Nothing is more excellent in this life than to investigate and become familiar with the course of worldly events. Where does the grandeur of valiant men shine more brightly, or the wisdom of the prudent, or the discretion of the righteous, or the moderation of the temperate, than in the context of history? (3)
with the passage of time it may perhaps come about, in the same way that the names of the cities just mentioned - which were once well loved and highly regarded - are now considered barbarous and ridiculous, that the names of the shires, which are now very well known, may become either unrecognizable or unbelievable. From this it is clear how pitiably and uselessly we who live in the shires strive to make our own names famous, when even the names of cities and countries cannot survive. (17)
And we pray you, Bishop Alexander, father of the fatherland, prince second to the king, that anything we have written well may be brightened by your praise... Here you see kings and peoples whom the lottery of fate has raised up and put down, but judge the future by them. See, great father, what has become of the powerful: see how the honour, the lustre, the glory of the world come to nothing. (7-9)
History ... brings the past into view as though it were present, and allows judgement of the future by representing the past. (5)
The knowledge of past events has further virtues, especially in that it distinguishes rational creatures from brutes, for brutes, whether man or beast, do not know - nor, indeed, do they wish to know - about their origins, their race and the events and happenings in their native land. Of the two, I consider those brutish men to be the more wretched, because what is natural to beasts comes to brutish men from their own mindlessness, and what beasts would not be capable of, even if they wished to be, such men, even if capable, do not desire. (5)
 According to the Latin, this is the imperative, not an indicative sharing its subject with the previous clause.
 You know the good thing about studying the Middle Ages? Frequently, you can get away with just using the masculine pronoun, rather than saying "they" (informal), "one" (limited and stuffy), or that ugly "he or she". Given the overwhelming majority of Henry's intended audience would have been male, I think I can legitimately avoid the charge of slighting my own gender.