When wine is drunk by a drunkard, that wine is revenged on the drinker.
An artizan often going to visit a great gentleman without any definite purpose, the gentleman asked him what he did this for. The other said that he came there to have a pleasure which his lordship could not have; since to him it was a satisfaction to see men greater than himself, as is the way with the populace; while the gentleman could only see men of less consequence than himself; and so lords and great men were deprived of that pleasure.
A man wishing to prove, by the authority of Pythagoras, that he had formerly been in the world, while another would not let him finish his argument, the first speaker said to the second: “It is by this token that I was formerly here, I remember that you were a miller.” The other one, feeling himself stung by these words, agreed that it was true, and that by the same token he remembered that the speaker had been the ass that carried the flour.
It was asked of a painter why, since he made such beautiful figures, which were but dead things, his children were so ugly; to which the painter replied that he made his pictures by day, and his children by night.
An old man was publicly casting contempt on a young one, and boldly showing that he did not fear him; on which the young man replied that his advanced age served him better as a shield than either his tongue or his strength.
A man was desired to rise from bed, because the sun was already risen. To which he replied: “If I had as far to go, and as much to do as he has, I should be risen by now; but having but a little way to go, I shall not rise yet.”
A man, seeing a woman ready to hold up the target for a jousting match, exclaimed, looking at the shield, and considering his spear: “Alack! this is too small a workman for so great a business.”
From the Notebooks of Leonardo da Vinci.