Mon, Sep 18, 2017 - Page 9 News List


“The Tortoise and the Hare”, from an edition of Aesop’s Fables illustrated by Arthur Rackham, 1912.

Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Chinese Practice


(yu4 su4 ze2 bu4 da2)

Things that are rushed are never accomplished



對此,羅馬帝國第一位皇帝奧古斯都顯然也是所見略同。羅馬帝國歷史學家蘇埃托尼烏斯在其所著《羅馬十二帝王傳》中記載,奧古斯都很討厭他的指揮官們草率行事,便常說:「做得好的事已經是做得夠快了」,以及「慢慢地趕快」這樣的反語,此語後來被譯成拉丁文「festina lente」,變成古代常見的一句格言。

在英文中我們常說「more haste, less speed」(越急就越慢):如果你趕著做某件事,最後反而會花更多時間來完成它。這句話的確切出處不詳,但可參考猶太經文作者便‧西拉在《便西拉智訓》(約作於西元前二○○至一七五年)所寫的:「有一個人永不停息地工作著,像個奴隸似的,可是他總是越來越趕不上。」

時間來到一六七八年的英國,約翰‧雷出版了《英文諺語集》,其中包括一個可上溯之前一百年的諺語「Haste makes waste, and waste makes want, and want makes strife between the goodman and his wife」(忙亂而為者往往造成浪費,浪費造成貧窮,貧窮造成好人與其妻之不和)。此處之「want」(要)意為「lack」(缺少)或「poverty」(貧窮);在現今我們會說成「haste makes waste」(忙亂而為者往往造成浪費)。




(You shouldn’t bomb along the road. More haste, less speed. You’ll have an accident, and then you’ll not get there on time, anyway.)


more haste, less speed;

haste makes waste

The principle behind this week’s idiom has been expressed in many forms, across many cultures and throughout history.

According to the Zi Lu chapter of the Confucian Analects, Zi Xia, the governor of Ju Fu, asked Confucius about good government. Confucius replied, "Desire to have things done quickly prevents them from being done (欲速則不達). Looking at small advantages prevents great affairs from being accomplished.”

The idea of desiring speed preventing one from achieving one’s objectives was repeated in the ancient Chinese Book of Han, completed in 111AD, where the same phrase — 欲速則不達 — appears in Chapter 75: “Therefore, to govern the state, you must not be too rushed, for desire to have things done quickly prevents them from being done.”

Apparently, this was a sentiment shared by the first Roman emperor, Augustus. The Roman historian Suetonius, in his De vita Caesarum (The Twelve Caesars), writes that Augustus hated rashness in his commanders, and was fond of saying things like "That which has been done well has been done quickly enough” and the rather ironic “hasten slowly,” later translated into Latin as festina lente, which was itself to become a common adage in the ancient world.

In English, we often say “more haste, less speed”: if you rush a job it will take you longer to complete it in the end. And, while the exact origins of that particular formulation are unclear, the Jewish scribe Ben Sira of Jerusalem, in his Wisdom of Sirach from approximately 200 to 175BC, wrote, “There is one [type of person] that toileth [works hard] and laboureth [labors], and maketh haste, and is so much the more behind.”

Back in Britain, in 1678, one John Ray published A Collection of English Proverbs, including a proverb dating from a century before: "Haste makes waste, and waste makes want, and want makes strife between the goodman and his wife.” Here, “want” means “lack” or “poverty.” We still say “haste makes waste” today.

Finally, there is the Hoklo (Taiwanese) dialect phrase 「呷緊弄破碗」: “if you eat too fast, you’ll break your bowl.”

(Paul Cooper, Taipei Times)

Don’t rush: you’ll make a mistake and have to do it over. More haste, less speed.


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