“I dig old books.”
Quotations about Time
It is an old story, this irresistible and ceaseless onflow of life and time; time always scattering the flowers of life with a lavish hand along its course... ~Hamilton Wright Mabie (1846–1916), "New Year's Eve" (c.1885), My Study Fire
There is one kind of robber whom the law does not strike at, and who steals what is most precious to men: time. ~Napoleon I, Maxims, 1815
Time gives good advice. (El tiempo da buen consejo.) ~Spanish proverb
Be always drunken. Nothing else matters: that is the only question. If you would not feel the horrible burden of Time weighing on your shoulders and crushing you to the earth, be drunken continually.
Drunken with what? With wine, with poetry, or with virtue, as you will. But be drunken.
And if sometimes, on the stairs of a palace, or on the green side of a ditch, or in the dreary solitude of your own room, you should awaken and the drunkenness be half or wholly slipped away from you, ask of the wind, or of the wave, or of the star, or of the bird, or of the clock, of whatever flies, or sighs, or rocks, or sings, or speaks, ask what hour it is; and the wind, wave, star, bird, clock, will answer you: "It is the hour to be drunken! Be drunken, if you would not be martyred slaves of Time; be drunken continually! With wine, with poetry, or with virtue, as you will."
~Charles Baudelaire (1821–1867), "Be Drunken," translated from French by Arthur Symons
Old Time, in whose banks we deposit our notes
Is a miser who always wants guineas for groats;
He keeps all his customers still in arrears
By lending them minutes and charging them years.
~Oliver Wendell Holmes
It's a strange thing, but when you are dreading something, and would give anything to slow down time, it has a disobliging habit of speeding up. ~J.K. Rowling, "The Hungarian Horntail," Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, 2000
Who forces time is pushed back by time; who yields to time finds time on his side. ~The Talmud
When does a day begin? Different nations have had their own methods of punctuating time... midnight... sunrise to sunrise... at sunset.... Small boys always begin their holidays 'the night before.' They know that the glorious Fourth of July is, and of right out to be, in full blast at least twelve hours before their elders are ready for the first firecracker; and Christmas Eve is rightly conceived as an integral part of Christmas Day.... This buoyancy of spirit which dwells confidently in the morrow, even before the dawn has come, is natural to Americans. ~Samuel McChord Crothers, "On the Evening of the New Day," The Atlantic Monthly, January 1919
Time is like the wind, it lifts the light and leaves the heavy. ~Doménico Cieri Estrada
The years pass on in rapid flight
Time neither sleeps nor nods;
They come like frequent paragraphs,
All interspersed with quads...
~Sam Walter Foss (1858–1911), "New Year's. By a Printer" (Poems by Specialists), Back Country Poems, 1892
Time is a dressmaker specializing in alterations. ~Faith Baldwin
When told the reason for Daylight Saving time the old Indian said, "Only a white man would believe that you could cut a foot off the top of a blanket and sew it to the bottom of a blanket and have a longer blanket." ~Author Unknown
When we remember that in the short space of one hundred years, all the inhabitants of this world will have passed into another state of existence, we cannot but acknowledge that the occupations of time engage too much of our attention.— All of us feel and know these things to be true, and yet we live as though we believed them not. Why is this? It is because the deep and dark valley of forgetfulness is the receptacle of neglected thought. It is a strange truth—we do forget! In the multiplicity of our earthly pursuits we forget that we are but pilgrims to another world. Reason tells the old man, that he was once young, but is he not prone to forget the high aspirations, the wild, free thoughts, the innocence and happiness of his early days? ~Charles Lanman, "Musings," 1840
Why do we treat the fleeting day
with so much needless fear and sorrow?
It's in its nature not to stay:
Today is always gone tomorrow.
~Wisława Szymborska (1923–2012), "Nothing Twice," Calling Out to Yeti (1957), translated from the Polish by Stanisław Barańczak and Clare Cavanagh
I hear the heartthrob of time in my veins. ~Terri Guillemets
Time is making fools of us again. ~J.K. Rowling
Why won't they let a year die without bringing in a new one on the instant, can't they use birth control on time? I want an interregnum. The stupid years patter on with unrelenting feet, never stopping — rising to little monotonous peaks in our imaginations at festivals like New Year's and Easter and Christmas — But, goodness, why need they do it? ~John Dos Passos, 1917
How long a minute is, depends on which side of the bathroom door you're on. ~Zall's Second Law
Three o'clock is always too late or too early for anything you want to do. An odd moment in the afternoon. Today it is intolerable. ~Jean-Paul Sartre (1905–1980), Nausea, translated from the French by Lloyd Alexander [La Nausée first published in 1938, first published in USA 1959.
