Robert Brindley

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Quotation (11th October 2005)

'Ars Longa Vita Brevis'

A Latin quote literally meaning "art is long, life is brief", widely used by Roman writers and orators, including Horace and Lucius Annaeus Seneca (4 BC - AD 65) who famously used it in De Brevitate Vitae, but generally attributed to Hippocrates (460 - 370 B.C.) the Greek physician, speaking of medical practice: "Life is short, the art long, opportunity fleeting, experiment treacherous, judgment difficult."

A famous poem of Chaucer begins by alluding to this sentiment: "The lyf so short, the craft so longe to lerne, Th'assay so hard, so sharp the conquerynge, The dredful joye..." -- Geoffrey Chaucer, 1382, "The Parliament of Fowls"

William Morris, 1834 - 1896 ( poet, novelist, Socialist, artist and key figure in the development of the Arts & Crafts movement), incorporated the quote into a 'settle' he made for his home 'Red House' in Bexleyheath, South East London.


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