I thought this proverb about man's life of labor would be a good follow-up to yesterday's saying from Job about how man is born to a life of labor, ad laborem. Today's saying explains that work is required if you want to have bread to eat and, even better, the saying rhymes: Sine labore non erit panis in ore.
Of course, there are other proverbs about how nothing can be accomplished sine labore - Nihil sine labore, "Nothing without labor," Nil sine labore paratur, "Nothing is produced without labor," Nulla res magna sine labore venit, "No great thing happens without labor" - but none of those others have the charm of the rhyme to sweeten the sad truth of the saying.
An Aesop's fable that illustrates the truth of this saying is the famous story of the ant and the grasshopper, and I used this saying as a moral for my Tar Heel version of that fable. You can see the illustrations at Tar Heel; meanwhile, here is the text of the fable as I told it in Latin:
Ecce Formica! Formica negotiosa est, et prudens. In aestate, Formica laborat, colligens frumentum. Collectum frumentum trahit in cavernam suam. Cibum reponit in aestate ut comedat in hieme.For an English translation, check out the bilingual version at Tar Heel.
Ecce Cicada! Cicada otiosa est, et imprudens. In aestate, Cicada cantat et non laborat.
Sed mox tempus hiemis advenit cum magno frigore. Formica in caverna sua manet, comedens cibum suum. Sed Cicada cibum non habet.
Auxilium quaerens, Cicada venit ad Formicae ianuam. Famelica Cicada clamat: "O Formica, te imploro da mihi cibum! Copiam habes tu, et ego nihil. Fame iam moritura sum!"
Sed Formica Cicadam interrogat: "Ego tota aestate laborabam colligens frumentum. Dum ego sic laborabam, quid agebas tu?"
Cicada respondet: "Per flores errabam et per gramina. Carmina cantabam omnibus, gratis. Hoc erat mihi opus aestivum."
Formica ridet et ianuam claudit: "Si aestate cantabas hieme nunc salta!" Fabula docet: Sine labore non erit panis in ore.
Meanwhile, hoping your bread today has been sweet and your labors not too harsh, here is the proverb read out loud:
2646. Sine labore non erit panis in ore
The number here is the number for this proverb in Latin Via Proverbs: 4000 Proverbs, Mottoes and Sayings for Students of Latin.
If you are reading this via RSS: The audio content is not syndicated via RSS; please visit the Latin Audio Proverbs blog to listen to the audio.
For more Latin proverbs, fables and commentary, visit the Bestiaria Latina blog, or you can sign up to receive the latest posts by email.
Aesop's Fables in Latin now available at Amazon.com.