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Literally, "Art is long, life is short."

This saying is a Latin translation of an aphorism by the Greek philosopher Hippocrates. The "art" Hippocrates was referring to was medicine, so originally the saying had the meaning "The Art(of medicine) takes long to learn, the life (of the patient and the doctor) is short."

Geoffrey Chaucer translated this saying into English in his work The Parliament of Fowles:
That lyf so short, that craft so long to lerne
Th'assay so hard, so sharpe the conquerynge.
The first line of Chaucer's translation later became the motto of the magazine The Craftsman, published around the turn of the 20th century by Gustav Stickley. Since then, it has become a popular saying among followers of the American Arts and Crafts movement. It can be found engraved into various pieces of furniture (chairs, tables, etc.), on posters, cross stitches, etc.

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