To Philip III,
supreme monarch of both worlds, from Tomás Luis de Victoria, chaplain of your sacred cesarean majesty.
Everybody knows, supreme monarch, that in your mind you have always appreciated that musical harmony which Alexander the Great also enjoyed, being able whether writing a poem or playing the lire, and putting a war up as well. Homer tells the same about Achilles and Plutarch about many other leaders and kings. This is what they did to calm and forget his worries with such a noble delight. In this way, they found not only pleasure in the gentleness of music but also music got a lot of power due to their support, since royal condition makes any common matter worthy and respectable. Therefore, since music owes a lot to those high people, it especially owes it to you, who use to mix it with the serious worries implied in reigning, making this art, with your support, superior to the rest of its sisters, so called fine arts. I would nearly dare to say you do this for necessity, since which other distraction is more rewarding for kings and leaders than music?. The same as any type of music is a kind of concordant sound of discordant voices, the unique affection of citizens joins their diverse customs, getting a delight, nearly heavenly, for kings’ ears. This is what pushed me to dedicate these hymns, high masses and chants to you. Not any other more suitable present for you could be hoped from me, as chaplain of your most sacred and augustan grandmother, for you (I insist) who are a pious king and fully concerned with church matters, who use to take care of them with pleasure, considering them as personal worries. In accepting this present, I will be protected from scandalous comments and those who celebrate high masses with hymns and chants at this very famous church of your very augustan uncle Joanna will become livelier for the daily worship of the true God.
Translation: Carmen Jerez Cid
[Digital dedicatory access]
Image from the specimen at Biblioteca de Catalunya, Barcelona (Spain).