This is the first of nine Aldine editions of the complete rhetorical works of Cicero. Of particular interest is Aldus's complaint in his preface of constant distraction as he tries to work:
Two things--aside from 600 others--keep me from my work with their continual interruptions: first, the constant letters from learned men, sent to me from all sides: whole days and nights would be taken up in writing back if I were to respond to them all; and second, those who drop by, some just to chat, others to see what new work is going on, and others--by far the largest crowd--since they have nothing better to do say "Well, then, let's go visit Aldus!" So they come in droves and sit around, gaping, like "a leech that's not about to let go of your skin until it's full of blood."
I won't mention those who come to recite a poem or some prose composition, usually a rough first draft (the labor and delay of polishing is presumably too much for them), which they expect me to publish. . . .
As for those who drop in to chat, or for any other reason, I have taken care to warn them no longer to make nuisances of themselves or rudely interrupt my work and thought. I have set the following warning above the door to my office:
TO WHOM IT MAY CONCERN: ALDUS ASKS YOU AGAIN AND AGAIN THAT IF YOU WANT ANYTHING FROM HIM YOU MAKE IT BRIEF AND THEN LEAVE DIRECTLY, UNLESS YOU HAVE COME, LIKE HERCULES TO HOLD UP THE ARMS OF AN EXHAUSTED ALTLAS. THERE WILL ALWAYS BE WORK FOR YOU TO DO HERE AND FOR AS MANY OTHERS WHO WALK IN, TOO.