[PW] question: Dante quote?

John Cowan cowan at ccil.org
Thu Apr 6 12:01:27 PDT 2017

On Thu, Apr 6, 2017 at 2:28 PM, Welsh, Donald J <djwels at wm.edu> wrote:

The following quote is widely attributed to Dante by a number of worthless
> web sites:
> "The secret of getting things done is to act"

It looks like an exceedingly crude paraphrase of this passage from _Hell_,
canto xxiv, lines 47-51, where Virgil addresses Dante-the-pilgrim on his
exhaustion at climbing out of the sixth_bolgia_ of the Eighth Circle, the
place of the hypocrites:

[...] Seggendo in piuma
in fama non si vien, né sotto coltre,

sanza la qual chi sua vita consuma
cotal vestigo in terra di sé lascia
qual fummo in aere ed in acqua la schiuma.

in rough English translation:

Lying in a featherbed or under the quilt will not bring you fame, and
whoever uses up his life without fame leaves no trace of himself on Earth,
no more than smoke in the air or foam on the water.

John Cowan          http://vrici.lojban.org/~cowan        cowan at ccil.org
Most people are much more ignorant about language than they are about
[other subjects], but they reckon that because they can talk and read and
write, their opinions about talking and reading and writing are as well
informed as anybody's.  And since I have DNA, I'm entitled to carry on at
length about genetics without bothering to learn anything about it.  Not.
                        --Mark Liberman

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