Quotations about   erosion

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There is nothing softer and weaker than water.
And yet there is nothing better for attacking hard and strong things.
For this reason there is no substitute for it.
All the world knows that the weak overcomes the strong and the soft overcomes the hard.
But none can practice it.

Lao-tzu (604?-531? BC) Chinese philosopher, poet [also Lao-tse, Laozi]
Tao-te Ching, ch. 78 [tr. Wing-Tsit Chan]
Added on 19-Apr-17 | Last updated 19-Apr-17
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The drops of rain make a hole in the stone, not by violence, but by oft falling.

[Gutta cavat lapidem, non vi, sed saepe cadendo.]

Other Authors and Sources
Latin proverb

Alt. trans.:
  • "The rain dints the hard stone, not by violence, but by oft-falling drops."
  • "The drop of rain maketh a hole in the stone, not by violence, but by oft falling."
  • "The drop hollows out the stone not by strength, but by constant falling."
  • "The drop hollows the stone, not with force but by falling often."
  • "Dripping water hollows out the stone not by force, but by continually falling."

Some famous usages include Lucretius, De rerum natura, Book 6, l. 312: "The ring on the finger is tapered by being worn, the dripping water hollows out the stone, the plow is subtly worn by the impact of the fields." [anulus in digito subter tenuatur habendo, stilicidi casus lapidem cavat, uncus aratri, ferreus occulte decrescit vomer in arvis]

Similarly Ovid, Ex Ponte, 4.10.5: "The drop hollows out the stone, the ring is worn by use, and the curved ploughshare is rubbed away by the pressure of the earth." [Gutta cavat lapidem, consumitur annulus usu, et teritur pressa vomer aduncus humo.]

Made famous in English by Hugh Latimer, "Seventh Sermon before Edward VI" (1549). Similarly, John Lyly, Euphues (1580): "The soft droppes of rain perce the hard marble; many strokes overthrow the tallest oaks."

Added on 28-Jul-14 | Last updated 28-Jul-14
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In every kind of debauch there enters much coldness of soul. It is a conscious and voluntary abuse of pleasure.

Joseph Joubert (1754-1824) French moralist
Pensées (1838) [ed. Auster (1983)]
Added on 30-Sep-13 | Last updated 13-May-16
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The years as they pass plunder us of one thing after another.

[Singula de nobis anni praedantur euntes.]

Horace (65-8 BC) Roman poet and satirist [Quintus Horacius Flaccus]
Epistles, Book 2, ep. 2, l. 56 (c. 20-14 BC)

Alt. trans.: "The passing years steal one thing after another"

Pope's translation: "Years following years steal something every day; / At last they steal us from ourselves away."
Added on 6-Jun-11 | Last updated 18-May-16
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