The Quote Garden

 I dig old books.

 Est. 1998

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Quotations:  Carpe Diem

As you wait for better days, don't forget to enjoy today, in case they've already started. ~Robert Brault,

You sit here for days saying, This is strange business. You're the strange business. You have the energy of the sun in you, but you keep knotting it up at the base of your spine. ~Rumi, interpreted by John Moyne and Coleman Barks

Here's to him who makes the best
Of the goods before him spread.
For this world is what we make it, and
We're a deuce of a long time dead.
~"To the Optimist," Toasts for the Times in Pictures and Rhymes by John William Sargent, 1904

Too often too late comes too soon. ~Dr. SunWolf, 2015 tweet,

Life is short, God's way of encouraging a bit of focus. ~Robert Brault,

Don't be fooled by the calendar. There are only as many days in the years as you make use of. One man gets only a week's value out of a year while another man gets a full year's value out of a week. ~Charles Richards, 1930s

By Nature's Law, what may be, may be now;
There's no Prerogative in human Hours:
In human hearts what bolder Thought can rise,
Than man's Presumption on To-morrow's dawn?
Where is To-morrow? In another world...
~Edward Young, The Complaint: or, Night-Thoughts on Life, Death, & Immortality, Night the First, 1742

I think that God limited the human lifespan so that we couldn't just keep voting, "Present." ~Robert Brault,

For a long time it had seemed to me that life was about to begin — real life. But there was always some obstacle in the way. Something to be got through first, some unfinished business; time still to be served, a debt to be paid. Then life could begin. At last it had dawned on me that these obstacles were my life. I was always rolling these stones from my grave. ~Bette Howland, W-3, 1974

Every man dies. Not every man really lives. ~Randall Wallace, Braveheart, 1995

Why be saddled with this thing called life expectancy? Of what relevance to an individual is such a statistic? Am I to concern myself with an allotment of days I never had and was never promised? Must I check off each day of my life as if I am subtracting from this imaginary hoard? No, on the contrary, I will add each day of my life to my treasure of days lived. And with each day, my treasure will grow, not diminish. ~Robert Brault,

O, ask not what the morn will bring,
But count as gain each day that chance
May give you...
~Horace (65–8 BCE), translated by John Conington, 1882

Time! where didst thou those years inter
Which I have seene decease?...
~William Habington

Another day, another day,
And yet another, glides away!
Heroic plans in pleasure drown'd...
Thus, week by week, and day by day,
His life inglorious glides away...
~Walter Scott, The Bridal of Triermain, 1813

I still find each day too short for all the thoughts I want to think, all the walks I want to take, all the books I want to read, and all the friends I want to see. ~John Burroughs, 1913

I cannot live fast enough!
      For a swirl of rushing air
      Catches the red leaves from my feet
      And scatters them everywhere.
I cannot live fast enough!
      Look! those trees were green and are bare
      And over the cold horizon hills
      The winter sun-fires glare.
I have not lived fast enough!
      I must hurry, must run, must dare,
      There is time yet for a red leaf
      To tangle itself in my hair!
~Eda Lou Walton, "A Song," c.1919

Today is a most unusual day, because we have never lived it before; we will never live it again; it is the only day we have. ~William Arthur Ward (1921–1994)

This is your life, and it's ending one minute at a time. ~Chuck Palahniuk, Fight Club, 1996

Brother, Time is a thing how slight!
Day lifts and falls, and it is night.
Rome stands an hour, and the green leaf
Buds into being bright and brief.
For us, God has at least in store
One shining moment, less or more.
Seize, then, what mellow sun we may,
To light us in the darker day.
~Philip Henry Savage (1868–1899), Poems, 1898

      In what part of the universe are you, and what are you doing?... Nowhere is the sky so blue, the grass so green, the sunshine so bright, the shade so welcome, as right here, now, today. No other blue sky, nor bright sunshine, nor welcome exist for you. Other skies are bright to other men. They have been bright in the past and so will they be again, but yours are here and now.
      Today is your day and mine, the only day we have, the day in which we play our part. What our part may signify in the great whole we may not understand, but we are here to play it, and now is the time. This we know, it is a part of action, not of whining. It is a part of love, not cynicism. It is for us to express love in terms of human helpfulness. This we know, for we have learned from sad experience that any other course of life leads toward decay and waste.
      What, then, are you doing under these blue skies? The thing you do should be for you the most important thing in the world. If you could do something better than you are doing now, everything considered, why are you not doing it?
      If every one did the very best he knew, most of the problems of human life would be already settled... It does not matter if the greatest thing for you to do be not in itself great. The best preparation for greatness comes in doing faithfully the little things that lie nearest. ~David Starr Jordan, "The Meaning of Human Existence," 1899  [published in 1902 as "The Philosophy of Despair" and in 1907 as "The Philosophy of Hope," after the plates were destroyed in the San Francisco fire, "to be more cheerfully descriptive of the author's purpose" —tg]

