How well would be, if men would but exercise their brains as they do their bodies, and take as much pain for virtue as they do for pleasure

I thought but emphasize the verb...Is it right? And if it is right, how it can be paraphrased?

1 Answer 1


"But" here means "merely", as in, if people would just take this small step.

A long-winded paraphrase would be, "If men would just take the simple, easy step of exercising their brains ..."

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