The following dedication appeared in front of the first edition of The Unfortunate Traveller but had been dropped by the time the second edition was published, later the same year (1594). It appears that yet again Nashe had failed to secure the patronage of an important man, in this case the Earl of Southampton, a 'dere louer and cherisher... as well of the louers of Poets, as of Poets themselues.' Southampton evidently patronised Shakespeare, whose Venus and Adonis was dedicated to him, followed by The Rape of Lucrece just over a year later.
You sometimes come across references to Southampton as a patron of Nashe, an idea that arose solely because one manuscript version of his erotic poem The Choise of Valentines carries a dedicatory poem to 'the lord S.' But as McKerrow pointed out way back in 1906, the poem's other allusions make it clear that it's addressed to Lord Strange, not 'Lord Southampton' - which sounds wrong anyway. There is no other proof of a link between the two, and the fact that Nashe dropped the dedication below from the 2nd edition of The Unfortunate Traveller is a clear indication that there were no such links.
To the right Honorable Lord Henrie Wriothsley,
Ingenuous honorable Lord, I know not what blinde custome methodicall antiquity hath thrust vpon vs, to dedicate such books as we publish to one great man or other ; In which respect, least anie man should challenge these my papers as goods vncustomd, and so extend vppon them as forfeite to contempt, to the seale of your excellent censure loe here I present them to bee seene and allowed. Prize them as high or as low as you list: if you set anie price on them, I hold my labor well satisfide. Long haue I desired to approoue my wit vnto you. My reuerent duetifull thoughts (euen from their infancie) haue been retayners to your glorie. Now at last I haue enforst an opportunitie to plead my deuoted minde. All that is in this phantasticall Treatise I can promise, is some reasonable conueyance of historie, & varietie of mirth. By diuers of my good frends haue I been dealt with to employ my dul pen in this kinde, it being a cleane different vaine from other my former courses of writing. How wel or ill I haue done in it, I am ignorant: (the eye that sees round about it selfe, sees not into it selfe:) only your Honours applauding encouragement hath power to make mee arrogant. Incomprehensible is the heigth / of your spirit both in heroical resolution and matters of conceit. Vnrepriueably perisheth that booke whatsoeuer to wast paper, which on the diamond rocke of your iudgement disasterly chanceth to be ship-wrackt. A dere louer and cherisher you are, as well of the louers of Poets, as of Poets themselues. Amongst their sacred number I dare not ascribe my selfe, though now and then I speake English: that smal braine I haue to no further vse I conuert, saue to be kinde to my frends and fatall to my enemies. A new brain, a new wit, a new stile, a new soule will I get mee, to canonize your name to posteritie, if in this my first attempt I be not taxed of presumption. Of your gracious fauor I despaire not, for I am not altogether Fames out-cast. This handfull of leaues I offer to your view, to the leaues on trees I compare, which as they cannot grow of themselues except they haue some branches or boughes to cleaue too, & with whose iuice and sap they be euermore recreated & nourisht; so except these vnpolisht leaues of mine haue some braunch of Nobilitie whereon to depend and cleaue, and with the vigorous nutriment of whose authorized commendation they may be continually fosterd and refresht, neuer will they grow to the worlds good liking, but forthwith fade and die on the first houre of their birth. Your Lordship is the large spreading branch of renown, from whence these my idle leaues seeke to deriue their whole nourishing : it resteth you either scornfully shake them off, as worm-eaten and worthles, or in pity preserue them and cherish them, for some litle summer frute you hope to finde amongst them.
Your Honors in all humble seruice: