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?]
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)]
Note not all quotations have been tagged, so Search may find additional quotes on this topic.
Added on 15-Sep-23 | Last updated 15-Sep-23
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You’re trying to drown your sorrows in alcohol and it won’t work. Sorrows know how to swim.
“Ask Ann Landers,” syndicated column (1958)
Landers used the phrase multiple times, e.g.,
However, the phrase predates her in a variety of anonymous sources; see here for more discussion.
- "And now an added P.S. In these days of political unrest, financial crisis and emotional upheaval, a word to those of you who are trying to drown your sorrow. Please be aware that sorrow knows how to swim." [The Ann Landers Encyclopedia: A to Z (1978)]
- "People who drink to drown their sorrow should be told that sorrow knows how to swim."
Added on 21-Jun-17 | Last updated 7-Jan-19
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