Quotations about:

Note not all quotations have been tagged, so Search may find additional quotes on this topic.

More ease than masters, servants lives afford:
Think on that, Tom; nor wish to be your lord.
On a coarse rug you most securely snore:
Deep sunk in down he counts each sleepless hour.
Anxious betimes to every statesman low
He bows; much lower than to him you bow.
Behold him with a dun at either ear,
“Pray, pay,” the word; a word you never hear.
Fear you a cudgel? view his gouty state;
Which he would change for many a broken pate.
You know no morning qualm; no costly whore:
Think then, though not a lord, that you are more.

[Quae mala sint domini, quae servi commoda, nescis,
Condyle, qui servum te gemis esse diu.
Dat tibi securos vilis tegeticula somnos,
Pervigil in pluma Gaius, ecce, iacet.
Gaius a prima tremebundus luce salutat
Tot dominos, at tu, Condyle, nec dominum.
‘Quod debes, Gai, redde’ inquit Phoebus et illinc
Cinnamus: hoc dicit, Condyle, nemo tibi.
Tortorem metuis? podagra cheragraque secatur
Gaius et mallet verbera mille pati.
Quod nec mane vomis nec cunnum, Condyle, lingis,
Non mavis, quam ter Gaius esse tuus?]

Marcus Valerius Martial
Martial (AD c.39-c.103) Spanish Roman poet, satirist, epigrammatist [Marcus Valerius Martialis]
Epigrams [Epigrammata], Book 9, epigram 92 (9.92) [tr. Hay (1755)]

Masters often think themselves more put-upon than their lazy, "carefree" servants/slaves, as do the rich versus the poor. "To Condylus" (Source (Latin)). Alternate translations:

The weal of a servant, and woe of his lord,
Thou know'st not, who so long hast service abhorr'd.
Securest of slumbers thy coverlet crown:
Thy master, my Condyl, lies watching in down.
Lords many hails he, the chill morn just begun:
Thou own'st no such duty, saluting scarce one.
To him this and that wight: Pray, pay what you ow.
To thee not a mortal pretends to say so.
Thou feat'st but a flogging: he's rackt with the gout.
A thousand sound lashes he'd rather stand out.
Nor sick thou at morning, nor pale with disease:
Who's moire, prithee, thou or thy master at ease?
[tr. Elphinston (1782), Book 4, Part 2, ep. 35]

Of the troubles of a master, and the pleasures of a slave, Condylus, you are ignorant, when you lament that you have been a slave so long. A common rug gives you sleep free from all anxiety; Caius lies awake all night on his bed of down. Caius, from the first dawn of day, salutes with trembling a number of patrons; you, Condylus, salute not even your master. "Caius, pay what you owe me," cries Phoebus on the one side, and Cinnamus on the other; no one makes such a demand on you, Condylus. Do you fear the torturer? Caius is a martyr to the gout in his hands and feet, and would rather suffer a thousand floggings than endure its pains. You indulge neither gluttonous nor licentious propensities. Is not this preferable to being three times a Caius?
[tr. Bohn's Classical (1859)]

The lowliest cot will give thee powerful sleep,
While Caius tosses on his bed of down.
[ed. Harbottle (1916), 9.93.3]

What are a master's ills, what a slave's blessings you do not know, Condylus, who groan that you are so long a slave. Your common rush-mat affords you sleep untoubled; wakeful all night on down, see, Gaius lies! Gaius from early morn salutes trembling many masters; but you, Condylus, not even your master. "What you owe, Gaius, pay," says Phoebus, and after him Cinnamus: this no one Condylus says to you. Do you dread the torturer? By gout in food and hand Gaius is stabbed, and would choose instead to endure a thousand blows. You do not vomit in the morning, nor are you given to filthy vice, Condylus: do you not prefer this to being your Gaius three times over?
[tr. Ker (1919)]

"How easy live the free," you say, and brood
Upon your long but easy servitude.
See Gaius tossing on his downy bed;
Your sleep’s unbroken tho’ the couch be rude;
He pays his call ere chilly dawn be red,
You need not call on him, you sleep instead;
He’s deep in debt, hears many a summons grim
From creditors that you need never dread,
You might be tortured at your master’s whim;
Far worse the gout that racks his every limb;
Think of the morning qualms, his vicious moods.
Would you for thrice his freedom change with him?
[tr. Pott & Wright (1921), "True Servitude"]