From that first moment of doubt, there was no peace for her; from the time she first imagined leaving her forest, she could not stand in one place without wanting to be somewhere else. She trotted up and down beside her pool, restless and unhappy. Unicorns are not meant to make choices. She said no, and yes, and no again, day and night, and for the first time she began to feel the minutes crawling over her like worms. ~Peter S. Beagle, The Last Unicorn, 1968
At certain periods of life, we live years of emotion in a few weeks, and look back on those times as on great gaps between the old life and the new. ~William Makepeace Thackeray
Round my cradle shimmered the last moonbeams of the eighteenth century and the first morning rays of the nineteenth. ~Heinrich Heine (c.1799–1856), "Thoughts and Fancies," translated from German by John Snodgrass [Many modern sources cite Heine's date of birth as Dec 13th 1797, in Düsseldorf, Germany. However, there are no existing documents to verify this, thus the date remains uncertain. Heine himself claimed his birthday was Dec 13th 1799, but other possible dates include Jan 1st 1800 and Dec 23rd 1797.
The years like great black oxen tread the world
And God, the herdsman, goads them on behind.
~William Butler Yeats, The Countess Cathleen
Some day man will travel at the speed of light, of small interest to those of us still trying to catch up to the speed of time. ~Robert Brault, rbrault.blogspot.com
Time! the corrector when our judgments err. ~Lord Byron
The illimitable, silent, never-resting thing called Time, rolling, rushing on, swift, silent, like an all-embracing ocean-tide, on which we and all the universe swim like exhalations, like apparitions which are, and then are not.... ~Thomas Carlyle
"To get a conception of this change you must analyze definitely what time is. We measure and mark it by years, months, and so forth, down to minutes and seconds, all based upon the movements of our earth around its sun. But that is the measurement of time, not time itself. How would you describe time?"
The Big Business Man smiled. "Time," he said, "is what keeps everything from happening at once."
"Very clever," laughed the Chemist.... "But there is no question that to some much smaller degree we all of us differ one from the other. The difference, however, is so comparatively slight, that we can each one reconcile it to the standard measurement of time. And so, outwardly, time is the same for all of us. But inwardly, why, we none of us conceive a minute or an hour to be the same! How do you know how long a minute is to me? More than that, time is not constant even in the same individual. How many hours are shorter to you than others? How many days have been almost interminable? No, instead of being constant, there is nothing more inconstant than time."
~Raymond King Cummings (1887–1957), The Girl in the Golden Atom, "Chapter V: The World in the Ring," 1919 [Last line of the chapter reads: "This is all tremendously interesting," sighed the Big Business Man; "but not very comprehensible." I'll agree with that!
Time is the coin of your life. It is the only coin you have, and only you can determine how it will be spent. Be careful lest you let other people spend it for you. ~Carl Sandburg
Time isn't your master, you are. ~Mike Dolan, @HawaiianLife
Time is a figure eight, at its center the city of Déjà vu. ~Robert Brault, rbrault.blogspot.com
Time heals what reason cannot. ~Seneca
I am tired of the imposed rhythms of men,
Tethered time, restrained and trained
To a monotonous beat
Digital time blinking exactness
~Phillip Pulfrey, "Conjecture," Beyond Me, www.originals.net
The lesson of Good Friday is to never lose hope — or at least give it 48 hours. ~Robert Brault, rbrault.blogspot.com
We measure the beginning, and progress, and end of the year, by these months, and the days of which they consist; we date all affairs, actions, and accidents of humane life, and reflect back upon them, by the help of this certain character of time, when joined with other measures: as, such a day of such a month, of such a year in some certain period or epocha. ~William Holder, A Discourse Concerning Time, 1694 [a little altered
If you want work well done, select a busy man — the other kind has no time. ~Elbert Hubbard
How do you approach the wheel of time —
do you ride her
stick your foot in her gears
ignore her slow grinding
write poems of her elusive movement
sync yourself with her dance
or cry out in the cold night of her injustice & indifference?
Dinner was soon followed by tea and coffee, a ten miles' drive home allowed no waste of hours, and from the time of their sitting down to table, it was a quick succession of busy nothings till the carriage came to the door... ~Jane Austen (1775–1817), Mansfield Park (Volume I, Chapter X), 1814 [I've not seen the movie, but apparently the line has been updated to "Life seems nothing more than a quick succession of busy nothings." Austen was not the first to use the phrase "busy nothings" but of those who came before her, she is the most well-known.
Darn the wheel of the world! Why must it continually turn over? Where is the reverse gear? ~Jack London
Time flies on restless pinions — constant never. ~Friedrich Schiller
...Victor felt, in the thicket, as if he went through the gate of a new life, as on this fiery morning he sauntered onward with the sun, which darted beside him from twig to twig, through the murmuring wood, away along under symphonious branches, which were so many music-barrels set in motion, over moss that lay in green sun-fire, and under evergreen bathed in heavenly blue. And this morning renewed in his heart the painful likeness of four things,—life, a day, a year, a journey, which resemble each other in their fresh, exultant beginning, in the oppressive interlude, in the weary, sated close.— ~Jean Paul Friedrich Richter, Hesperus, or Forty-Five Dog-Post-Days: A Biography, translated from German by Charles T. Brooks, 1865
The Future is something which everyone reaches at the rate of sixty minutes an hour, whatever he does, whoever he is. ~C.S. Lewis
Time is a brisk wind, for each hour it brings something new... but who can understand and measure its sharp breath, its mystery and its design? ~Paracelsus
What then is time? If no one asks me, I know what it is. If I wish to explain it to him who asks, I do not know. ~Saint Augustine
Time is a very healing place, one in which you can grow. ~Denise Tanner
Each moment has its sickle, emulous
Of Time's enormous scythe, whose ample sweep
Strikes empires from the root.
