Friday, January 11, 2013

Gibbon on laziness

Today's entry in the January letters series comes from Edward Gibbon, who writes of his laziness in this letter to his stepmother of February 17, 1764:
My laziness as to writing is but too natural to me; but no place is so apt to encourage it as this, where my way of life is so agreeable but at the same time so uniform, that a month or two are elapsed before I know any thing of the matter. Pleasant weather, (I am forced to draw the curtain this moment to exclude the sun) study in the morning, and company in the afternoon. Books you are not perhaps acquainted with, and people that I am sure you do not know, make up my occupations, and notwithstanding all the pleasure I hope for in Italy, I own I shall quit this place with some unwillingness.
Three quick thoughts:

1. I wish he'd capitalized "laziness" in "My Laziness." It would have given it much more heft.

2. If the man who wrote a couple of thousand pages on the Roman Empire is lazy, what maketh that the rest of us?

3. That reminds me of my favorite of Aesop's fables. A lioness was being chided for having had only one child, to which she replied, "Yes, but a lion."

1 comment:

  1. There is that quote from someone somewhere that goes along the lines of 'I'm sorry this letter isn't shorter, I haven't got very much time', so perhaps Gibbons was lazy, ie too lazy to edit his couple of thousand pages into something more manageable?