The Quote Garden

 I dig old books.

 Est. 1998




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Quotations about
Midday, Noon & Afternoons



Oh, early every afternoon
I like a temporary swoon.
I do not overeat at luncheon,
I do not broach the bowl or puncheon;
Yet the hour from two to three
Is always sleepy-time to me...
~Ogden Nash (1902–1971), "Cat Naps Are Too Good for Cats"


Time has fallen asleep in the afternoon sunshine. ~Alexander Smith, "Dreamthorp"


The afternoon was another unending stretch of time. ~Gerald Raftery (1905–1986), Twenty-Dollar Horse, 1955


All is silent under the steep cone of afternoon... ~John Gould Fletcher (1886–1950)


...noon time, when all nature is peculiarly quiet... ~Washington Irving, "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow" 1820


When once thy day shall burst to flower,
When once the sun shall climb the sky,
And busy hour by busy hour,
The urgent noontide draws anigh...
~Susan Coolidge, "The Morning Comes Before The Sun"


Think what a better world it would be if we all — the whole world — had cookies and milk about three o'clock every afternoon and then lay down with our blankies for a nap. ~Robert Fulghum, All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten, 1986


The late afternoon piled clouds
across a weary western sky.
Another long measure of light
was preparing for the nightbreak...
~Cave Outlaw (1900–1996), "Man, Woman and the Land," Wind in the Bell Tower, 1980


Two-thirty. I started out the day wrong, didn't correct it, and today has gone all wrong even though everything went all right. ~Barry Fox Stevens (1902–1985), Don't Push the River (it flows by itself), 1970


...he glanced at the alarm-clock on the fir-banked mantelpiece. Two-thirty! ~Eleanor Ecob Sawyer, "Unencumbered Bachelor," 1922  [I feel this way nearly every afternoon. How did it get to be 2:30 already?! —tg]


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. —tg]


How blest to sit in the fragrant shade,
In the hush of a summer noon,
To watch the bees at their happy task,
And listen their drowsy tune...
~Elizabeth Anne Chase Akers Allen, "My Air–castle," The Sunset–song and other Verses, 1902


The toils of the forenoon, the heats of midday, in the warm season, the slanting light of the descending sun, or the sobered translucency of twilight have subdued the vivacity of the early day. ~Oliver Wendell Holmes, "Over the Teacups," 1890


How softly runs the afternoon
Beneath the billowy clouds of June!
~Charles Hanson Towne


...the deep dense azure of midsummer noon... ~Coulson Kernahan (1858–1943)


Out in the late amber afternoon... ~Hart Crane (1899–1932), "In Shadow"


Sir, it is the king's most sweet pleasure and
affection to congratulate the princess at her
pavilion in the posteriors of this day, which the
rude multitude call the afternoon.
~William Shakespeare, Love's Labour's Lost, c.1594  [V, 1, Don Adriano de Armado]


The posterior of the day, most generous sir, is
liable, congruent and measurable for the afternoon:
the word is well culled, chose, sweet and apt, I do
assure you, sir, I do assure.
~William Shakespeare, Love's Labour's Lost, c.1594  [V, 1, Holofernes]


A man may be a pessimistic determinist before lunch and an optimistic believer in the will's freedom after it... ~Aldous Huxley


Summer afternoon — summer afternoon; to me those have always been the two most beautiful words in the English language. ~Henry James (1843–1916), as quoted by Edith Wharton, A Backward Glance, 1934


The afternoons are simply so much sunlight and aromatic air. ~J. B. Priestley, Midnight on the Desert: A Chapter of Autobiography, 1917


Noon spreads an opal canopy... ~Robert Loveman (1864–1923)


Noon is a flower in full bloom... ~Cave Outlaw (1900–1996), "Muir Woods," Fugitive Hour, 1950


The afternoon knows what the morning never suspected. ~Swedish proverb


About three o'clock I was obliged to surrender to the power of the sun and retire into the house. ~Olive Thorne Miller, A Bird-Lover in the West, 1894


