Dante: Get Famous or go to hell trying

by zunguzungu

Now you must cast aside your laziness,”
my master said, “for he who rests on down
or under covers cannot come to fame;

and he who spends his life without renown
leaves such a vestige of himself on earth
as smoke bequeaths to air or foam to water.

Therefore, get up; defeat your breathlessness
with spirit that can win all battles if
the body’s heaviness does not deter it.”

(Dante, Inferno, XXIV)

(And for bonus ecclesiastical works and damnation poetry, let’s not forget Milton’s “When I Consider How My Light is Spent”:

“…God doth not need
Either man’s work or His own gifts. Who best
Bear His mild yoke, they serve Him best. His state
Is kingly: thousands at His bidding speed,
And post o’er land and ocean without rest;
They also serve who only stand and wait.”)