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HISTORICAL AND EXPLANATORY NOTES
SAMUEL ARTHUR BENT, A.M.
Plato was asked if some saying of his would not be recorded.
Wer kann was Dummes, wer was Kluges denken,
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Of some one of the many thousand brief and pithy remarks which the great men and women of history have uttered, generally without premeditation, yet stamped with the seal of immortality, the question is often asked, “Who said it ? When was it said ? Under what circumstances ?” These questions are to some extent answered in the following pages. Curiosity, if not gratitude, would wish to fol. low to their source words which have, during the centuries since their first appearance, come repeatedly to man's aid in the sudden emergencies wherein history repeats itself. Many of them adorn the page of the historian, giving to narrative its local color, and lending to descriptions of character the air and dignity of authenticity. Research may, therefore, pay the debt of history by relieving such sayings of all adventitious circumstance, by removing those which belong to history from the domain of tradition, and relegating others to the abode of myth. Strangest of the fictions of history are the historic mots which have made Julian a blasphemer, Charles IX. a murderer, and Louis XIII. a monster. To banish calumny from serious literature is a service to truth. Only the romantic element of history will thereby