Aurea Gemma <Gallica> 1.27-28
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[1.27] In all letters it is proper for you to quote some proverb and adapt the present business to it. Such a beginning has authority and immediately attracts the attention of all, if it is fittingly chosen and if it elegantly summarizes the essence of the matter at hand. Proverbs should be rarely inserted, lest we seem to be repeaters, not authors.

[1.28] You should also investigate the practices of diverse cities and the rites of the nations, if you wish to write anything properly, because, what is said of praise among some people gives offense to others. You should be careful, lest speaking of the same person, you say at one time 'to You' and at another time 'to thou', which some do, not realizing that they thereby incur offense. Concerning the highest and very high persons you should observe this rule: that in speaking to them you do not say 'I beseech you', but rather, 'I beseech Your Sanctity' or 'Your Prudence' or 'Your Serenity' or 'Your Piety', according to the person's office.

© Steven M. Wight, Los Angeles 1998
Scrineum © Universitą di Pavia 1999