Then the sun's noon-splendour
Filled the cloud with light,
Though a soft and tender
Yet intensest white;
And the wanderer weary
Joyed that it was made,
For it gave to him a cheery
And a grateful shade.
~"The Cloud," Excelsior: Helps to Progress in Religion, Science, and Literature, Vol. VI, edited by James Hamilton, 1856


The day becomes more solemn and serene
When noon is past...
~Percy Bysshe Shelley, "Hymn to Intellectual Beauty"


The bees are summer-busy every sunny afternoon... ~Hal Borland  [September —tg]


The Day, reluctant still to leave,
      Sits crystal at its noon,
Like some sweet girl, with naught to grieve,
      Sighing a dreamy tune.
~Madison Julius Cawein (1865–1914), "Solstice"


Under certain circumstances there are few hours in life more agreeable than the hour dedicated to the ceremony known as afternoon tea. ~Henry James, The Portrait of a Lady, 1880


Crows called across the pewter afternoons. ~James Carlos Blake, Wildwood Boys, 2000


It was the hour of four in the afternoon, and already in hillside homesteads the day was nearly done. There was everywhere an air of that sweet, old-fashioned leisure which the world has nearly lost. It lingered in the slant sunlight that threw shadows across the winding road... ~Florence Bone (1875–1971), The Morning of To‑Day, 1907


The return from the walk, and the arrival of tea, should be exactly coincident, and not later than a quarter past four. ~C. S. Lewis


I, who cannot stay in my chamber for a single day without acquiring some rust, and when sometimes I have stolen forth for a walk at the eleventh hour, or four o'clock in the afternoon, too late to redeem the day, when the shades of night were already beginning to be mingled with the daylight, have felt as if I had committed some sin to be atoned for, — I confess that I am astonished at the power of endurance, to say nothing of the moral insensibility, of my neighbors who confine themselves to shops and offices the whole day for weeks and months, aye, and years almost together. I know now what manner of stuff they are of, — sitting there now at three o'clock in the afternoon, as if it were three o'clock in the morning. ~Henry David Thoreau, "Walking"


...and all at once,
With twelve great shocks of sound, the shameless noon
Was clash'd and hammer'd from a hundred towers...
~Alfred, Lord Tennyson, "Godiva"


Up the steep of the morning arch
the sun climbs and burns at midday —
and intensity of what began —
crowning a March measure of time.
~Cave Outlaw (1900–1996), "Desert Day," Wind in the Bell Tower, 1980


The transparent haze which rests upon the mountain-top at noon, — the calmness in the air, and the clearness of the sky, now have a most mysterious influence upon the heart. The "still small voice" of nature makes us thoughtful; and seems to invite us to think upon the swiftness with which our days are passing away. How often at such an hour, have I been startled by the beating of my own heart! And the sunsets of Autumn, — are they not gorgeous beyond description? more so than the brightest dreams of poetry? ~Charles Lanman, "The Dying Year," 1840


The cool, bright days,
The calm, bright days,
With their liberal-hearted noons!...
~Harriet McEwen Kimball (1834–1917), "In Autumn," c.1864


The year has now attained his manhood, and we are in midsummer; the sun is in full power, and at noon all nature is silent under his spell; even the bee hangs silent upon the flower; the mowers rest in the fields, and lay themselves down in the hot sun to sleep away the midday hour.... The pulse of nature stands still. Glancing across the plain, you see the rarefied and glimmering air ascending from the heated earth.... Now is the season for bathing, whether in river or ocean. How delicious is a plunge in this thirsty weather! ~"July," Eliza Cook's Journal, 1850 July 6th


A long afternoon leaning
away from troublesome toil and thought.
~Cave Outlaw (1900–1996), "Desert Day," Wind in the Bell Tower, 1980


The windmills stare at the sun.
      The yellow earth cracks and blisters.
      Everything is still.
In the afternoon
      The wind takes dry waves of heat and tosses them,
      Mingled with dust, up and down the streets...
~John Gould Fletcher (1886–1950), "The Windmills" (Arizona Poems), 1915


