gave lustre to the university of Louvain;
you who have done it honour magnificently by your government and rectorate; you who have widely transmitted the rays of your
great fame over Spain, France, England, Germany, Bavaria and Liège2, and more remote regions. Witness Liège: how often did not its magistrates call in your services and with it bestowed on
you the highest honour? Witness Bavaria, the most illustrious Duke of which called you to his sickroom (this came with a considerable
reward). Witness France, England and Germany, that asked your advice. Witness Spain that recently provided a glorious testimony
about your merits. Witness the land of the Belgae, in which almost all princes, counts and other persons of more elevated
rank (also in the United Provinces) invited and consulted you; in which Albert, most illustrious Archduke of Austria, called
in your services, retained you and bestowed on you gifts to honour you. What shall I say? To praise you is beyond my pen.
I who, when I have said quite a few things, will think that I have said too little or nothing at all that is commensurate
with your dignity. I will be silent. However, lest I be accused of pressing for my reward, and lest again a second edition,
being under nobody's protection and a vagabond goes begging for another's patronage, I take my refuge with you, and as a suppliant
place it under yours. Let therefore your beneficence grant access, may your benevolence bow to my desire. May it see the light
under your famous name, that little book of mine that, if it leans on your protection and authority will be published and
stay immune against the criticisms of malevolent detractors.