[The second instalment in an occasional series on the subtle art of captatio benevolentiae.]
"TO THE READER WHO EMPLOYS HIS LEISURE ILL
Whoever you may be, I caution you against rashly defaming the author of this work, or cavilling in jest against him. Nay, do not silently reproach him in consequence of others’ censure, nor employ your wit in foolish disapproval or false accusation. For, should Democritus Junior prove to be what he professes, even a kinsman of his elder namesake, or be ever so little of the same kidney, it is all up with you: he will become both accuser and judge of you in his petulant spleen, will dissipate you in jests, pulverize you with witticisms, and sacrifice you, I can promise you, to the God of Mirth.
Again I warn you against cavilling, lest, while you calumniate or disgracefully disparage Democritus Junior, who has no animosity against you, you should hear from some judicious friend the very words the people of Abdera heard of old from Hippocrates, when they held their well-deserving and popular fellow-citizen to be a madman: 'Truly, it is you, Democritus, that are wise, while the people of Abdera are fools and madmen.'
You have no more sense than the people of Abdera.
Having given you this warning in a few words, O reader who employ your leisure ill, farewell."
--Robert Burton, The Anatomy of Melancholy [trans. Holbrook Jackson]