I had not time to lick it into form, as a bear doth her young ones.1
Anatomy of Melancholy. Democritus to the Reader.
Note 1. Arts and sciences are not cast in a mould, but are formed and perfected by degrees, by often handling and polishing, as bears leisurely lick their cubs into form.Montaigne: Apology for Raimond Sebond, book ii. chap. xii. [back]