Friday, 26 September 2014

Of Work and Wealth - Masolino da Todi

A man should hold in very dear esteem
    The first possession that his labours gain'd;
    For, though great riches be at length attain'd,
From that first mite they were increased to him.
    Who followeth after his own wilful whim
    Shall see himself outwitted in the end;
Wherefore I still would have him apprehend
His fall, who toils not being once supreme.
Thou seldom shalt find folly, of the worst,
    Holding companionship with poverty.
      Because it is distracted of much care.
Howbeit, if one that hath been poor at first
    Is brought at last to wealth and dignity,
      Still the worst folly thou shalt find it there.

Masolino da Todi (13th century) Italy
Translated by Dante Gabriel Rossetti

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