(1) Francesco Gonzaga.
I commend myself cordially. The fame and glory of the most illustrious House of Gonzaga are filling all Italy, and especially this city of Rome, with the rumour of the honours shown to and by Your Excellency, wherein I delight and take pride how all here are perpetually crying aloud: Gonzaga, Gonzaga. The Turk, the Turk! Marco, Marco! It is my hope, indeed my assurance, that Your Excellency will not prove unworthy of the many most learned Lords of that most illustrious House. And may God grant me to live until I see that which my heart longs for. I am now well pleased, and meseems this is worthy beginning to what I trust will have good continuance and an excellent conclusion. With such feeble powers as I have, I seek here, being your Excellency's servant, to do you honour with all my poor skill. And for love of Your Excellency I am well regarded by His Holiness the Pope and by all the Palace. True it is that I am given only the return of what I lay out, having never received even the slenderest reward; but I would fain ask nothing, being minded only to serve Your Lordship. Therefore I beg that you will not forget your Andrea Mantegna, that he may not lose his wages that he has received these many years from your most illustrious House, for matters cannot go well if I have nothing either here nor there. Therefore, my most illustrious Lord, I urgently commend this matter to you. Of my conduct here and my zeal, Your Excellency is, I believe, informed. It is a great undertaking for one man alone who desires the highest honour in Rome, where be so many learned and worthy men. But as with them that ride a race, the first wins the prize, so I must have it in the end, if it please God. Meanwhile I commend myself to Your Excellency.