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“Here is where you can’t afford to be lazy,”
My Master said. “Lying in feather beds,
Or under quilts, no one conquers fame,
Without which, once your earthly life is dead,
The only traces you leave behind you are smoke
Blown in the air or bubbles breaking in water.

[“Omai convien che tu così ti spoltre”,
disse ’l maestro; “ché, seggendo in piuma,
in fama non si vien, né sotto coltre;
sanza la qual chi sua vita consuma,
cotal vestigio in terra di sé lascia,
qual fummo in aere e in acqua la schiuma.”]

Dante Alighieri the poet
Dante Alighieri (1265-1321) Italian poet
The Divine Comedy [Divina Commedia], Book 1 “Inferno,” Canto 24, l. 46ff (24.46-51) [Virgil] (1320) [tr. Raffel (2010)]

The analogy of life to smoke and foam have been noted by commentators as resembling similar metaphors in Wisdom 2:1-4 and 5:14 and the Aeneid 5.740.

Virgil's urging of Dante to continue on out of a desire for fame, rather than to learn how to be saved or to come closer to God, have only recently been interpreted as an intentional showing that the poet/guide is not perfect -- another reason, beyond being only a virtuous pagan, that he cannot complete the journey with Dante to Paradise. (See here for more commentary on this.)

(Source (Italian)). Alternate translations:

It now is proper, said my Lord, that you
Should from this bed of yours arise; for they
Ne'er Fame acquire who spend their lives in down:
He who, without pursuing her, consumes
His time, leaves himself such tracts behind,
As Froth in Water, or as Smoke in Air.
[tr. Rogers (1782), ll. 44-49]

Arise! -- In vain the slumb'ring soul aspires,
(Her powers betray'd by sloth, extinct her fires)
In vain she tries the dazzling heights of fame:
As morning fogs disperse to meet no more,
As the waves close behind the lab'ring oar,
The dastard soul expires without a name!
[tr. Boyd (1802), st. 9]

“Now needs thy best of man;” so spake my guide:
“For not on downy plumes, nor under shade
Of canopy reposing, fame is won,
Without which whosoe’er consumes his days
Leaveth such vestige of himself on earth,
As smoke in air or foam upon the wave."
[tr. Cary (1814)]

"Rouse thee," my master urged, "'tis time to throw
This lethargy aside; who dozing lies
'Tween coverlet and feathers, ne'er shall know
Renown, and without her who wastes and dies,
Leaves of himself like trace on earth behind,
As foam on wave, or vapour on the skies."
[tr. Dayman (1843)]

"Now it behooves thee thus to free thyself from sloth," said the Master: "for sitting on down, or under coverlet, man come not into fame;
without which whoso consumes his his life, leaves such vestige of himself on earth, as smoke in air or foam in water."
[tr. Carlyle (1849)]

"Henceforth you must abandon indolence,"
My master said: "'tis not repose on plumes
That leads to fame -- nor yet in shady glooms;
Without the which if one consumes his life,
E'en such a vestige upon the earth he'll make
As smoke in air, or foam on water's track."
[tr. Bannerman (1850)]

"Now it befits thee to shake off this sloth,"
The Master said, "for resting upon down,
And under quilts is not the way to fame;
And without this he who his life consumes,
Leaves of himself on earth no better trace,
Than smoke in air or on the water foam."
[tr. Johnston (1867)]

"Now it behoves thee thus to put off sloth,"
⁠My Master said; "for sitting upon down,
⁠Or under quilt, one cometh not to fame,
Without which whoso his life consumes
⁠Such vestige leaveth of himself on earth,
⁠As smoke in air or in the water foam."
[tr. Longfellow (1867)]

"Henceforward it behoves that thou brace thyself thus," said the Master; "for not by sitting on feathers does one come into fame, nor under quilts; without the which whoso consumes his life leaves such trace on earth of himself as smoke in air or its froth on water."
[tr. Butler (1885)]