Carefree to be, as a bird that sings;
To go my own sweet way;
To reck not at all what may befall,
But to live and to love each day.
~Robert W. Service (1874–1958), "A Rolling Stone," 1912

There is a bunch of things we mean to do, and life is the time we spend meaning to do them. ~Robert Brault,

Make the most of moments of serenity, which can be revoked at any time. ~Dr. SunWolf,

I try to treat each evening and weekend as little slices of retirement because no one is guaranteed a lengthy one at the end of their career. ~Mike Hammar

I wasted time, and now doth time waste me... ~William Shakespeare, Richard II, c.1595  [V, 5, King Richard II]

Only that day dawns to which we are awake. ~Henry David Thoreau

Life moves pretty fast — you don't stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it. ~John Hughes, Ferris Bueller's Day Off, 1986

We are always getting ready to live, but never living. ~Ralph Waldo Emerson

      "It seems, then, you are determined not to enjoy a cheerful quiet day until one can swear to you on the Gospel that no miserable, dark, cloudy day will follow it. In that case you can never enjoy one. What king and emperor even, had he thrones upon his head and crowns to sit on, can be assured that his post-day or diet-day will not bring him some cloud? and yet he enjoys his bright day... without further question, and thus rejoices in his life...."
      "I can prove the same thing to you in Greek and in print," said he; upon which he took down the Testament, and opening it, inserted the following passage, which he read off extempore. "If thou deferrest the heart's celebration of a period of bliss until another cometh, when all hopes of thy future years shall lie spread out before thee in unclouded sequence and beauty, then is there no joy conceivable upon our ever-changing sphere, for after ten days or ten years a sorrow shall surely come; and thus thou canst not take delight in a May-day, even though it were to rain blossoms and nightingales upon thee, since the winter shall most assuredly cover thee with its snowflakes and nights. But if thou wilt enjoy thy warm youth, not terrified by the ice-pit of old age, which awaits thee in the background, and in which, under an ever-increasing cold, thou wilt be preserved for a season, then look upon the glad to‑day as a long youth, and upon the sad to‑morrow as a short old age." ~Jean Paul Friedrich Richter (1763–1825), Flower, Fruit, and Thorn Pieces: or, The Married Life, Death, and Wedding of The Advocate of the Poor, Firmian Stanislaus Siebenkäs, 1796, translated from the German by Edward Henry Noel, 1845

It's funny how life can get away from you even while you're still living it. ~Joseph Kita, "The Key to Happiness," Wisdom of Our Fathers, 1999

The stars are aflare and the moon is white,
      And the wind blows over the grass!
      Light is my youth and my feet are light,
      And swift are the years that pass.
Come, all maidens, and bind your hands
      About your heads of gold.
      Swiften your feet and trip the sands
      Before the world grows old...
Come, while the life of you lifts in the day,
      And laughter through you slips.
      Supple and sweet is the leaping clay,
      From the feet to the fingertips!...
A shadow lurks in the Milky Way,
      And behind the moon is Death.
      Dance, oh dance, till the night is grey,
      And the dew is a shuddering breath!...
~Julia Cooley Altrocchi (1893–1972), "Dance of Youth," The Dance of Youth and Other Poems, 1917

One can make a day of any size... ~John Muir, August 1875  [I love how this sounds like it could so beautifully apply to the "carpe diem" concept which is why I placed it on this page, but a note of context here: This is actually about hours of light in a day, "The glories of a mountain campfire are far greater than may be guessed.... One can make a day of any size, and regulate the rising and setting of his own sun and the brightness of its shining." —tεᖇᖇ¡·g]

A simple definition of life: The chance you've been waiting for. ~Robert Brault,

If you spend your life waiting for your chance, you are spending your chance waiting. ~Robert Brault,

At thirty man suspects himself a Fool;
Knows it at forty, and reforms his Plan;
At fifty chides his infamous Delay,
Pushes his prudent Purpose to Resolve;
In all the magnanimity of Thought
Resolves; and re-resolves: then dies the same.
~Edward Young, The Complaint: or, Night-Thoughts on Life, Death, & Immortality, Night the First, 1742

The days tick by, as busy, as fleeting, as full of empty gestures as a moving picture film. We crowd old age upon ourselves and run out to embrace it, for age is not measured by number of days but by the exhaustion of each day. Twenty days lived at slow pulse, in harmony with earth's loveliness, are longer than two hundred crowded with feverish appointments and disappointments. Many a man has lived fifty or sixty hectic years and never yet learned the unreckonable endlessness of one day's loitering, measured only by the gracious turning of earth and sun. ~Christopher Morley (1890–1957), "A Slice of Sunlight," Travels in Philadelphia, 1920

