Digressio is the handling of some matter going out from order, but yet for profit of some pertinent cause, we may digresse for the cause of praising, dispraising, delighting or preparing. Digressons are taken either from the declaration of deeds, the descriptions of persons, places and times, the reporting of Apollogies and similltudes, & likewise from common places.
There be diverse observations concerning digression neccessary to be remembred. 1. The first is to see som cause why we should digresse, that is, that the same digression may some maner of way profit comend, & garnish the cause that we have in hand, for the digression ought in some respect to pertaine & agree to those matters which we handle, and not to be strange or far distant from ye purpose. 2. The second is to provide a forehand a perfect & readie way to goe forth aptly, and making no long stay out, likewise to foresee a fit entrance for our returne.
3 The third is, to take good heede that we do not darken our main cause and principall matter: we darken it if we goe forth abruptly, tarie too long abroad, tell thinges strange, distant, or disagreeing to the purpose, or returne into the cause overthwartly.
The use of this figure.
If warinesse and good heed be taken, this figure is a vertue whereby the orations is amplified, garnished and wel commended:
otherwise it is a vice which doth violate both order and art, and doth greatly deforme the Oration by patching it, as it were with shreds and broken peeces.