"Henceforth 'tis fitting thou shouldst shake off sloth,"
The master cried, "since idly lapt in down
'Neath coverlets, for him Fame never groweth.
Who so his life consumes without renown.
Leaves such a vestige of himself on earth,
As it were froth on air or water blown."
[tr. Minchin (1885)]

“Now it behoves thee thus to put off sloth,” said the Master, “for, sitting upon down or under quilt, one attains not fame, without which he who consumes his life leaves of himself such trace on earth as smoke in air, or in water the foam."
[tr. Norton (1892)]

"'Tis thus that thou must now shake thyself free from sloth," my Master said, "for seated on down, or under coverlet, man cometh not to fame; unattended by which whoso doth spend his days, leaveth such traces of himself on earth, as smoke in air or foam on water."
[tr. Sullivan (1893)]

"Thus must thou ever shake off sloth henceforward;"
The Master said, " for sitting upon feathers
Man cometh not to fame, nor under quilting;
Which lacking, whosoe'er consumes his life-time
Leaves of himself on earth just such a vestige
As smoke doth leave in air, and foam in water."
[tr. Griffith (1908)]

"Now must thou thus cast off all sloth," said the Master "for sitting on down or under blankets none comes to fame, and without it he that consumes his life leaves such trace of himself on earth as smoke in air or foam on water."
[tr. Sinclair (1939)]

"Now it behoveth lassitude to leave,"
The Master said, "for softly on down reclined
Or under coverlet, none can fame achieve,
Without which he who dallieth leaves behind
Such vestige of himself on earth imprest
As foam in water or smoke upon the wind."
[tr. Binyon (1943)]

"Put off this sloth," the master said, "for shame!
Sitting on feather-pillows, lying reclined
Beneath the blanket is no way to fame --
Fame, without which man's life wastes out of mind,
Leaving on earth no more memorial
Than foam in water or smoke upon the wind."
[tr. Sayers (1949)]

"Up on your feet! This is no time to tire!"
my Master cried. "The man who lies asleep
will never waken fame, and his desire
and all his life drift past him like a dream,
and the traces of his memory fade from time
like smoke in the air, or ripples on a stream."
[tr. Ciardi (1954)]

“Now it behooves you thus to cast off sloth,” said my master, “for sitting on down or under coverlet, no one comes to fame, without which whoso consumes his life leaves such vestige of himself on earth as smoke in air or foam on water."
[tr. Singleton (1970)]

"Come on, shake off the covers of this sloth,"
the master said, "for sitting softly cushioned,
or tucked in bed, is no way to win fame;
and without it man must waste his life away,
leaving such traces of what he was on earth
as smoke in wind and foam upon the water."
[tr. Musa (1971)]

“Now you must cast aside your laziness,”
my master said, “for he who rests on down
or under covers cannot come to fame;
and he who spends his life without renown
leaves such a vestige of himself on earth
as smoke bequeaths to air or foam to water."
[tr. Mandelbaum (1980)]

"Now is the time for you to rouse yourself,"
The master said; "for sitting on a cushion
Is not the way to fame, nor staying in bed;
And without fame, a man must spend his life
Only to leave such traces upon earth
As smoke leaves in the air, or foam in the water."
[tr. Sisson (1981)]

"To cast off sloth
Now well behooves you," said my master then:
"For resting on soft down, or underneath
The blanket's cloth, is not how fame is won --
Without which, one spends life to leave behind
As vestige of himself on earth the sign
Smoke leaves on air, or foam on water."
[tr. Pinsky (1994), l. 46ff]

“From now on you will have to cast off sloth in this way,” said my master, “for one does not gain fame sitting on down cushions, or while under coverlets;
and whoever consumes his life without fame leaves a mark of himself on earth like smoke in the air or foam in water."
[tr. Durling (1996)]

Now, you must free yourself from sloth: men do not achieve fame, sitting on down, or under coverlets; fame, without which whoever consumes his life leaves only such trace of himself, on earth, as smoke does in the air, or foam on water.
[tr. Kline (2002)]

