I would also that thei should learne to swimme, the whiche is a thyng verie profitable: for that there be not alwaies bridges over rivers, boates be not alwaies readie: so that thy army not knowyng howe to swime, remaineth deprived of many commodities: and many occasions to woorke well, is taken awaie.
Therfore, I would knowe of you whereof it groweth, that of the one side you condempne those, that in their doynges resemble not the antiquitie? Of the other, in the warre, whiche is your art, wherin you are judged excellent, it is not seen, that you have indevoured your self, to bryng the same to any soche ende, or any thyng at all resembled therein the auncient maners.
Those men, whiche will enterprise any thyng, ought firste with all diligence to prepare theim selves, to be ready and apte when occasion serveth, to accomplish that, which thei have determined to worke: and for that when the preparacions are made craftely, thei are not knowen, there cannot be accused any man of any negligence, if firste it be not disclosed by thoccasion: in the which working not, is after seen, either that there is not prepared so moche as suffiseth, or that there hath not been of any part therof thought upon.
And if to you it shall not be tedious to speake, unto us it shal never be grevous to heare: but for asmoch as this reasonyng ought to be long, I will with your license take helpe of these my frendes: and thei, and I praie you of one thyng, that is, that you will not bee greved, if some tyme with some question of importaunce, we interrupte you.
If in the faight there happen thee, any accident that maie feare thy souldiours, it is a moste prudente thyng, to knowe how to desemble it, and to pervert it to good, as Tullo Hostilio did, and Lucius Silla: whom seyng while thei fought, how a parte of his men wer gone to the enemies side, and how thesame thing had verie moche made afraied his men, he made straighte waie throughout all the armie to be understoode, how all thing proceded, accordyng to his order: the whiche not onely did not trouble the armie, but it increased in them so moche stomack, that he remained victorious.
And looke whom he liked, he must laie doune in her lappe, suche somme of money as pleased him. That done thei bothe withdrew themselues fro the temple a greate distaunce, and laie together. That money was consecrate to Venus. There were certein kindredes emong theim, that liued with none other thyng but fisshe dried against the Sonne, and brused in a Mortare, and so laied vp till niede ware.
Then the fained assaultes availyng moche, whilest the faight continueth, it is conveniente, that the very assaultes in deede, dooe helpe moche: inespecially if at unwares in the middest of the faight, the enemie might bee assaulted behinde, or on the side: the whiche hardely maie be doen, if the countrie helpe thee not: for that when it is open, parte of thy men cannot bee hid, as is mete to bee doen in like enterprises: but in woddie or hille places, and for this apt for ambusshes parte of thy men maie be well hidden, to be able in a sodain, and contrary to thenemies opinion to assaut him, whiche thyng alwaies shall be occasion to give thee the victorie.
Therefore I saie unto you, how it importeth more then any thyng, to have the souldiours to know how to set themselves in araie quickly, and it is necessarie to keepe theim in this battaile, to exercise theim therin, and to make them to go apace, either forward or backward, to passe through difficulte places, without troublyng thorder: for asmoche as the souldiours, whiche can doe this well, be expert souldiours, and although thei have never seen enemies in the face, thei maie be called old souldiours, and contrariwise, those whiche cannot keepe these orders, though thei have been in a thousande warres, thei ought alwaies to be reputed new souldiours.
It hath been often a profitable thyng to a capitaine, that hath been besieged in his lodgynges by the enemie, to move an intreatie of agreemente, and to make truse with him for certaine daies: the which is wonte to make the enemies more necligente in all doynges: so that avaylynge thee of their necligence, thou maiest easely have occacion to get thee oute of handes.
COSIMO. You shall doe a thyng moste thankfull, yet I will saie concernyng thesame, that thei accuse it, to the entente you maie the better justifie it. Thei saie thus, either it is unprofitable, and we trustyng on the same, shall make us to lese our state, or it shall be verteous, and by thesame meane, he that governeth may easely deprive us thereof.