For the Great Duke of Savoy Charles Emmanuel, the best and most pious Prince of Serbs, from Tomás Luis de Victoria from Avila, the most humble of priests who serve God with the kindest wishes of everlasting happiness.
As if I guessed that, in a short time, at the end of this year, you would become the King of our Spain’s beloved son in law, being Catholic over all and very powerful as well (which is fine and lucky for your Highness and for those who God put under your care), I decided that the huge amount of sacred songs proper for the Divine Office were carried by messengers carefully to Turin. I did such a thing with pleasure since the priest Juvenal Ancina, very close friend of mine for years, had been frequently asking me to do that because, whatever my musical ideas were, his Highness would consider and appreciate them due to the fact he studies and loves any divine matter. So, thinking I shouldn’t waste long, I was easily convinced to send the recently published works addressed, as it was worthy, to the unbeaten King Philip, whom I serve, to you. And, in fact, since that moment on I started to get together , with a great concern and more carefully (if I am not wrong), many melodies which had been made before. I considered it would be worthy if I took care that these melodies included in a single volume were printed and published as soon as possible so that your highness could have the book, signed by Victoria, just when coming back to Spain, thanking for the successful result of such a long journey.
Therefore, Great Duke, receive from my will, wonderfully fond of your greatness, and from my special appreciation this gift for you to feel really delighted and relieved of so many worries; you, who are going to be worthy for yourself and for everyone you govern so wisely and fortunately.
Finally, I would only like to really beg God, your highness and your just married wife Catherina can keep our fellow country Spanish people free and unharmed the longest possible, as well as French people, Savoyards and specially Subalpines, Italians and, eventually, all Europe. Good health!. Rome. April M.D. LXXXV.
Translation: Carmen Jerez Cid
[Digital dedicatory access]
Image from the specimen at Catedral de Córdoba, Córdoba (Spain).