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Some, my dear Sossius Senecio, imagine that this sentence, μσέω μνάμονα συμπόταν, was principally designed against the stewards of a feast, who are usually troublesome and press liquor too much upon the guests. For the Dorians in Sicily (as I am informed) called the steward μνάμονα, a remembrancer. Others think that this proverb admonisheth the guests to forget every thing that is spoken or done in company; and agreeably to this, the ancients used to consecrate forgetfulness with a ferula to Bacchus, thereby intimating that we should either not remember any irregularity committed in mirth and company, or apply a gentle and childish correction to the faults. But because you are of opinion that to forget absurdities is indeed (as Euripides says) a piece of wisdom, but to deliver over to oblivion all sort of discourse that merry meetings do usually produce is not only repugnant to that endearing quality that most allow to an entertainment, but against the known practice of the greatest philosophers (for Plato, Xenophon, Aristotle, Speusippus, Epicurus, Prytanis, Hieronymus, Dion the Academic, have thought it a worthy and noble employment to deliver down to us those discourses they had at table), and since it is your pleasure that I should gather up the chiefest of those scattered topics which both at Rome and Greece amidst our cups and feasting we have disputed on, in obedience to your commands I have sent [p. 198] three books, each containing ten problems; and the rest shall quickly follow, if these find good acceptance and do not seem altogether foolish and impertinent.
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