Life grants nothing to us mortals without hard work.
Nil sine magno vita labore dedit mortalibus.
Horace, Satires, Book I, IX, line 59
I found this quote in a old Latin text from the 1930’s, Latin Second Year, Berry-Lee, 1938.
Work hard. Study hard. How many times have you heard that?
The more and more I live, the more and more I see that this adage is true, through and through. It doesn’t mean you work forever and never take a break or never enjoy life, but the people who have succeeded in life, are the hard workers.
Cum multum laborēs, multa discēs.
Unknown…I found in the Ecce Romani series.
When you work much, you learn many things.
I keep coming back constantly in my readings to Horace. Once in awhile, a small quote will pop up somewhere, in a Latin text or some book, or as a word of advice on a website. And again, I am reminded and pickup his text and read some more, after enduring a grueling work week or some other vicissitude of life. He has so many wonderful sayings that speak to us even now about life, about the brevity of life, about the importance of living in the moment and cherishing what you have, and enduring life’s hardships and despairs. All this sounds like cliche but they are not.
Read some Horace especially what I have posted here. Time and time again you will agree with him. Pick up Horace’s Odes, Epodes, and Satires. They are a joy to read.
Of course Aesop has much to say about this as well:
During the summer, the ant went around the fields collecting grains of wheat and barley so that he could store up some food for the winter. A dung beetle watched the ant and decided that he must be a wretched creature since he worked all the time, never taking a moment’s rest, unlike the other animals. The ant didn’t pay attention to the dung beetle and simply went about his business. When winter came and the dung was washed away by the rain, the beetle grew hungry. He went to the ant and begged him to share a little bit of his food. The ant replied, ‘O beetle, if you had done some work yourself instead of making fun of me while I was working so hard, then you would not need to be asking me for food.’
The fable teaches us that we should not neglect important things that require our attention, and instead we should attend in good time to our future well-being.
During the wintertime, an ant was living off the grain that he had stored up for himself during the summer. The cricket came to the ant and asked him to share some of his grain. The ant said to the cricket, ‘And what were you doing all summer long, since you weren’t gathering grain to eat?’ The cricket replied, ‘Because I was busy singing I didn’t have time for the harvest.’ The ant laughed at the cricket’s reply, and hid his heaps of grain deeper in the ground. ‘Since you sang like a fool in the summer,’ said the ant, ‘you better be prepared to dance the winter away!’
This fable depicts lazy, careless people who indulge in foolish pastimes, and therefore lose out.
But there can be consequences to working too much, so there must be a balance:
Ants gather up a big pile of grain so that they can consume it during the winter, but at a certain point the pigs come along and they scatter the grain and eat it all up.
A fable against the vain accumulation of material goods.
The same thing often happens to people: they gather much and often, but thieves come, or the bailiffs of the prince, or their own family members, and everything gets devoured, or else they end up leaving their wealth to strangers.
Also the Penguin Classics book on Aesop’s Complete Fables is a good read before bedtime. Maybe once a day, open to wherever it guides you and read the fable listed. You will be surprised how much advice is there.