Leon Battista Alberti,
On the Advantages and Disadvantages of Literature (Part I):
“Lorenzo Alberti, our father, a man who was in his time easily the best in many things, including in the education of his family (as you yourself know, Carolus), was accustomed to wish us so educated as to appear both at home and outside never to be entirely idle. Having been educated and imbued with this ingenuous and shining discipline of our father, you have always been involved either in the management of business or in the study of literature; I, however, who have applied myself entirely to literature by setting other things at naught, can probably do anything in the world more willingly than to pass a day without either reading or composing something.
For that reason, I am glad that we have brought it about that we can in some part bear moderately, and in some part prudently avoid the adversity and sufferings which have long pressed upon us by resorting to the consultation of literature. Indeed, it seems to me that we should strive with our studies not only to render them beneficial to ourselves, but even more so to make them satisfy the expectation of our friends. Every day all of our friends, to whom my dignity and reputation are dear, beg me to draw forth some fruit of my late nights, so that they can be sure that I have actually achieved something in the labor and assiduity of my studies.”
Laurentius Albertus parens noster, vir cum multis in rebus, tum in educanda familia temporibus suis facile nostrorum omnium princeps, ut meministi, Carole, solitus erat nos ita instructos velle et domi et foris videri, ut nunquam essemus otiosi. Qua quidem ingenua et preclara patris nostri disciplina instituti atque imbuti, tu semper aut gerendis negotiis aut in litterarum cognitione versaris; ego autem, qui me totum tradidi litteris, ceteris posthabitis rebus, omnia posse libentius debeo quam diem aliquam nihil aut lectitando aut commentando preterire.
Qua ex re illud quidem nos assecutos gaudeo, ut adversas quibus diutius premimur erumnas partim ferre moderate, partim vitare prudenter licuerit documentis litterarum. Ac mihi quidem studiis nostris non modo ut nobis tantum prosint, sed magis etiam ut amicorum expectationi satisfaciant enitendum videtur. Namque in dies nostri, quibus et dignitas mea cara est et fama, omnes exposcunt ut fructum aliquem depromam vigiliarum mearum, quo intelligant me meo studiorum labore et assiduitate aliquid profecisse.