Message 218: Stretched Out

‘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.

‘Get to your feet! Conquer this laboring breath
with strength of mind, which wins the battle
if not dragged down by body’s weight.

There is a longer stair that must be climbed.’

Dante Alighieri, Inferno, trans. Robert and Jean Hollander (New York: Doubleday, 2000).

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