The inertia hardest to overcome is that of perfectly good seconds. ~Martin H. Fischer (1879–1962)
Watches are so named as a reminder — if you don't watch carefully what you do with your time, it will slip away from you. ~Terri Guillemets, "Tick tock," 1996
...[M]ay its index point to joy,
And moments wing'd with new delights.
Sweet may resound each silver bell,—
And never quick returning chime,
Seem in reproving notes to tell,
Of hours mispent, and murder'd time....
~Charlotte Turner Smith (1749-1806), "The Horologe of the Fields" Addressed to a Young Lady, on seeing at the House of an Acquaintance a magnificent French Timepiece, published 1807
Time is the wisest counsellor of all. ~Pericles
A lot like yesterday, a lot like never. ~Tim O'Brien, The Things They Carried
There are whole years for which I hope I'll never be cross-examined, for I could not give an alibi. ~Mignon McLaughlin, The Neurotic's Notebook, 1960
But it seemed to Lucy, in her waking womanhood, that there were other secrets hidden in Greymire; secrets that belonged to her alone, and would some day whisper their message to her heart. ~Florence Bone (1875–1971), The Morning of To‑Day, 1907
The clocks are all turned forward from Funny Time to Right Time. I always remember, "Spring back or Fall in." ~David J. Beard (1947–2016), tweet, 2008 November 2nd
Mornings smell & taste
more like life;
Night reeks of dreams,
Afternoons are scentless,
save for tea & 3pm regret.
Time brings an end to everything. We should not mistake for a tragedy what is no more than the passage of time. ~Robert Brault, rbrault.blogspot.com
Time is the most undefinable yet paradoxical of things; the past is gone, the future is not come, and the present becomes the past even while we attempt to define it, and, like the flash of lightning, at once exists and expires. ~Charles Caleb Colton
Time is the only thief we can't get justice against. ~Terri Guillemets
Time is neither friend nor enemy it's just a measurement. ~Mike Dolan, @HawaiianLife
Time is what we want most, but... what we use worst. ~William Penn
Do not watch too closely
cogs in the wheel of time
Observe their passing as
the rhythm of a poem—
not clicks of the abacus
Time is the longest distance between two places. ~Tennessee Williams
Among life's regrets is all the time wasted being early for everything. ~Robert Brault, rbrault.blogspot.com
Pick my left pocket of its silver dime, but spare the right — it holds my golden time! ~Oliver Wendell Holmes
Man goes nowhere. Everything comes to man, like tomorrow. ~Antonio Porchia, Voces, 1943, translated from Spanish by W.S. Merwin
Whether we wake or we sleep,
Whether we carol or weep,
The Sun with his Planets in chime,
Marketh the going of Time.
For centuries, man believed that the sun revolves around the earth. Centuries later, he still thinks that time moves clockwise. ~Robert Brault, rbrault.blogspot.com
Time, the cradle of hope.... Wisdom walks before it, opportunity with it, and repentance behind it: he that has made it his friend will have little to fear from his enemies, but he that has made it his enemy will have little to hope from his friends. ~Charles Caleb Colton
Time is but the stream I go a-fishing in. ~Henry David Thoreau
The Present is a Point just passed. ~David Russell
Methinks I see the wanton hours flee,
And as they pass, turn back and laugh at me.
We cannot see time directly; we catch glimpses only of its reflections. ~Terri Guillemets
Time is an equal opportunity employer. Each human being has exactly the same number of hours and minutes every day. Rich people can't buy more hours. Scientists can't invent new minutes. And you can't save time to spend it on another day. Even so, time is amazingly fair and forgiving. No matter how much time you've wasted in the past, you still have an entire tomorrow. ~Denis Waitely
Much may be done in those little shreds and patches of time which every day produces, and which most men throw away. ~Charles Caleb Colton
One must learn a different... sense of time, one that depends more on small amounts than big ones. ~Sister Mary Paul
Day, n. A period of twenty-four hours, mostly misspent. ~Ambrose Bierce
The great enemy of achievement is a schedule already full. ~Robert Brault, rbrault.blogspot.com
Time is a great teacher, but unfortunately it kills all its pupils. ~Louis Hector Berlioz
Let not the sands of time get in your lunch. ~Tony Hendra, "Deteriorata" (Thanks Tom)