Time brings fruit, not the soil,
Practice makes one learned, not reason
The year brings fruit, let none dispute,
Which soil and field can’t master,
Though tended, can’t grow faster:
All things will ripen in due time
Fruit, crops and grain – and even wine.
Thus in the field, by winter sealed,
No flower you are espying,
From cold it would be dying,
Strawberry, swallow vainly seek
As on the highest alpine peak.
The iron share will need repair,
Though moist the soil and willing
The plough grows dull from tilling;
A raindrop bores through rock’s hard crust,
Oil’s cleansing force can banish rust.
You’re needs aware how iron will fare:
Unused, rust will impair it;
And clothing, lest you wear it,
By eager moths will be devoured,
Like wood by insects gnawed and scoured.
And frequent use can e’en reduce
Stone, iron ring’s dominion:
For ’tis a proved opinion
That not by force do things occur,
But time alone all can bestir.
One should not just in reason trust,
Memory praise be giving
For teaching, art in living.
Despite a good Ingenium,
True learning’s only gained by some.
Capacity and memory
Won’t make you wise or learnèd,
Time though can make you earn it:
Practice and use, I now confide,
Can art – and length of days – provide.
Let practice be your firm decree,
You liberal arts be tending,
Time daily on them spending;
Through practice stones hurl of such weight
That no one else can imitate.
A long pole raise that greatly weighs,
And horse-shoes rip to pieces,
And draw a bow, caprices
That always danger can contain
And human strength may overstrain.
Both practice and restraint’s fair hand
Mankind full well are serving,
From many ills preserving:
So use and practice here on earth,
Not reason, give to learning birth.