Why the life of men is like a lump of iron, according to Cato “Carmen de Moribus”

Book 11 of Aulus Gellius preserves a delightful remark by Cato the Elder from the lost Carmen de Moribus:

Indeed, human life is very like iron. If you use it, it wears out; if you do not, it is nevertheless consumed by rust. In the same way we see men worn out by toil; if you toil not, sluggishness and torpor are more injurious than toil.

Thanks to Bill Thayer for making this available online.




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