Condylus, you lament that you have been so long a slave; you don't know a master's afflictions and a slave's advantages. A cheap little mat gives you carefree slumbers: there's Gaius lying awake all night on feathers. From daybreak on Gaius in fear and trembling salutes so many masters: but you, Condylus, do not salute even your own. "Gaius, pay me back what you owe," says Phoebus, and from yonder so says Cinnamus: nobody says that to you, Condylus. You fear the torturer? Gaius is cut by gout in foot and hand and would rather take a thousand lashes. You don't vomit of a morning or lick a cunt, Condylus; isn't that better than being your Gaius three times over?
[tr. Shackleton Bailey (1993)]

Never the pros & cons of "slave," or "master,"
can you, mourning long servitude, discern.
The cheapest matting yields you dreamless sleep;
Gaius's feather-bed keeps him awake.
From crack of down Gaius respectfully
greets many masters; yours goes ungreeted.
"Pay day, Gaius, pay!" says Phoebus. "Pay! Pay!"
chimes Cinnamus. What man speaks thus to you?
Screw & rack, you dread? Gaius' gout stabs so
he'ld far prefer the thumbscrew or the rack.
You've no hangover habit, oral sex:
is not one life of yours worth three of his?
[tr. Whigham (2001)]

Added on 15-Sep-23 | Last updated 15-Sep-23
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , , ,
More quotes by Martial

Plato said that virtue has no master. If a person does not honor this principle and rejoice in it, but is purchasable for money, he creates many masters for himself.

Apollonius of Tyana
Apollonius of Tyana (c. AD 15-100) Greek philosopher and religious leader [Ἀπολλώνιος]
Letters from Apollonius of Tyana, ep. 15, Letter to Euphrates [tr. Jones (2006)]

The reference to Plato's Republic, X 617 E.
Added on 2-Aug-23 | Last updated 2-Aug-23
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , , , ,
More quotes by Apollonius of Tyana

A man who owns a dog is, in every sense of the word, its master; the term expresses accurately their mutual relations. But it is ridiculous when applied to the limited possession of a cat. I am certainly not Agrippina’s mistress, and the assumption of authority on my part would be a mere empty dignity, like those swelling titles which afford such innocent delight to the Freemasons of our severe republic. If I call Agrippina, she does not come; if I tell her to go away, she remains where she is; if I try to persuade her to show off her one or two little accomplishments, she refuses, with courteous but unswerving decision.

Agnes Repplier (1855-1950) American writer
“Agrippina,” Essays in Idleness (1893)
Added on 12-Jun-23 | Last updated 12-Jun-23
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , , ,
More quotes by Repplier, Agnes

I am a democrat because I believe in the Fall of Man. I think most people are democrats for the opposite reason. A great deal of democratic enthusiasm descends from the ideas of people like Rousseau, who believed in democracy because they thought mankind so wise and good that everyone deserved a share in government. The danger of defending democracy on those grounds is that they’re not true. And whenever their weakness is exposed, the people who prefer tyranny make capital out of the exposure. I find that they’re not true without looking further than myself. I don’t deserve a share in governing a hen-roost, much less a nation. Nor do most people — all the people who believe advertisements, and think in catchwords and spread rumours. The real reason for democracy is just the reverse. Mankind is so fallen that no man can be trusted with unchecked power over his fellows. Aristotle said that some people were only fit to be slaves. I do not contradict him. But I reject slavery because I see no men fit to be masters.

C.S. Lewis (1898-1963) English writer and scholar [Clive Staples Lewis]
“Equality,” The Spectator (27 Aug 1943)

Reprinted in Present Concerns (1986).

See Lincoln.
Added on 12-Feb-20 | Last updated 12-Feb-20
Link to this post | 1 comment
Topics: , , , , , , , ,
More quotes by Lewis, C.S.

Sit at the feet of the masters long enough, and they’ll start to smell.