Midsummer noontide in a sky of brass:
The sun like flame licks at the blistered earth,
And shrivels up the blades of withering grass...
~John Gould Fletcher (1886–1950), "Midsummer Love"


To part her time 'twixt reading and bohea,
To muse, and spill her solitary tea,
Or o'er cold coffee trifle with the spoon,
Count the slow Clock, and dine exact at noon...
~Alexander Pope (1688–1744), "Epistle to Miss Blount, On Her Leaving the Town after the Coronation"


"In the afternoon they came unto a land in which it seemed always afternoon." I want to come to such a land. I want to be a lotus-eater... I feel like that toad who, after being embedded in rock for thousands of years, on being rudely ejected, simply sat down on its haunches and blinked. I want to sit down on my haunches and blink in a sunny spot under a sunny wall. I might muster up sufficient energy to fold my hands on my lap as looking more elegant, but afterwards I should want to sit absolutely still and just let the sunshine filter through my tired being. ~Mabel Barnes-Grundy, "I Desire to be a Lotus-Eater, and Sammy Brings Me Rudely to Earth," The Vacillations of Hazel, 1905  [quoting Alfred, Lord Tennyson, "The Lotos-Eaters" —tg]


Noon-and-a-half:
waiting to eat...
~Paul Blackburn, "The Hour," c.1966


Researchers at Harvard say that taking a power nap for an hour in the afternoon can totally refresh you. They say by the time you wake up you'll feel so good, you'll be able to start looking for a new job. ~Jay Leno


...To rest at the noon hour and meditate love's ecstasy... ~Khalil Gibran, The Prophet, 1923


A bottle of wine
Still to be drunk,
A bundle of thoughts
Still to be thunk.
~Robert Brault, "Makings of a Perfect Afternoon," rbrault.blogspot.com


...the noon sun's gold... ~Muriel Strode (1875–1964)


Mornings smell and taste
like fresh, raw life;
Night reeks of dreams.
Afternoons are scentless,
save for tea & 3pm regret.
~Terri Guillemets


O for a summer noon, when light and breeze
Sport on the grass, like ripples o'er a lake
Alive with freshness! when the full round Sun,
With the Creator's smile upon his face,
Walks like a prince of glory through the path
Of Heaven!—Thou vast, and ever-glorious sky,
Mantling the earth with thy majestic robe...
~Robert Montgomery, "Beautiful Influences," A Universal Prayer; Death; A Vision of Heaven; and A Vision of Hell; &c. &c., 1829


Strong in its mood, the year's sunlighted noon
Of earth's wide solstice burns over the fields,
And in my brain and body...
~Arthur Davison Ficke, "A Prayer at the Summer Solstice"


But Fielding lived when the days were longer (for time, like money, is measured by our needs), when summer afternoons were spacious, and the clock ticked slowly in the winter evenings. ~George Eliot, Middlemarch, 1872


The afternoon pauses midway,
catches an hour drifting outward
on the arc of apexing air;
looks with red eyes of oleanders
as the scene composes itself;
sees the sharp saw of a mountain
stop the bending sky, purple flawed;
watches a dog follow another
among bushes undersown with stones
just the way his circuit was stamped;
feels vibrations escape from walls
loaded with light and dark of living;
hears the fortress of silence fractured
by the laughter of unseen children...
These the gifts of declining sun.
Distant off-sounds do not offend.
Rather they blend with the blood
that is here coursing casually.
The afternoon is measured to end,
and the messages to move nightward.
~Cave Outlaw (1900–1996), "Messages," Wind in the Bell Tower, 1980


I bring fresh showers for the thirsting flowers,
From the seas and the streams;
I bear light shade for the leaves when laid
In their noonday dreams...
~Percy Bysshe Shelley, "The Cloud"


Spend the afternoon. You can't take it with you. ~Annie Dillard, Pilgrim at Tinker Creek, 1974


