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S.A. Bent, comp. Familiar Short Sayings of Great Men. 1887.

Cardinal d’Este

  • [Hippolito d’Este, an Italian prelate, noted for his patronage of learning; brother of Alfonso, Duke of Modena; born 1479; died 1520.]
  • Se non è vero, è ben trovato.

  • Of the “Orlando Furioso,” which Ariosto, who had been for a long time in his service, dedicated to him, Cardinal d’Este is reported to have said, “If it is not true, it is certainly well invented.” The saying is a proverbial one, and has passed without translation into the literature of all nations. Büchmann can find no other authority, however, for the origin of the proverb than the anonymous author of “Grosse Leute, Kleine Schwächen,” and thinks it may have been translated into Italian from the close of the first part of “Don Quixote,” where Cervantes says that on the favorable reception of his work he will feel encouraged to seek after other adventures which may be quite as entertaining, though not so true (Bk. I. chap. lii.). (Vide Add.)
  • When asked how he could be satisfied with a small house that he had built, after having described such magnificent palaces in his “Orlando,” Ariosto replied, “Words are cheaper than stones.”