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Study has always been for me the sovereign remedy against life’s unpleasantness, since I have never experienced any sorrow that an hour’s reading did not eliminate.

[L’étude a été pour moi le souverain remède contre les dégoûts de la vie, n’ayant jamais eu de chagrin qu’une heure de lecture n’ait dissipé.]

Charles-Lewis de Secondat, Baron de Montesquieu (1689-1755) French political philosopher
Pensées [Thoughts], # 213 (1720-1755) [tr. Clark (2012)]

(Source (French)). Alternate translations:

Study has been my sovereign remedy against the worries of life. I have never had a care that an hour's reading could not dispel.
[Source (1826)]

Study is a sovereign remedy against the troubles of life; there is no vexation which an hour's reading cannot mitigate.
[E.g. (1877)]

Study has been to me a sovereign remedy against the vexations of life, having never had an annoyance that one hour's reading did not dissipate.
[E.g. (1905)]

Study has been my sovereign remedy against life's disappointment; I have never known any distress that an hour's reading did not relieve.
[ed. Guterman (1963)]

Added on 1-Jul-24 | Last updated 1-Jul-24
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BEATRICE: I had rather hear my dog bark at a crow than a man swear he loves me.

William Shakespeare (1564-1616) English dramatist and poet
Much Ado About Nothing, Act 1, sc. 1, l. 129ff (1.1.120-130) (1598)
Added on 4-Mar-24 | Last updated 3-Mar-24
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At your approach the neighbours flee,
What is the cause that makes them flout you.
And that wherever you may be
A desert seems to spread about you?

A tigress of her whelps bereft
May fill the bravest heart with terror;
Untouched the basking snake is left
And handling scorpions is an error;

But you provide a peril worse —
Tis this, you overact the poet;
When you persist in reading verse,
Could any patience undergo it?

For though I run or stand or sit
With verse my ears are still blockaded;
Aye, at the baths I must submit,
My privy chambers are invaded,

You stop me on my way to dine,
Then wearied by your droning numbers
My seat at table I resign —
I fall asleep — you break my slumbers.

Observe the evil that you do.
Though good, men hold you as pernicious ;
And thus an upright bore like you
Makes even virtue look suspicious.

[Occurrit tibi nemo quod libenter,
Quod, quacumque venis, fuga est et ingens
Circa te, Ligurine, solitudo,
Quid sit, scire cupis? Nimis poeta es.
Hoc valde vitium periculosum est.
Non tigris catulis citata raptis,
Non dipsas medio perusta sole,
Nec sic scorpios inprobus timetur.
Nam tantos, rogo, quis ferat labores?
Et stanti legis et legis sedenti,
Currenti legis et legis cacanti.
In thermas fugio: sonas ad aurem.
Piscinam peto: non licet natare.
Ad cenam propero: tenes euntem.
Ad cenam venio: fugas sedentem.
Lassus dormio: suscitas iacentem.
Vis, quantum facias mali, videre?
Vir iustus, probus, innocens timeris.]

Marcus Valerius Martial
Martial (AD c.39-c.103) Spanish Roman poet, satirist, epigrammatist [Marcus Valerius Martialis]
Epigrams [Epigrammata], Book 3, epigram 33 (3.44) (AD 87-88) [tr. Pott & Wright (1921)]

"To Ligurinus." (Source (Latin)). Alternate translations:

That none would meet thee willingly,
But where so ere thou com'st, all fly
O Ligurinus, wouldst thou know it?
The cause is th' art too much a Poet.
That fault is wondrous dangerous.
No Tiger robb'd of whelpes by us
So much is fear'd, no Scorpion,
Nor Dipsas basking in the Sun.
For who can ere endure such paine?
Standing thou read'st, sitting againe;
Running, and at the privy too.
To th' bath I goe; there readest thou.
I goe to swimme; thy Booke delayes me.
I goe to supper; thence it stayes me.
When I am set, thy reading makes me
To rise; and when I sleepe, it wakes me.
Behold, what hurt thou dost. None can
Brooke thee a just, good, harmelesse man.
[tr. May (1629)]

