Leon Battista Alberti,
On the Advantages and Disadvantages of Literature (Part VI):
“Yet, although the authority and reasoning of many stood against me, yet in some way it seemed that the case of literature stood otherwise. Yet I entertained an opinion of this sort, that, while those most erudite of men might judge for their own reasons that there were many disadvantages attending upon literature, and while they might think that the study of literature was to be subordinated to that of all other studies, I nevertheless thought that literature should take priority over all else. From that point, I so dedicated myself to the understanding of literature, that nothing could be declared splendid in literature which I did not seek in both my mind and my will – nothing which I did not pursue with my labors, with my care, with my nightly vigils, and nothing which I did not cultivate with the greatest diligence and reverence.”
Mihi vero quamvis multorum auctoritas rationesque obstarent, tamen nescio quo pacto de litteris aliter videbatur: erat enim eiusmodi apud me opinio ut, dum illi viri eruditissimi suis rationibus multa litteris incommoda adiudicarent, ego esse litteras censerem longe iucundissimas, dumque ceteris omnibus disciplinis illi cultum litterarum postponendum putarent, ego litteras rebus omnibus preponendas ducerem. Denique ita me cognitioni litterarum dedicaram omnino, ut nihil in litteris preclarum esse diceretur quod illud animo et voluntate non appeterem, quod laboribus, cura atque vigiliis non prosequerer, quodve summa diligentia et observantia quantum possem non excolerem.