(Other Authors and Sources)
Sauget’s Law of Education

Attributed to John Sauget of Urbana, Ill., in Paul Dickson, The Official Rules, "Revised Proverbs" (1978).
Added on 21-Jul-17 | Last updated 21-Jul-17
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , , ,
More quotes by ~Other

“My lord,” said Lar, falling back upon the single statement that a servant may always rely upon when any other response is fraught with peril.

Steven Brust (b. 1955) American writer, systems programmer
The Lord of Castle Black (2003)
Added on 31-Mar-17 | Last updated 31-Mar-17
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , ,
More quotes by Brust, Steven

I believe any man who takes the liberty of another into his keeping is bound to become a tyrant, and that any man who yields up his liberty, in however slight the measure, is bound to become a slave.

H. L. Mencken (1880-1956) American writer and journalist [Henry Lewis Mencken]
“Why Liberty?” Chicago Tribune (30 Jan 1927)
Added on 12-Aug-15 | Last updated 12-Aug-15
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , ,
More quotes by Mencken, H. L.

The shepherd always tries to persuade the sheep that their interests and his own are the same.

Stendhal (1783-1842) French writer [pen name of Marie-Henri Beyle]
Letter (c. 1818)

  • "The shepherd always tries to persuade the sheep that their interests and his are the same."
  • "The shepherd ... can never convince his flock of sheep that his interests and theirs are identical."
Added on 6-Aug-15 | Last updated 6-Aug-15
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , , , , , ,
More quotes by Stendhal

Voyage upon life’s sea,
To yourself be true,
And, whatever your lot may be,
Paddle your own Canoe.

Sarah T. Bolton (1814-1893) American poet, women's activist (née Sarah Tittle Barrett)
“Paddle Your Own Canoe,” Harper’s New Monthly Magazine (May 1854)
Added on 5-Sep-14 | Last updated 5-Sep-14
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , ,
More quotes by Bolton, Sarah T.

It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate:
I am the captain of my soul.

Henley - master of my fate - wist_info quote

William Ernest Henley (1849-1903) English poet, critic, editor
“Invictus” (1875)
Added on 15-Jul-09 | Last updated 12-Feb-16
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , , , , , , ,
More quotes by Henley, William Ernest

A slave has but one master; an ambitious man has as many masters as there are people who may be useful in bettering his position.

[L’esclave n’a qu’un maître; l’ambitieux en a autant qu’il y a de gens utiles à sa fortune.]

Jean de La Bruyere
Jean de La Bruyère (1645-1696) French essayist, moralist
The Characters [Les Caractères], ch. 8 “Of the Court [De la Cour],” § 70 (8.70) (1688) [tr. Van Laun (1885)]

(Source (French)). Alternate translations:

A Slave has but one Master, an ambitious Man a great many, all those who are useful to him in making his fortune.
[Bullord ed. (1696)]

A Slave has but one Master; an ambitious Man has as many as there are People useful to him in making his Fortune.
[Curll ed. (1713)]

A purchased Slave has but one Master: An ambitious Man must be a Slave to all who may conduce to his Aggrandizement.
[Browne ed. (1752)]

A slave has only one master; an ambitious man is enslaved to all those who may help to further his advancement.
[tr. Stewart (1970)]

Added on 25-Jul-08 | Last updated 6-Jun-23
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , , , , ,
More quotes by La Bruyere, Jean de

As I would not be a slave, so I would not be a master. This expresses my idea of democracy. Whatever differs from this, to the extent of the difference, is no democracy.

Abraham Lincoln (1809-1865) American lawyer, politician, US President (1861-65)
“On Slavery and Democracy” (fragment) (1858?)
Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 3-Nov-20
Link to this post | 2 comments
Topics: , , , , , ,
More quotes by Lincoln, Abraham

All great masters are chiefly distinguished by the power of adding a second, a third, and perhaps a fourth step in a continuous line. Many a man had taken the first step. With every additional step you enhance immensely the value of your first.

Ralph Waldo Emerson
Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882) American essayist, lecturer, poet
“Powers and Laws of Thought,” Natural History of Intellect, Lecture 1, Harvard (1870, Spring)
Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 27-Mar-23
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , ,
More quotes by Emerson, Ralph Waldo