You come: away flies every mother's son:
On Bagshot Heath you can't be more alone.
If you ask, why? -- You are bewitch'd with rhime:
And this, believe me, is a dangerous crime.
Robb'd of her whelps a tigress thus we shun;
Or viper basking in the noon-day sun:
Not more the dreadful scorpion's sting we fear,
Than this incessant lugging by the ear.
Standing or sitting, you repeat your lays:
On my close-stool I hear them; in my chaise:
Your trumpet on the water strikes my ear.
I at Vaux-haull no other music hear.
When dinner waits, you seise me by the button:
At table plac'd, you drive me from my mutton:
From a sweet nap you rouse me by your song.
How much by this yourself and me you wrong!
The man of worth the poet makes us fly;
And by your verse we lose your probity.
[tr. Hay (1755)]

That happiness and thee can no man meet,
Where'er thou rom'st, that one and all retreat;
That thee a solitude immense surrounds,
The why thy knowledge and thy wit confounds.
The why is this: thou art a very poet.
The fault is not, to be one; but to show it.
Not so, of whelps bereft a tigress dire;
Not so, a sunburnt serpent in her ire;
Us not the balefull scorpion so can scare:
What living man con constant murder bear?
Standers thou readest down, and those that sit;
And him that runs, and him that works his wit.
Flying into the bath, I waters limn:
Plunging into the pond, I may not swim.
I haste to supper; thou detain'st in spite:
I lean at supper: thou enjoy'st my flight.
When sleep would mercifully seal mine eyes,
Thou mercilessly bidd'st the slumb'rer rise.
Would'st comprehend what words thou work'st of woe?
The cause and consequence one word shall show.
A man for parts and probity rever'd,
Thou art by all, insted of worshipt, FEAR'D.
[tr. Elphinston (1782), Book 7, ep. 25]

Do you wish to know the cause why no one willingly meets you? that wherever you come, Ligurinus! you put people to flight, and create a solitude around you? The cause is, that you are too much of a poet. This is a very perilous fault. A tiger exasperated by the capture of her whelps, a serpent scorched by the mid-day sun, a fierce scorpion are objects of less dread. For, I ask, who would willingly sustain the labours you are in the habit of imposing? You read your verses to the stander, you read them to the sitter, you read them to the runner, you read them to every one, whatever he is about. I fly to the warm baths, your voice sounds in my ear. I seek a cold bath, you interrupt my swimming. I hasten to supper, you detain me on the way; I have got to supper before you, you oblige me to change my seat. I am wearied with hearing you, and go to sleep, you rouse me as I recline on my couch. Do you desire to know the harm you do? Just, moral, innocent as you are known to be by all men, by all men you are feared.
[tr. Amos (1858), "An Inopportune Reciter"]

Do you wish to know the reason, Ligurinus, that no one willingly meets you; that, wherever you come, everybody takes flight, and a vast solitude is left around you? You are too much of a poet. This is an extremely dangerous fault. The tigress aroused by the loss of her whelps, the viper scorched by the midday sun, or the ruthless scorpion, are less objects of terror than you. For who, I ask, could undergo such calls upon his patience as you make? You read your verses to me, whether I am standing, or sitting, or running, or about private business. I fly to the hot baths, there you din my ears: I seek the cold bath, there I cannot swim for your noise: I hasten to dinner, you stop me on my way; I sit down to dinner, you drive me from my seat: wearied, I fall asleep, you rouse me from my couch. Do you wish to see how much evil you occasion? -- You, a man just, upright, and innocent, are an object of fear.
[tr. Bohn's Classical (1859)]

Why everybody shuns your sight,
And why, since all are put to flight,
Wherever your approach is viewed,
The place is one vast solitude : --
This, Ligurinus, would you know?
You're too poetical, I trow.
'Tis dangerous having this repute.
Not savage tigress in pursuit
Of them that stole her whelps away,
Not serpent, scorched by burning ray
Of Libya's sun, not scorpion fell
Is deemed by all so terrible.
For, prythee tell me, who could bear
The burdens you for folk prepare?
Should I stand by, your rhymes you read;
Or if I sit, you still proceed.
To the hot baths I fly for fear:
You din your verses in my ear.
Chased thence, I seek the plunge-bath's brim:
But while you're ranting, who could swim?
To dinner then I haste: alack!
Just as I start, you hold me back.
The table reached, I fain would eat:
You scare me as I take my seat.
Quite wearied out, to sleep I try:
You rouse me ere I down can lie.
Shall I, my friend, make plain to you
What serious mischief 'tis you do?
All fear you still, and fly you far,
Good, upright, blameless as you are.
[tr. Webb (1879)]

The cause of the rout
When it's rumored you're out,
Since you wish, Ligurinus, to know it.
Of your making bare space
Of a populous place
Is just this -- you're too much of a poet.

