Idleness is the state of being idle or inactive, either out of laziness or out of a lack of useful things to do.
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- For idleness is an appendix to nobility.
- Robert Burton, The Anatomy of Melancholy (1621), Part I, Section II. Memb. 2. Subsect. 6.
- An idler is a watch that wants both hands;
As useless if it goes as when it stands.
- William Cowper, Retirement (1782), Line 681.
- How various his employments whom the world
Calls idle; and who justly in return
Esteems that busy world an idler too!
- William Cowper, The Task (1785), Book III. The Garden, line 342.
- Thus idly busy rolls their world away.
- Oliver Goldsmith, The Traveller (1764), line 256.
- What heart can think, or tongue express,
The harm that groweth of idleness?
- John Heywood, "Idleness" (circa 1576), as reproduced in Samuel Orchart Beeton and William Michael Rossetti, Encyclopaedia of English and American Poetry, Vol. 1 (1873), No. 400
- Gloomy calm of idle vacancy.
- Samuel Johnson, Boswell's Life of Johnson (Dec. 8, 1763).
- Thee too, my Paridel! she mark'd thee there,
Stretch'd on the rack of a too easy chair,
And heard thy everlasting yawn confess
The Pains and Penalties of Idleness.
- I rather would entreat thy company,
To see the wonders of the world abroad
Than living, dully sluggardized at home,
Wear out thy youth with shapeless idleness.
- Utque alios industria, ita hunc ignavia ad famam protulerat.
- Other men have acquired fame by industry, but this man by indolence.
- Tacitus, Annales (AD 117), XVI. 18.
- Their only labour was to kill the time;
And labour dire it is, and weary woe,
They sit, they loll, turn o'er some idle rhyme,
Then, rising sudden, to the glass they go,
Or saunter forth, with tottering steps and slow.
- James Thomson, Castle of Indolence (1748), Canto I, St. 72.
Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations
- Quotes reported in Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922), p. 384-85.
- Idleness is emptiness; the tree in which the sap is stagnant, remains fruitless.
- Hosea Ballou, Manuscript, Sermons.
- Diligenter per vacuitatem suam.
- In the diligence of his idleness.
- Book of Wisdom, XIII. 13. (Vulgate LXX).
- Strenua nos exercet inertia.
- Busy idleness urges us on.
- Horace, Epistles, Book I, XI. 28. Same idea in Phædrus, Fables, II. V. 3: Seneca—De Brevitate Vitæ, Chapter XIII and XV.
- Vitanda est improba syren—desidia.
- That destructive siren, sloth, is ever to be avoided.
- Horace, Satires, II. 3. 14.
- Variam semper dant otia mentem.
- An idle life always produces varied inclinations.
- Marcus Annaeus Lucanus, Pharsalia, IV. 704.
- The frivolous work of polished idleness.
- Sir James Mackintosh, Dissertation on Ethical Philosophy, Remarks on Thomas Brown.
- Cernis ut ignavum corrumpant otia corpus
Ut capiant vitium ni moveantur aquæ.
- Thou seest how sloth wastes the sluggish body, as water is corrupted unless it moves.
- Ovid, Epistolæ Ex Ponto, I. 5. 5.
- Difficultas patrocinia præteximus segnitiæ.
- We excuse our sloth under the pretext of difficulty.
- Quintilian, De Institutione Oratoria, I. 12.
- Blandoque veneno
Desidiæ virtus paullatim evicta senescit.
- Valor, gradually overpowered by the delicious poison of sloth, grows torpid.
- Silius Italicus, Punica, III. 580.
- L'indolence est le sommeil des esprits.
- Indolence is the sleep of the mind.
- Luc de Clapiers, Marquis de Vauvenargues, Réflexions, 390.
- There is no remedy for time misspent;
No healing for the waste of idleness,
Whose very languor is a punishment
Heavier than active souls can feel or guess.
- Sir Aubrey de Vere, A Song of Faith, Devout Exercises, and Sonnets.
- For Satan finds some mischief still
For idle hands to do.
- Isaac Watts, Against Idleness.
- 'Tis the voice of the sluggard, I heard him complain:
"You have waked me too soon, I must slumber again";
As the door on its hinges, so he on his bed,
Turns his sides, and his shoulders and his heavy head.
- Isaac Watts, The Sluggard.
- But how can he expect that others should
Build for him, sow for him, and at his call
Love him, who for himself will take no heed at all?
- William Wordsworth, Resolution and Independence, Stanza 6.
- Worldlings revelling in the fields
Of strenuous idleness.
- William Wordsworth, This Lawn, a Carpet all alive.