The Holy War by John Bunyan.
TO THE READER.
'Tis strange to me, that they that love to tell
Things done of old, yea, and that do excel
Their equals in historiology,
Speak not of Mansoul's wars, but let them lie
Dead, like old fables, or such worthless things,
That to the reader no advantage brings:
When men, let them make what they will their own,
Till they know this, are to themselves unknown.
Of stories, I well know, there's divers sorts,
Some foreign, some domestic; and reports
Are thereof made as fancy leads the writers:
(By books a man may guess at the inditers.)
Some will again of that which never was,
Nor will be, feign (and that without a cause)
Such matter, raise such mountains, tell such things
Of men, of laws, of countries, and of kings;
And in their story seem to be so sage,
And with such gravity clothe every page,
That though their frontispiece says all is vain,
Yet to their way disciples they obtain.
But, readers, I have somewhat else to do,
Than with vain stories thus to trouble you.