It 's a terrible thing.
This craving to sing:
No tiger that 's robbed of her youngling.
No snake in the sun,
No irate scorpion
Is so feared as your metrical bungling.

Whether one's sitting down.
Or is walking down town.
Or is even engaged with his toilet,
Or stretching a limb
In a run at the gym,
Up you come with an eclogue to spoil it.

When I flee to the bath
You are fast on my path,
Bawling ballads that drive me phrenetic.
I jump in the tank
And reflect if I sank
That drowning's at least anaesthetic.

When I run out to meals
You recite at my heels,
Read me epitaphs while I'm at table.
I retire, wearied out.
And am waked by your shout
That I must hear your versified fable.

Now a poet's worst rhymes
May be doubtful at times.
But the best ones of yours are outrageous
You see now, I trust,
Why, though honest and just.
You are treated like something contagious.
[tr. Nixon (1911), "The Progress of Poesy"]

That no man willingly meets you, that, wherever you arrive, there is flight and vast solitude around you, Ligurinus, do you want to know what is the matter? You are too much of a poet. This is a fault passing dangerous. No tigress roused by the robbery of her cubs, no viper scorched by tropic suns, nor deadly scorpion is so dreaded. For who, I ask you, would endure such trials? You read to me while I am standing, and read to me when I am sitting; while I am running you read to me, and read to me while I am using a jakes. I fly to the warm baths: you buzz in my ear; I make for the swimming bath: I am not allowed to swim; I haste to dinner: you detain me as I go; I reach the table: you rout me while I am eating. Wearied out, I sleep: you rouse me up as I lie. Do you want to appreciate the evil you cause? Though you are a man just, upright, and harmless, you are a terror.
[tr. Ker (1919)]

That no one, Ligurinus, likes to meet
Your visage, that there's panic in the street
At your approach, the reason, would you know it?
Well, Ligurinus, you're too much a poet.
A grievous fault, with perilous mischief fraught.
No tigress, for her captive brood distraught,
Puff-adder sweltering in the noon-tide heat,
Or ruthless scorpion is so dread to meet.
Who can endure it? Standing, in repose,
Your strain pursues me; while I bathe it flows.
I seek the swimming-pool; no refuge there.
I haste to dinner; there's another scare.
Weary I sleep; you wake me. What's your error?
Just, righteous, harmless, you're a holy terror.
[tr. Francis & Tatum (1924), ep. 138]

No one wants to meet you: When you arrive
there’s a wild rush for the exits,
and a great vacuum develops around you.
You want to know why?
It’s because you’re too much the poet.
Your art poses a decidedly dangerous threat,
it makes you more to be feared than a leaping tigress
whose cubs have been taken from her;
worse than midday heat that makes thirsty people frantic,
worse than the vengeful scorpion, are you to be feared.
Who can stand up under the punishing work
you heap on our shoulders? You read your stuff
when I'm standing still, you read your stuff
when I'm on the run, you read your stuff
when I'm on the pot. I head for the baths
where your voice bounces off the walls
and dins in my ears. I try the swimming pool --
but you won't let me swim. As I'm hurrying off
to a dinner party, you detain me to listen,
and when I get there, there you are too,
pursuing me when I'm supine on the couch,
tired, I like down to sleep, but you
have to wake me up to listen.
Can't you bring yourself to see how much wrong
you're doing me? Here you are, a fine honest fellow,
an innocent bystander --
and we're all scared to death of you.
[tr. Bovie (1970)]

Why, you ask, whenever you show your face
Is there a public stampede, a vast unpopulated space?
The answer -- you may as well know it --
Is that you overact the poet:
A grave fault,
Ligurinus, and one which could easily earn you assault.
The tigress robbed of her young,
The scorpion's tail, the heat-crazed puff-adder's tongue
Are proverbial, but you're worse;
For who can endure ordeal by verse?
You read to me when I'm standing and when I'm sitting,
When I'm running and when I'm shitting,
If I head for the warm baths you make my ears buzz with your din,
If I want a cold dip you stop me from getting in,
If I'm hurrying to dinner you detain me in the street,
If I reach the table you rout me out of my seat,
If I collapse, exhausted, into bed you drag me to my feet.
Do you never pause
To consider the havoc you cause?
You're a decent citizen, upright and pious,
But, by God, you terrify us!
[tr. Michie (1972)]

