"The Mills Of God Grind Slowly, Yet They Grind Exceeding Small"
Context: Friedrich von Logau was the principal poet of the Silesian school of poetry in the seventeenth century and the leading epigrammatist. A series of twelve of his epigrams on such subjects as money, sin, creeds, and truth were translated by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. The aphorism on retribution, or divine vengeance, is given below in its entirety. A number of parallels exist, one of the earliest being from Euripides' Medea: "Slowly but surely withal moveth the might of the gods." An early English version is in George Herbert's Jacula Prudentum (1640): "God's mill grinds slow, but sure"; a version from the Italian is from Giovanni Torriano's A Common Place of Italian Proverbs (1666): "God's mill grinds slowly, but bitter is the bran." The meaning of the saying is that although God's justice may not be inflicted upon a wrongdoer for some time after he does an evil deed, yet justice will eventually be done, and when it is done, it will be exceedingly thorough. Von Logau's complete epigram is:
Though the mills of God grind slowly, yet they grind exceeding small;Though with patience he stands waiting, with exactness grinds he all.