英文原文:
The task of writing a history of our nation from Rome's earliest days fills me, I confess, with some misgiving, and even were I confident in the value of my work, I should hesitate to say so. I am aware that for historians to make extravagant claims is, and always has been, all too common: every writer on history tends to look down his nose at his less cultivated predecessors, happily persuaded that he will better them in points of style, or bring new facts to light. Countless others have written on this theme and it may be that I shall pass unnoticed amongst them; if so, I must comfort myself with the greatness and splendor of my rivals.

My task, moreover, is an immensely laborious one. I shall have to go back more than seven hundred years, and trace my story from its small beginnings up to these recent times when its ramifications are so vast that any adequate treatment is hardly possible. I shall find antiquity a rewarding study, if only because, while I am absorbed in it, I shall be able to turn my eyes from the troubles which for so long have tormented the modern world, and to write without any of that over-anxious consideration which may well plague a writer on contemporary life, even if it does not lead him to conceal the truth.

中文译文:
我承认,要编写我们国家的历史,追溯到罗马建立伊始,这一任务让我顾虑重重。即使我对这项工作的价值充满信心,要这么说还是犹豫再三。我很明白史学家们爱唱高调,这向来司空见惯。每一位史学编写者往往对前人的工作嗤之以鼻,认为他们缺乏素养,心里暗自得意自己会在风格上有所突破,或取得新的历史发现。关于国家历史这一主题的作品不胜枚举,而我的作品可能湮没其中,不为人知。果真如此,前人巨著的伟大和精彩也会令我倍感欣慰。

此外,这项任务异常繁重。我要回顾到700多年前,从最初开始,一直追溯到近代,而这部分盘根错节,几乎无法详尽描述。现代社会问题重重,如果今世的作家对此过于心焦,即便不对真相有所掩盖,也难免受困于此。而如果我在潜心于古代研究时,能够不受这些问题的困扰,那恰恰体现了古代研究的价值所在。