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Besides the ordinary errata, which happen in printing a work, others have been purposely committed, that the errata may contain what is not permitted to appear in the body of the work. Wherever the Inquisition had any power, particularly at Rome, it was not allowed to employ the word fatum, or fata, in any book. An author, desirous of using the latter word, adroitly invented this scheme; he had printed in his book facta, and, in the errata, he put, “For facta, read fata.”

Scarron has done the same thing on another occasion. He had composed some verses, at the head of which he placed this dedication–A Guillemette, Chienne de ma Soeur; but having a quarrel with his sister, he maliciously put into the errata, “Instead of Chienne de ma Soeur, read ma Chienne de Soeur.”

Lully, at the close of a bad prologue said, the word fin du prologue was an erratum, it should have been fi du prologue!

In a book, there was printed, le docte Morel. A wag put into the errata, “For le docte Morel, read le Docteur Morel.” This Morel was not the first docteur not docte.

When a fanatic published a mystical work full of unintelligible raptures, and which he entitled Les Delices de l’Esprit, it was proposed to print in his errata, “For Delices read Delires.”

The author of an idle and imperfect book ended with the usual phrase of cetera desiderantur, one altered it, Non desiderantur sed desunt; “The rest is wanting, but not wanted.”

At the close of a silly book, the author as usual printed the word FINIS.–A wit put this among the errata, with this pointed couplet:–

FINIS!–an error, or a lie, my friend!
In writing foolish books–there is no End!

In the year 1561 was printed a work, entitled “the Anatomy of the Mass.” It is a thin octavo, of 172 pages, and it is accompanied by an Errata of 15 pages! The editor, a pious monk, informs us that a very serious reason induced him to undertake this task: for it is, says he, to forestal the artifices of Satan. He supposes that the Devil, to ruin the fruit of this work, employed two very malicious frauds: the first before it was printed, by drenching the MS. in a kennel, and having reduced it to a most pitiable state, rendered several parts illegible: the second, in obliging the printers to commit such numerous blunders, never yet equalled in so small a work. To combat this double machination of Satan he was obliged carefully to re-peruse the work, and to form this singular list of the blunders of printers under the influence of Satan. All this he relates in an advertisement prefixed to the Errata.

A furious controversy raged between two famous scholars from a very laughable but accidental Erratum, and threatened serious consequences to one of the parties. Flavigny wrote two letters, criticising rather freely a polyglot Bible edited by Abraham Ecchellensis. As this learned editor had sometimes censured the labours of a friend of Flavigny, this latter applied to him the third and fifth verses of the seventh chapter of St. Matthew, which he printed in Latin. Ver 3. Quid vides festucam in OCULO fratris tui, et trabem in OCULO tuo non vides? Ver. 5. Ejice primum trabem de OCULO tuo, et tunc videbis ejicere festucam de OCULO fratris tui. Ecchellensis opens his reply by accusing Flavigny of an enormous crime committed in this passage; attempting to correct the sacred text of the Evangelist, and daring to reject a word, while he supplied its place by another as impious as obscene! This crime, exaggerated with all the virulence of an angry declaimer, closes with a dreadful accusation. Flavigny’s morals are attacked, and his reputation overturned by a horrid imputation. Yet all this terrible reproach is only founded on an Erratum! The whole arose from the printer having negligently suffered the first letter of the word Oculo to have dropped from the form, when he happened to touch a line with his finger, which did not stand straight! He published another letter to do away the imputation of Ecchellensis; but thirty years afterwards his rage against the negligent printer was not extinguished; the wits were always reminding him of it.