"Now you must needs," my teacher said, "shake off
your wonted indolence. No fame is won
beneath the quilt or sunk in feather cushions.
Whoever, fameless, wastes his life away,
leaves of himself no greater mark on earth
than smoke in air or froth upon the wave."
[tr. Kirkpatrick (2006)]

'Now must you cast off sloth,' my master said.
'Sitting on feather cushions or stretched out
under comforters, no one comes to fame.
Without fame, he who spends his time on earth
leaves only such a mark upon the world
as smoke does on the air or foam on water.'
[tr. Hollander/Hollander (2007)]

“Now you must,”
My Guide said, “quell the slothful urge to rest.
A swansdown seat and a soft blanket just
Keep you from fame, without which no one who
Consumes his life leaves more trace in the world
Than smoke in air and foam on water do."
[tr. James (2013)]

Added on 2-Jun-23 | Last updated 2-Jun-23
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More quotes by Dante Alighieri

It was the time when sleep first comes to weary mortals,
creeping over us, the sweetest gift of gods.

[Tempus erat quo prima quies mortalibus aegris
incipit et dono divum gratissima serpit.]

Virgil the Poet
Virgil (70-19 BC) Roman poet [b. Publius Vergilius Maro; also Vergil]
The Aeneid [Ænē̆is], Book 2, l. 268ff (2.268-269) (29-19 BC) [tr. Bartsch (2021)]

(Source (Latin)). Alternate translations:

It was the time, first sleep the weary soule
Possest, and heavens best gift on mortalls stole.
[tr. Ogilby (1649)]
'T was in the dead of night, when sleep repairs
Our bodies worn with toils, our minds with cares.
[tr. Dryden (1697)]

It was the time when the first sleep invades languid mortals, and steals upon them, by the gift of the gods, most sweet.
[tr. Davidson/Buckley (1854)]

It was the hour when Heaven gives rest
To weary man, the first and best.
[tr. Conington (1866)]

It was the hour when first their sleep begins
For wretched mortals, and most gratefully
Creeps over them, by bounty of the gods.
[tr. Cranch (1872), l. 271ff]

It was the time when by the gift of God rest comes stealing first and sweetest on unhappy men.
[tr. Mackail (1885)]

It was the time when that first peace of sick men hath begun,
By very gift of God o'er all in sweetest wise to creep.
[tr. Morris (1900)]

'Twas now the time, when on tired mortals crept
First slumber, sweetest that celestials pour.
[tr. Taylor (1907), st. 36, l. 316ff]

That hour it was when heaven's first gift of sleep
on weary hearts of men most sweetly steals.
[tr. Williams (1910)]

It was the hour when for weary mortals their first rest begins, and by grace of the gods steals over them most sweet.
[tr. Fairclough (1916)]

It was the time when the first sleep begins
For weary mortals, heaven’s most welcome gift.
[tr. Humphries (1951)]

It was the hour when worn-out men begin to get
Some rest, and by god's grace genial sleep steals over them.
[tr. Day Lewis (1952)]

It was the hour when for troubled mortals
rest -- sweetest gift of gods that glides to men --
has just begun.
[tr. Mandelbaum (1971), l. 371ff]

That time of night it was when the first sleep,
Gift of the gods, begins for ill mankind,
Arriving gradually, delicious rest.
[tr. Fitzgerald (1981), l. 360ff]

It was the time when rest, the most grateful gift of the gods, was first beginning to creep over suffering mortals.
[tr. West (1990)]

It was the hour when first sleep begins for weary mortals,
and steals over them as the sweetest gift of the gods.
[tr. Kline (2002)]

At that late hour, when sleep begins to drift
Upon fretful humanity as grace from the gods ....
[tr. Lombardo (2005), l. 319ff]

This was the hour when rest, that gift of the gods
most heaven-sent, first comes to beleaguered mortals,
creeping over us now.
[tr. Fagles (2006), l. 339ff]

Added on 16-Mar-22 | Last updated 21-Jun-23
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More quotes by Virgil

Happiness is thought to imply leisure; for we toil in order that we may have leisure, as we make war in order that we may enjoy peace.

