I Wish I’d Said That.

Dr. Boli’s Occasional Journal of Quotations.

The Play of Children and the Play of Adults.

St. Augustine

For we wanted not, O Lord, memory or wit, which thou wast pleased we should have in proportion to our age: but we were fond of play; and we were punished for it by them, that were doing no better; but the boys-play of those that are grown up is named business; whilst the equal toys of children are punished by them, and no one pities the children, or them, or both. For who is he that weighing things well, will justify my being beaten when I was a boy, for playing at ball, because by that play I was hindered from learning so quickly those arts, with which, when grown up, I should play far worse; as he was in the mean while doing, by whom I was corrected, who, if overcome in some petty dispute by his fellow teacher, was more racked with choler and envy, than I was when out done by my play-fellow in a game at ball?

——Augustine, Confessions I.9, translated by Richard Challoner.