O that moon last night!
No wonder everyone needs
an afternoon nap.
~Teitoku, translated by Harry Behn, 1971


In the stillness of the afternoon, when the heat of the vertical sun compels every one to repose... ~Paul du Chaillu (1831–1903)


The splendid forehead of the sun too soon...
Perishes in the burning heart of noon...
Too short the tryst the evening zephyrs keep
Beneath the silvern mantle of the moon...
~William K. Hill, "Human Love," 1920


...the glorious golden autumn when it was always afternoon and time stood still! ~Zane Grey, Wildfire, 1916


...Sunday afternoons drift into
gray nothingness
and the only sound is the
beating of wings
on the coming evening air...
time goes softly with the wind and
i am free to be myself...
~Ken Sekaquaptewa and Candy St. Jacques, Sahuaro, 1970, yearbook of the Associated Students of Arizona State University


This windy bright September afternoon,
My heart is wide awake, yet full of dreams...
~Charles George Douglas Roberts, "In September"


Silently the sweet September
Counts her heart-beats as they go;
And the afternoon shades linger,
Blushing to the sunset low...
~Sara L. Vickers Oberholtzer, "The Brooks Reception Poem," 1891


It was one of those perfect New York October afternoons, when the explosion of oranges and yellows against the bright blue sky makes you feel like your life is passing through your fingers, that you've felt this autumn-feeling before and you'll probably get to feel it again, but one day you won't anymore, because you'll be dead. ~Sarah Dunn, Secrets to Happiness, 2009


The air is warm and winey-sweet...
Wild grapes are ripening on the hill,
Dead leaves curl thickly at my feet...
There's a rich quietness of earth...
And like a cup, Today is filled
With the last wine the year shall pour.
~Marjorie Allen Seiffert, "October Afternoon," A Woman of Thirty, 1919


Down through the ancient Strand
The spirit of October, mild and boon
And sauntering, takes his way
This golden end of afternoon,
As though the corn stood yellow in all the land
And the ripe apples dropped to the harvest-moon.
~William Ernest Henley, "London Voluntaries," 1892


In winter there is no heat, no light, no noon, evening touches morning, there is fog, and mist, the window is frosted, and you cannot see clearly. The sky is but the mouth of a cave. The whole day is the cave... Frightful season! Winter changes into stone the water of heaven and the heart of man. ~Victor Hugo, Les Misérables: Fantine, translated by Chas. E. Wilbour


There's a certain Slant of light,
      Winter afternoons –
      That oppresses, like the Heft
      Of Cathedral Tunes –
Heavenly Hurt, it gives us –
      We can find no scar,
      But internal difference,
      Where the Meanings, are...
When it comes, the Landscape listens –
      Shadows – hold their breath –
      When it goes, 'tis like the Distance
      On the look of Death.
~Emily Dickinson, c.1861


It is... November. The noons are more laconic and the sundowns sterner... ~Emily Dickinson, letter to sister, c.1864


November woods are bare and still;
November days are clear and bright;
Each noon burns up the morning's chill;
The morning's snow is gone by night...
November woods are bare and still;
November days are bright and good;
Life's noon burns up life's morning chill;
Life's night rests feet which long have stood...
~Helen Fiske Hunt Jackson (1830–1885), "Down to Sleep."


Thirty days November hath,
Unfit for human living,
Including one Election Day,
And a hide-and-seek Thanksgiving.
An encouraging month November is
For burglary and mayhem;
It's night for most of the afternoon,
And P.M. most of the A.M.
There may be virtues in November,
But if there are I can't remember.
~Ogden Nash, "No, No, November," 1941


Day after day, for her, the sun
Drew semicircles smooth and high.
A week was seven domes across a desert,
And any afternoon took long to die—
Rounding the great curve downward not too fast,
Not falling; not a shadow ran away...
~Mark Van Doren, "The Difference," A Winter Diary And Other Poems, 1935