[δοκεῖ τε ἡ εὐδαιμονία ἐν τῇ σχολῇ εἶναι, ἀσχολούμεθα γὰρ ἵνα σχολάζωμεν καὶ πολεμοῦμεν ἵν᾽ εἰρήνην ἄγωμεν.]

Aristotle (384-322 BC) Greek philosopher
Nicomachean Ethics [Ἠθικὰ Νικομάχεια], Book 10, ch. 7 (10.7) / 1177b.4 (c. 325 BC) [tr. Peters (1893), 10.7.6]

(Source (Greek)). Alternate translations:

Happiness is thought to stand in perfect rest; for we toil that we may rest, and war that we may be at peace.
[tr. Chase (1847), ch. 6]

It would seem that happiness is the very antithesis of a busy life, in that it is compatible with perfect leisures. And it is with such leisure in view that a busy life is always led, exactly as war is only waged for the sake of ultimate peace.
[tr. Williams (1869)]

The end of labor is to gain leisure.
[in Ballou, Treasury of Thought (1872)]

Happiness is thought to depend on leisure; for we are busy that we may have leisure, and make war that we may live in peace.
[tr. Ross (1908)]

Happiness is thought to involve leisure; for we do business in order that we may have leisure, and carry on war in order that we may have peace.
[tr. Rackham (1934)]

Happiness seems to reside in leisure, since we do unleisured things in order to be at leisure, and wage war in order to live in peace.
[tr. Reeve (1948)]

Happiness is thought to depend on leisure; for we toil for the sake of leisurely activity, and we are at war for the sake of peaceful activity.
[tr. Apostle (1975)]

Happiness seems to depend on leisure, because we work to have leisure, and wage war to live in peace.
[tr. Crisp (2000)]

[Because], happiness seems to reside in leisure, we labor [sacrifice leisure] so that we may have leisure.
[tr. @sentantiq (2018)]

Added on 8-Mar-22 | Last updated 8-Mar-22
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More quotes by Aristotle

Thou morning client, this is my retreat:
Go to the town and palace of the great.
No lawyer I, nor can your cause defend;
But old, and idle, and the muse’s friend.
Ease and repose I love, but if in vain
I seek them here; why not to town again?

[Matutine cliens, urbis mihi causa relictae,
Atria, si sapias, ambitiosa colas.
Non sum ego causidicus, nec amaris litibus aptus,
Sed piger et senior Pieridumque comes;
tia me somnusque iuvant, quae magna negavit
Roma mihi: redeo, si vigilatur et hic.]

Marcus Valerius Martial
Martial (AD c.39-c.103) Spanish Roman poet, satirist, epigrammatist [Marcus Valerius Martialis]
Epigrams [Epigrammata], Book 12, epigram 68 (12.68) [tr. Hay (1755)]

(Source (Latin)). Alternate translations:

Whoe'er in town dist morning-homage pay,
And wast one cause, why thence I win'd my way;
Hunt now ambition's hants, let me advise;
And learn, at least in this, learn to be wise.
I am no brangler, nor can hairs untwine:
My growing age asks ease, yet woos the Nine.
Scenes are my joy, for which at Rome I sigh'd:
But thither I return, if here deni'd.
[tr. Elphinston (1782), Book 2, ep. 136]

O clients, that beset me in the morning, and who were the cause of my departure from Rome, frequent, if you are wise, the lordly mansions of the city. I am no lawyer, nor fitted for pleading troublesome causes, but inactive, somewhat advanced in years, and a votary of the Pierian sisters. I wish to enjoy repose and slumber, which great Rome denied; but I must return thither, if I am to be equally hunted here.
[tr. Bohn's Classical (1859)]

