the man who lies asleep

“Up on your feet! This is no time to tire!”

my Master cried. “ The man who lies asleep

will never waken fame, and his desire

and all his life drift past him like a dream,

and the traces of his memory fade from time

like smoke in air, or ripples on a stream.

Now, therefore, rise. Control your breath, and call

upon the strength of soul that wins all battles

unless it sink in the gross body’s fall.

There is a longer ladder yet to climb:

this much is not enough. If you understand me,

show that you mean to profit from your time.”

(Dante, Inferno, canto XXIV, trans. John Ciardi.)

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