George Otto Trevelyan, The Life and Letters of Lord Macaulay
, Vol. I (London: Longmans, Green, and Co., 1877), p. 186 (Macaulay's own words, recorded by his sister Margaret, March 30, 1831):
I never knew such an idle man as I am. When I go in to Empson or Ellis his tables are always covered with books and papers. I can not stick at any thing for above a day or two. I mustered industry enough to teach myself Italian. I wish to speak Spanish. I know I could master the difficulties in a week, and read any book in the language at the end of a month, but I
have not the courage to attempt it. If there had not been really something in me, idleness would have ruined me.