There are countless colloquialisms which we state v regularity. "Absence makes the heart flourish fonder," is one example. "Patience is a virtue" is another. Execute you ever pause come wonder where theses unit volume come from and also why we say them?


"Patience is a virtue" is a id that"s commonly accepted, yet when walk we very first start speak it? We should take a lengthy walk earlier through history to discover out.

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What go "Patience Is a Virtue" Mean?

This emotion is a reflection top top someone"s capability to wait for something. By phone call patience a virtue, or state of ethical excellence, the leads civilization to believe an capacity to wait without agitation is one admirable quality.

Part of the factor this has been a long-standing fact throughout history is since patience often goes against our instincts. It"s other everyone struggles with, consisting of our earliest ancestors.

The an excellent news is, patience is a skill that deserve to be learned over time. The more we exercise patience, the less likely we are to become agitated when compelled to wait for something. Mastering this virtue will make for a more happiness life. That"s absolutely one of the factors why it"s so famously touted by writers and also philosophers alike.

Origins of “Patience Is a Virtue”

Like numerous of the famous sayings we recite today, the original author of "Patience is a virtue" is difficult to pin down. Some day it back to Cato come the Elder in the third or 4th century. Others attribute it come The Canterbury Tales, written during the 14th century. Because literature is rather fluid and shared through many, writers often observe similar concepts and also themes. It can be difficult to attribute frequently accepted think or reflections to one individual.

Let"s take it a look at at some of the well known writers who may have actually coined this now-common colloquialism.

Cato the Elder

Dating back to the 3rd or 4th century, we know of The Distichs the Cato, typically referred to together Cato. This to be a Latin collection of proverbial wisdom and morality, becoming the most popular Latin textbook in the middle Ages. That was thought about not only a textbook for finding out Latin, but an excellent morals, too.

Assumed to have actually been written by Cato the Elder, there is a heat in this text that reads, "Of human being virtues, patience is many great." when this is a striking statement in defense that patience, Cato often gets overlooked as the originator that this sentiment.


Other research dates this saying earlier to the fifth century. It was then that Latin poet Prudentius composed a near thousand-line epic poem, Psychomania, describing the conflict between vice and also virtue. The main personalities were Hope, Sobriety, Chastity, and Humility, as they fought against Pride, Wrath, Paganism, and Avarice.

Although the well known line "Patience is a virtue" isn"t expressly stated in Psychomania, it"s one of the earliest taped attempts in ~ highlighting patience together a virtue, or state of moral excellence.

Piers Plowman

It’s many commonly thought that the heat originated indigenous the poem, Piers Plowman, said to have actually been written approximately 1360 by English poet william Langland, around a man searching for faith. One heat in the poem claims that “patience is a same virtue.”

The city is an allegory, an interpretation the characters are symbolic and also satirical. However, the allegory no vague or abstract. Langland complied with a comparable pattern come Prudentius and also used personification to illustrate human virtues.

The main characters in this poem incorporate Truth (God), dorn (Devil), holy Church, Thought, Wit, Study, Conscience, Liar, Reason, Dowel (do well), Dobet (do better) and Dobest (do best), add to the seven deadly sins. The personalities are lead on a search by Piers Plowman. Plowman is chosen as the guide as result of his state of ethical excellence.

The Canterbury Tales

Ten years later, Geoffrey Chaucer’s The Canterbury Tales started to obtain notoriety. This is one more story, or series of stories, detailing virtue"s place in one"s life. The characters in each story embark ~ above pilgrimages, motivated by love, and characterized through self-denial and also contrition.

In The Canterbury Tales, we uncover a comparable quote, “Patience is a high virtue.” While these pilgrimages were marked by virtuous behavior, it"s make clear the the practice of patience produced a an ext contented journey, also in the challenge of self-denial and contrition.

Interestingly enough, Chaucer described Cato in Canterbury Tales. He wrote, "He knew not Catoun, because that his wit was rude." Although the doesn"t mention patience directly, Chaucer alludes come Cato"s message as gift an authority on morality.

A common Sentiment

So we can see the "patience is a virtue" has actually long to be touted together a universal truth. Usual sentiments such together this frequently make their method into the literature of the time, which makes it daunting to decide the exact origin of the phrase since the quote might have currently been well-known to human being through an dental story tradition.

The battle against impatience has been constant, v every generation. In the end, if patience is victorious, we"re fine positioned come live a happier, an ext virtuous life, in that highly regarded state of ethical excellence.

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While we proceed on our route to together excellence, reap some an ext through these wise men, consisting of Geoffrey Chaucer and William Langland.