Beneath our feet a fairy pathway flows,
The grass still glitters in the summer breeze,
The dusky wood, and distant copse appear,
And that lone stream, upon whose chequer'd face
We mused, when noon-rays made the pebbles gleam,
Is mirror'd to the mind: though all around
Be rattling hoofs and roaring wheels, the eye
Is wand'ring where the heart delights to dwell.
~Robert Montgomery, "Beautiful Influences," A Universal Prayer; Death; A Vision of Heaven; and A Vision of Hell; &c. &c., 1829


With the bikes leaning up against a farm gate, we were sitting at the roadside munching apples. The scent of wild rose and honeysuckle filled the air and the sounds of summer were all around us. I felt absolutely in my right element. I was not just living through a summer's afternoon — I was part of it. ~Elizabeth West, "The simple life, on a pittance," Hovel in the Hills: An Account of 'The Simple Life', 1977


Time is an illusion, lunchtime doubly so. ~Douglas Adams, The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (radio), 1978


I think of you, dear, when the sunshine,
Maturing the day by its glow,
Mellows the afternoon breezes
That kiss and caress as they blow.
~W. Dayton Wegefarth (1885–1973), "When I Think of You," Smiles and Sighs, 1910


Mumbo jumbo, what have we here?
Why we have the longest day in the year.
This is the rarest day of June,
And it's weeks and weeks from dawn to noon...
Oh, man has need of all his strength
To survive a day of medium length;
What wonder, then, that man grows bitter
On a day that sits like a flagpole-sitter...
On farm and field, in office and park,
This is the day that won't get dark...
Mumbo jumbo, noon infernal,
This, my dears, is the day eternal.
~Ogden Nash (1902–1971), "Midsummer's Daymare"  [A little altered. Summer solstice. —tg]


I blinked. Time passed... Blink, and an hour would elapse. Blink again, and a whole afternoon might go by. It was as though someone were slicing at my internal calendar with a pair of scissors, removing time. ~Abby Geni, The Lightkeepers, 2016


Tell you what I like the best —
      'Long about knee-deep in June,
      'Bout the time strawberries melts
      On the vine,—some afternoon
Like to 'jes git out and rest,
      And not work at nothin' else!
~James Whitcomb Riley, "Knee-Deep in June"


Someone has somewhere commented on the fact that millions long for immortality who don't know what to do with themselves on a rainy Sunday afternoon. ~Susan Ertz, Anger in the Sky, 1943


For teen-agers, the after-school snack is as much an institution as the office coffee break... this may consist of such tastiness as a cheeseburger accompanied by the formal side dish of French fries garnished liberally with ketchup. When such a delicacy is followed by a soup tureen full of whipped cream, starvation can almost certainly be staved off until nearly suppertime. ~Gerald Raftery, "Ambrosia — with Mayonnaise Yet!," in The New York Herald Tribune, 1961 September 10th [a little altered –tg]


One spring gloomy young Francis Martin discovered that he was in love... Her name was Mary and... she was casting her locks about for him on those lovesick, heartsick afternoons which are nowhere sweeter than in high-school classrooms. ~Jack Kerouac, The Town & The City, 1950


There were well-charted routes by which one could get into and out of colleges, including the female colleges, after midnight. Actually, the rule in the women's colleges was that, after 7 p.m., all men are beasts. Up until 7 p.m. they were all angels, and the girls simply had to learn to live with that routine and practise love in the afternoon. ~Harry G. Johnson, "Cambridge in the 1950s," 1974


The desert, bleached dazzling white under an afternoon sun... it lay stark and unromantic, colorless in a blare of heat. ~Winifred Hawkridge Dixon, Westward Hoboes: Ups and Downs of Frontier Motoring, 1921


Noons are sunny, warm, and still;
A golden haze o'erhangs the hill;
Amber sunshine 's on the floor
Just within the open door;
      In September.
~Elizabeth Cole


A geometric
    focus of late afternoon
        bisects the book wall.
~Cave Outlaw (1900–1996)


