When I downloaded the Kindle reader for PC, I picked up a free copy of the Prince. Nice synchronicity: I immediately found the passage from the introduction pasted below. I have added a little emphasis.
On the return of the Medici, Machiavelli, who for a few weeks had vainly hoped to retain his office under the new masters of Florence, was dismissed by decree dated 7th November 1512. Shortly after this he was accused of complicity in an abortive conspiracy against the Medici, imprisoned, and put to the question by torture. The new Medicean people, Leo X, procured his release, and he retired to his small property at San Casciano, near Florence, where he devoted himself to literature. In a letter to Francesco Vettori, dated 13th December 1513, he has left a very interesting description of his life at this period, which elucidates his methods and his motives in writing "The Prince." After describing his daily occupations with his family and neighbours, he writes: "The evening being come, I return home and go to my study; at the entrance I pull off my peasant-clothes, covered with dust and dirt, and put on my noble court dress, and thus becomingly re-clothed I pass into the ancient courts of the men of old, where, being lovingly received by them, I am fed with that food which is mine alone; where I do not hesitate to speak with them, and to ask for the reason of their actions, and they in their benignity answer me; and for four hours I feel no weariness, I forget every trouble, poverty does not dismay, death does not terrify me; I am possessed entirely by those great men. And because Dante says:
Knowledge doth come of learning well retained, Unfruitful else,
I have noted down what I have gained from their conversation, and have composed a small work on Principalities,' where I pour myself out as fully as I can in meditation on the subject, discussing what a principality is, what kinds there are, how they can be acquired, how they can be kept, why they are lost ….
Machiavelli, Niccolo (2006-02-11). The Prince (p. 5). Public Domain Books. Kindle Edition.
I regret it, but it is a fact that despite my writing things down in here, they are not well remembered. This is just my karma, and as one always has the option, indeed the duty, to improve one’s karma, I think of maintaining this website as part of a process like that.