Morning client, the cause of my leaving Rome, you would court, were you wise, the halls of greatness. No pleader am I, nor fitted for bitter lawsuits, but an indolent man and one growing old, and the comrade of the Muses. Ease and sleep attract me, and great Rome denied me these; I return if I am sleepless even here.
[tr. Ker (1919)]

I fled from Rome and early calls,
So, Spanish friends, I pray you,
Be wise and seek the lordly halls
Of those who can repay you.
I hate the courts, and legal strife
My lazy mind refuses,
For I am getting on in life
And love to serve the Muses;
Unbroken sleep I love; the stir
And din of Rome destroy it;
But I am going back to her
If here I can't enjoy it.
[tr. Pott & Wright (1921)]

Poor morning client (you remind me
Of all I loathed and left behind me
in Rome), if you had any nous
Instead of calling on my house
You'd haunt the mansions of the great.
I'm not some wealthy advocate
Blessed with a sharp, litigious tongue,
I'm just a lazy, far from young
Friend of the Muses who likes ease
And sleep. Great Rome denied me these:
If I can't find them even in Spain,
I may as well go back again.
[tr. Michie (1972)]

Morning client, reason why I left Rome, if you were sensible, you wuiold dance attendance on pretentious halls. I am no advocate nor apt for bitter lawsuits, but lazy and elderly and a companion of the Pierian maids. I am fond of leisure and sleep, which great Rome denied me. If I'm kept awake here too, I go back.
[tr. Shackleton Bailey (1993)]

You want a patron, and you pester me --
Exactly what made me the City flee.
You're not at some ambitious lawyer's door.
A poet now retired, I'd rather snore.
If Rome you are inflicting on me here,
Then backward to the real one I must steer.
[tr. Wills (2007)]

You early-morning client -- you're the reason I left Rome. If you had sense, you'd hang around the lobbies of people who care about appearances. I'm no barrister, I've no head for bitter litigation: I'm sleepy, I'm getting old, I hang out with the Muses; what I like is free time and sleep, the very things that mighty Rome wouldn't let me have. If there are early mornings even here, I'm going back.
[tr. Nisbet (2015)]

Morning appointment -- my reason for leaving the city --
If you knew better, you would visit more ambitious homes.
I am no lawyer, no man prepared for harsh suits,
I am a lazy and aging friend of the Muses.
Sleep and leisure make me happy -- the very things
Which Rome denied me. But I’ll go back if I can’t sleep here.
[tr. @sentantiq (2018)]

Added on 17-Dec-21 | Last updated 8-Mar-23
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More quotes by Martial

Where music thundered let the mind be still,
Where the will triumphed let there be no will,
What light revealed, now let the dark fulfill.

May Sarton
May Sarton (1912-1995) Belgian-American poet, novelist, memoirist [pen name of Eleanore Marie Sarton]
“Now Voyager”

First published in The Lion and the Rose, Part 3 (1948).
Added on 30-Nov-21 | Last updated 30-Nov-21
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It was the fixation of businessmen that the W.P.A. did nothing but lean on shovels. I had an uncle who was particularly irritated at shovel-leaning. When he pooh-poohed my contention that shovel leaning was necessary, I bet him five dollars, which I didn’t have, that he couldn’t shovel sand for fifteen timed minutes without stopping. He said a man should give a good day’s work and grabbed a shovel. At the end of three minutes his face was red, at six he was staggering and before eight minutes were up his wife stopped him to save him from apoplexy. And he never mentioned shovel-leaning again. I’ve always been amused at the contention that brain work is harder than manual labor. I never knew a man to leave a desk for a muck-stick if he could avoid it.

John Steinbeck (1902-1968) American writer
“A Primer on the 30s” Esquire (1 Jun 1960)

Later reprinted.
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Is not short paine well borne, that brings long ease,
And layes the soule to sleepe in quiet grave?
Sleepe after toyle, port after stormie seas,
Ease after warre, death after life, does greatly please.