...Broad o'er its imbricated cup
The Goatsbeard spreads its golden rays,
But shuts its cautious petals up,
Retreating from the noon-tide blaze...
~Charlotte Turner Smith (1749–1806), "The Horologe of the Fields"


...Silene, who declines
The garish noontide's blazing light;
But when the evening crescent shines,
Gives all her sweetness to the night....
~Charlotte Turner Smith (1749–1806), "The Horologe of the Fields"


I fear to think you are keeping to your room. Do not house. Take exercise in the open air every morning and afternoon. ~Kate Stephens, A Woman's Heart, 1906


It was evening all afternoon... ~Wallace Stevens (1879–1955), "Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird"


Winter dark comes early
mixing afternoon
and night...
~Lilian Moore, "Winter Dark," I Thought I Heard the City, 1969


Fate comes unswerving like a frightened horse
Sky-maddened on a white mid-afternoon.
Fate comes unseeing, and the blinded hooves
Drum a shrill thunder to a noteless tune
That dies into the forest, where an owl
Returns it to the midnight and the moon...
~Mark Van Doren, "Fate Comes Unswerving," 1933


At noon I feel as though I could devour all the elephants of Hindostan, and then pick my teeth with the spire of Strasburg cathedral; in the evening I become so sentimental that I would fain drink up the Milky Way without reflecting how indigestible I should find the little fixed stars, and by night there is the Devil himself broke loose in my head and no mistake. ~Heinrich Heine, "Ideas: Book Le Grand," 1826, translated from German by Charles Godfrey Leland, Pictures of Travel, 1855


massive rolling waves
of white-gray clouds
chase the warm afternoon
across a deep blue sky
~Terri Guillemets, "July 1st"


The morning cup of coffee has an exhilaration about it which the cheering influence of the afternoon or evening cup of tea cannot be expected to reproduce. ~Oliver Wendell Holmes, "Over the Teacups," 1890


Don't drink coffee in the morning. It will keep you awake until noon. ~Author unknown


Beer is the reason I get up every afternoon. ~Author unknown


Who hath once the fame of an early riser, may sleep till noon. ~French proverb


You can shout it to every star,
Bare your soul up to the moon,
Cast your problems nightly afar—
But they always flood back by noon.
~Terri Guillemets


Why can't Daylight Saving Time be used to move the clocks ahead to Friday afternoon around 4:00? ~Internet meme


This dead of midnight is the noon of thought,
And wisdom mounts her zenith with the stars.
~Anna Lætitia Aikin, "A Summer Evening's Meditation"


Off for a swim on an afternoon,—
The moments—why would they fly so soon!...
The rosy skies of our barefoot days
Lie hidden from view by a misty haze.
~Adelbert Farrington Caldwell (1867–1931), "The Barefoot Time"


That soft autumnal time...
Thou com'st to fill with hope the human heart,
And strengthen it to bear the storms awhile,
Till winter's frowns depart....
Far in a sheltered nook,
I've met, in these calm days, a smiling flower,
A lonely aster, trembling by a brook,
At the quiet noontides' hour:
And something told my mind
That, should old age to childhood call me back,
Some sunny days and flowers I still might find
Along life's weary track.
~John Howard Bryant (1807-1902), "The Indian Summer"


In this, the late afternoon of my life, I wonder: am I casting a longer shadow or is my shadow casting a shorter me? ~Robert Brault, rbrault.blogspot.com


Have you ever been out for a late autumn walk in the closing part of the afternoon, and suddenly looked up to realize that the leaves have practically all gone? You hadn't realized it. And you notice that the sun has set already, the day gone before you knew it — and with that a cold wind blows across the landscape. That's retirement. ~Stephen Leacock


How times and seasons are in concert! Spring is suggestive of morning, summer of noon, autumn of evening, and winter of night. ~Henry James Slack (1818–1896), The Ministry of the Beautiful, 1850


July is the high noon of the northern year... ~Hal Borland





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published 2015 Sept 23
revised 2023 Nov 11
last saved 2023 Dec 25
www.quotegarden.com/afternoon.html