"And not our Houses alone, when (as SOPHOCLES has it) they stand long untenanted, run the faster to ruine, but Mens natural parts lying unemployed for lack of Acquaintance with the World, contract a kind of filth or rust and craziness thereby."
— Plutarch (c. 46-120)
Vertue, like finest Brass, by use grows bright.
And not our Houses alone, when (as SOPHOCLES has it) they stand long untenanted, run the faster to ruine, but Mens natural parts lying unemployed for lack of Acquaintance with the World, contract a kind of filth or rust and craziness thereby. For sottish ease, and a life wholly sedentary and given up to Idleness, spoils and debilitates, not only the Body but the Soul too: And as close Waters shadowed over by bordering Trees, and stagnated in default of Springs, so supply current and motion to them become foul and corrupt; so methinks the Innate Faculties and Powers, of a dull unstirring Soul, what ever usefulness, whatever Seeds of good she may have latent in her, yet when she puts not those Powers into Action, when once they stagnate, they lose their vigour and run to decay; See you not how on Nights approach a sluggish drowsiness oft-times seizes the Body, and sloath and unactivness surprize the Soul, and she finds her self heavy and quite unfit for Action? Have you not then observed how a Man's Reason (like fire, scarce visible and just going out) retires into it self, and what with inactivity and dullness, every little flitting object so flatters and endangers the extinguishing it, that there remains but some obscure indications that the Man is alive.
But when the Orient Sun brings back the day,
It chases Night and dreamy Sleep away.
See also Liberty Fund edition, digitized from Plutarch's Morals. Translated from the Greek by Several Hands. Corrected and Revised by William W. Goodwin, with an Introduction by Ralph Waldo Emerson, 5 vols. (Boston: Little, Brown, and Co., 1878). This 1878 American edition is based on the 5th edition of 1718. <Link to OLL>