One may wish to be learned in old age, but it is not easy to achieve this unless we have nurtured learning in ourselves from our earliest years with zealous effort. So we need to prepare in youth those consolations which can bring delight in honorable old age; studies which are burdensome to youth will be pleasant relaxations to age. In this sense they are truly great bulwarks, whether we seek a remedy against sloth or solace in the face of worry and care. Piero Paolo Vergerio, “Character and Studies Befitting a Free-Born Youth,” in The Great Tradition: Classic Readings on What It Means to Be An Educated Human Being, ed. Richard M. Gamble. Wilmington 2007, p. 316. [Emphasis added]
The learning one obtains in youth brings consolation in one’s old age. This is a reason why memorization at the grammar stage of learning lays the foundation for higher cognitive skills: logic and rhetoric. In our youth this learning seems like drudgery, but without it no one can read or enjoy philosophy in one’s old age.