Do you wish to know why it is, Ligurinus, that nobody is glad to meet you, that, wherever you go, there is flight and a vast solitude around you? You are too much of a poet. This is a very dangerous fualt. A tigress roused by the theft of her cubs is not feared os much, nor yet a viper burnt by the midday sun, nor yet a vicious scorpion. For I ask you, who would endure such trials? You read to me as I stand, you read to me as I sit, you read to me as I run, you read to me as I shit. I flee to the baths: you boom in my ear. I head for the pool: I'm not allowed to swim. I hurry to dinner: you stop me in my tracks. I arrive at dinner: you drive me away as I eat. Tired out, I take a nap: you rouse me as I like. Do you care to see how much damage you do? A just man, upright and innocent, you are feared.
[tr. Shackleton Bailey (1993)]

You wonder why no people pay you heed?
Well, I'll unveil the mystery -- you read.
Incessantly, you foist on us your rhymes,
A legendary peril of our times.
No mother tiger snarling near her cubs,
No snake attacking us despite our clubs,
No scorpion paralyzingly come near,
Can deal us such humiliating fear
As you, in undeterr'd reciting mode
Producing endless drivel by the load.
I stop and you are dinning in my ear,
I run and hear you panting in the rear.
you fill our homes with unremitting roar.
I even hear you through the outhouse door.
A public nuisance at the public bathing,
For tow'ls you give us pages for our swathing.
To dinner we go in, out comes your verse.
The same old tired nonsenses or worse.
At street corners we timorously look
To seek if you are lurking in a nook,
Poised to bombard us with your lethal book.
I go to bed and still I hear you drone.
Have you no soundproof hovel of your own?
Some honesty you have, but far below it,
You are that deepest pestilence -- a poet.
[tr. Wills (2007)]

Added on 15-Dec-23 | Last updated 15-Dec-23
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A catless writer is almost inconceivable. It’s a perverse taste, really, since it would be easier to write with a herd of buffalo in the room than even one cat; they make nests in the notes and bite the end of the pen and walk on the typewriter keys.

Barbara Holland (1933-2010) American author
The Name of the Cat (1988)
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We pay for security with boredom, for adventure with bother.

Peter De Vries (1910-1993) American editor, novelist, satirist
Comfort Me With Apples (1956)
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A marriage is always made up of two people who are prepared to swear that only the other one snores.

Terry Pratchett (1948-2015) English author
The Fifth Elephant (1999)
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It is the trifles of life that are its bores, after all. Most men can meet ruin calmly, for instance, or laugh when they lie in a ditch with their own knee-joint and their hunter’s spine broken over the double post and rails: it is the mud that has choked up your horn just when you wanted to rally the pack; it’s the whip who carries you off to a division just when you’ve sat down to your turbot; it’s the ten seconds by which you miss the train; it’s the dust that gets in your eyes as you go down to Epsom; it’s the pretty little rose note that went by accident to your house instead of your club, and raised a storm from madame; it’s the dog that always will run wild into the birds; it’s the cook who always will season the white soup wrong — it is these that are the bores of life, and that try the temper of your philosophy.

Ouida (1839-1908) English novelist [pseud. of Maria Louise Ramé]
Under Two Flags, ch. 1 (1867)
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It is not written in the stars that I will always understand what is going on — a truism that I often find damnably annoying.

Robert A. Heinlein (1907-1988) American writer
Friday [Friday Jones] (1982)
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Myron reflected that there are so many people in the world who are eager to do for you things that you do not wish done, provided only that you will do for them things that you don’t wish to do.

Sinclair Lewis (1885-1951) American novelist, playwright
Work of Art, ch. 21 (1934)
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IVANOVA: You’ll excuse me, but I’m in the middle of fifteen things, all of them annoying.

J. Michael (Joe) Straczynski (b. 1954) American screenwriter, producer, author [a/k/a "JMS"]
Babylon 5, 1×01 “Midnight on the Firing Line” (26 Jan 1994)
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To carry a grudge is like being stung to death by one bee.

(Other Authors and Sources)
William H. Walton
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The problem with people who have no vices is that generally you can be pretty sure they’re going to have some pretty annoying virtues.

Elizabeth Taylor (1932-2011) British-American actress

See Lincoln.
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It is my heart-warm and world-embracing Christmas hope and aspiration that all of us — the high, the low, the rich, the poor, the admired, the despised, the loved, the hated, the civilized, the savage — may eventually be gathered together in a heaven of everlasting rest and peace and bliss — except the inventor of the telephone.

Mark Twain (1835-1910) American writer [pseud. of Samuel Clemens]
Letter to the Editor of the New York World (23 Dec 1890)
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