Edmund Spenser (c. 1552-1599) English poet
The Faerie Queene, Book 1, Canto 9, st. 40 (1589-96)
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BOB: No matter how many times you save the world, it always manages to get back in jeopardy again. Sometimes I just want it to stay saved! You know?! For a little bit. I feel like the maid: “I just cleaned up this mess! Can we keep it clean for, for 10 minutes?! Please?!”

Brad Bird (b. 1957) American director, animator and screenwriter [Phillip Bradley Bird]
The Incredibles (2004)
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The deep, deep peace of the double bed after the hurly-burly of the chaise-longue.

Beatrice Campbell (1865-1940) English actress [Mrs. Patrick Campbell, née Beatrice Stella Tanner]

Describing her recent marriage. Quoted in Alexander Woollcott, "The First Mrs. Tanqueray," While Rome Burns (1934)
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When action grows unprofitable, gather information; when information grows unprofitable, sleep.

Ursula K. Le Guin (1929-2018) American writer
The Left Hand of Darkness, ch. 3 (1969)
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God offers to every mind its choice between truth and repose. Take which you please — you can never have both.

Ralph Waldo Emerson
Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882) American essayist, lecturer, poet
“Intellect,” Essays: First Series (1841)
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Though sleep is called our best friend, it is a friend who often keeps us waiting!

Jules Verne (1828-1905) French novelist, poet, playwright
The Steam House, Book 2, ch. 5 (1880)
Added on 26-Aug-16 | Last updated 26-Aug-16
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I begin to think that a calm is not desirable in any situation in life. Every object is beautiful in motion; a ship under sail, trees gently agitated with the wind, and a fine woman dancing, are three instances in point. Man was made for action and for bustle too, I believe.

Abigail Adams (1744-1818) American correspondent, First Lady (1797-1801)
Letter to Mary Smith Cranch (1784)
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The firefly only shines when on the wing.
So is it with the mind — when once we rest
We darken.

Philip James Bailey (1816-1902) English poet
Festus (1839)
Added on 30-Mar-15 | Last updated 30-Mar-15
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O bed! O bed! delicious bed!
That heaven upon earth to the weary head!

Thomas Hood (1799-1845) British humorist and poet
Miss Kilmansegg, and Her Precious Leg, “Her Dream”, st. 7 (1841-43)
Added on 19-Dec-14 | Last updated 19-Dec-14
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To carry care to bed is to sleep with a pack on your back.

Thomas Chandler Haliburton (1796-1865) Canadian politician, judge, humorist
Sam Slick’s Wise Saws and Modern Instances, Vol. 2 (1853)
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You may batter your way through the thick of the fray,
You may sweat, you may swear, you may grunt;
You may be a jack-fool, if you must, but this rule
Should ever be kept at the front:–
Don’t fight with your pillow, but lay down your head
And kick every worriment out of the bed.

Edmund Vance Cooke (1866-1932) Canadian poet
“Don’t Take Your Troubles to Bed”, l. 7 (1903)
Added on 5-Dec-14 | Last updated 5-Dec-14
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Some find activity only in repose, and others repose only in movement.

Joseph Joubert (1754-1824) French moralist
Pensées (1838) [ed. Auster (1983)]
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There is no real going back. Though I may come to the Shire, it will not seem the same; for I shall not be the same. I am wounded with knife, sting, and tooth, and a long burden. Where shall I find rest?

J.R.R. Tolkien (1892-1973) English writer, fabulist, philologist, academic [John Ronald Reuel Tolkien]
The Lord of the Rings, Vol. 3: The Return of the King, Book 6, ch. 7 “Homeward Bound” [Frodo] (1955)
Added on 11-Oct-11 | Last updated 29-Dec-22
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Canst thou, O partial sleep, give thy repose
To the wet sea-boy in an hour so rude,
And, in the calmest and most stillest night,
With all appliances and means to boot,
Deny it to a king? Then, happy low, lie down.
Uneasy lies the head that wears a crown.

