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William of Newburgh

I have received from your Holiness the letter in which you kindly allot to me the task of studying and recording those noteworthy events which have occurred in greater abundance in our day, so as to advance the knowledge and circumspection of posterity; and this in spite of the fact that in the revered community of your sons you have the resources of several men who could perform this work more aptly and gracefully. But as I see it your devoted wisdom has decreed that you should relieve your own sons of this task as they sweat in the performance of the service imposed by the rule, and you refuse to permit the leisure mercifully granted to my weakness to lie fallow. And indeed, such is the devotion which binds me to your regard for me that even if you were to impose more laborious tasks I should not dare to refuse you. As it is, your careful discretion bids me not to devote myself to the investigation of lofty matters, nor to the exploration of the mysteries, but to stroll for a while in the paths of historical narrative, an easy task offering me a form of mental recreation. This all the more deprives me of the chance of putting forward an excuse. So with the help of God our Lord (for we ourselves and our words lie in his hand) and relying on your prayers and commanding respect to your Holiness’ request, I shall embark on the task imposed upon me …

[William of Newburgh, History of English Affairs, p. 27].