William Shakespeare (1564-1616) English dramatist and poet
Henry IV, Part 2, Act 3, sc. 1, l. 26ff [Henry] (c. 1598)
Added on 31-May-11 | Last updated 27-Jun-22
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Up, Sluggard, and waste not life;
in the grave will be sleeping enough.

Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790) American statesman, scientist, philosopher, aphorist
Poor Richard’s Alamanack (Sep 1741)

Repeated as "There will be enough sleeping in the Grave" in "The Way of Wealth" (7 Jul 1756).
Added on 17-May-11 | Last updated 11-Feb-20
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The best doctors in the world are Doctor Diet, Doctor Quiet, and Doctor Merryman.

Jonathan Swift (1667-1745) English writer and churchman
Polite Conversation, Dialog 2 (1738)

Borrowed / popularized from William Bullein, Government of Health, folio 50 (1558): "The first was called doctor diet, the seconde doctor quiet, the thirde doctor merry-man." (1558)
Added on 14-May-10 | Last updated 5-Nov-15
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Let the sweet Muses lead me to their soft retreats, their living fountains, and melodious groves, where I may dwell remote from care, master of myself … let me no more be seen in the wrangling forum, a pale and odious candidate for precarious fame … let me live free from solicitude … and when nature shall give the signal to retire may I possess no more than I may bequeath to whom I will. At my funeral let no token of sorrow be seen, no pompous mockery of woe. Crown me with chaplets; strew flowers on my grave, and let my friends erect no vain memorial to tell where my remains are lodged.

Tacitus (c.56-c.120) Roman historian, orator, politician [Publius or Gaius Cornelius Tacitus]
“A Dialogue on Oratory,” sec. 13, Dialogus, Agricola, Germania

In The Works of Tacitus, Oxford trans., rev., vol. 2, (1854). The above is the version read at the funeral for Justice Hugo Black. The printed version differs in reading, at the start, "Me let the sweet Muses lead," and in using "anxious" for "odious."

Alt trans. (Peterson (1914)): "As for myself, may the 'sweet Muses,' as Virgil says, bear me away to their holy places where sacred streams do flow, beyond the reach of anxiety and care, and free from the obligation of performing each day some task that goes against the grain. May I no longer have anything to do with the mad racket and the hazards of the forum, or tremble as I try a fall with white-faced Fame. I do not want to be roused from sleep by the clatter of morning callers or by some breathless messenger from the palace; I do not care, in drawing my will, to give a money-pledge for its safe execution through anxiety as to what is to happen afterwards; I wish for no larger estate than I can leave to the heir of my own free choice. Some day or other the last hour will strike also for me, and my prayer is that my effigy may be set up beside my grave, not grim and scowling, but all smiles and garlands, and that no one shall seek to honour my memory either by a motion in the senate or by a petition to the Emperor."
Added on 16-Apr-10 | Last updated 20-Jun-16
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Sleep, ignorant of pain, sleep, ignorant of grief, may you come to us blowing softly, kindly, kindly come, king.

Sophocles (496-406 BC) Greek tragic playwright
Philoctetes, l. 827.

Alt. trans.: "Come, blowing softly, Sleep, that know'st not pain, / Sleep, ignorant of grief, / Come softly, surely, kingly sleep, and bless ...." [E. H. Plumptre (1871)]
Added on 8-Dec-08 | Last updated 17-Aug-16
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Laziness: the habit of resting before fatigue sets in.

Jules Renard (1864-1910) French writer
Journal (May 1906) [tr. Bogan & Roget (1964)]

Also attributed to Mortimer Caplin.

Alt. trans.: "Laziness is nothing more than the habit of resting before you get tired."
Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 3-Oct-16
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… [L]onging for certainty and for repose [is] in every human mind. But certainty generally is an illusion, and repose is not the destiny of man.

Holmes - certainty and repose - wist_info quote

Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr. (1841-1935) American jurist, Supreme Court Justice
“The Path of the Law,” Harvard Law Review (Feb 1897)

Citation 10 Harvard Law Review 457 (1897).
Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 22-Mar-23
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