You say you know how precious time is, and do not wish to lose it. Do you not know that to employ it badly is to waste it still more...? ~Jean Jacques Rousseau, "Concerning the Memory," Émile: or, Concerning Education, 1762, translated by Eleanor Worthington, 1886

The more side roads you stop to explore, the less likely that life will pass you by. ~Robert Brault,

Doesn't everything die at last, and too soon?
Tell me, what is it you plan to do
with your one wild and precious life?
~Mary Oliver, "The Summer Day," House of Light, 1990,

Every day of our lives we are on the verge of making those slight changes that would make all the difference. ~Mignon McLaughlin, The Neurotic's Notebook, 1963

What to do with your one life? The same thing you would do if you had two lives, and this were the second. ~Robert Brault,

Use your health, even to the point of wearing it out. That is what it is for. Spend all you have before you die; and do not outlive yourself. ~Bernard Shaw (1856–1950)

Time is like the wind
That comes in the morning
With a barely palpable caress of the cheek
Rising to a comfortable caress
In its measured passage of the day
Until it rises a sudden gale
Revealing the irrevocability of its power
Trembling our browning leaves
And blowing them to our finality.
~Phillip Pulfrey, from Beyond Me,

If life has those moments — ecstasies of health, youth and peace... — treasure them. ~Byron Caldwell Smith (1849–1877), letter to Kate Stephens (1853–1938)

Not to live for the day — that would be materialistic — but to treasure the day. ~Audrey Hepburn (1929–1993)

Each day is an opportunity to travel back into tomorrow's past and change it. ~Robert Brault,

I want to live each day for itself like a string of colored beads, and not kill the present by cutting it up in cruel little snippets to fit some desperate architectural draft for a taj mahal in the future. ~Sylvia Plath, 1955

You'll wake up
in the
one day
it will all
— this life —
be over!...
~Alice Walker, from "The Taste of Grudge," Hard Times Require Furious Dancing, 2010

Who has never killed an hour? Not casually or without thought, but carefully: a premeditated murder of minutes. The violence comes from a combination of giving up, not caring, and a resignation that getting past it is all you can hope to accomplish. So you kill the hour. You do not work, you do not read, you do not daydream. If you sleep it is not because you need to sleep. And when at least it is over, there is no evidence: no weapon, no blood, and no body. The only clue might be the shadows beneath your eyes or a terribly thin line near the corner of your mouth indicating something has been suffered, that in the privacy of your life you have lost something and the loss is too empty to share. ~Mark Z. Danielewski, House of Leaves

I admire the man who exclaimed, "I have lost a day!" because he had neglected to do any good in the course of it.... ~Author unknown, "Flowers of Literature," 1803

The problem with putting off things you've always wanted to do is that eventually you run out of always. ~Robert Brault,

You know, this is the kind of thing that makes you take a hard look at your life... Did I live the best one that I could? Did I carpe my diem? ~Mike & Molly, "Near Death Do Us Part," 2015, teleplay by Aaron Vaccaro, Marla DuMont, and Julie Bean  [S5, E21, Carl]

Death is at the end of everyone's map. But Life is the capital, and you are here — and now. ~Terri Guillemets, "You Are Here," 2003

Time is painted with wings, and is bald behinde; should we not fear, and catch Time by the forelock? ~Nathanael Vincent, 1670s

But this must be the work of Time, we must lay hold on all Opportunities, and let slip no Occasion, else we shall be forced to weave Penelope's Web, unravel in the Night what we did in the Day. And therefore I have observed that Time is Painted with a Lock before, and Bald behind, signifying thereby that we must take Time (as we say) by the Forelock, for when 'tis once past, there is no recalling it. ~Jonathan Swift, "A Tritical Essay upon the Faculties of the Mind," 1707 August 6th

If the wise "take time by the forelock," the foolish must by the tail. ~James Lendall Basford (1845–1915), Sparks from the Philosopher's Stone, 1882

It seems no more than right that men should seize time by the forelock, for the rude old fellow, sooner or later, pulls all their hair out. ~George Denison Prentice, Prenticeana; Or, Wit and Humor in Paragraphs, 1859

Old Time the clock-setter, that bald sexton Time. ~William Shakespeare, King John, c.1596  [III, 1, Philip the Bastard]

But on Occasion's forelock watchful wait. ~John Milton, Paradise Regain'd, 1671

Cowards die many times before their deaths;
The valiant never taste of death but once.
~William Shakespeare, Julius Caesar, c.1599  [II, 2, Caesar]

There was George, throwing away in hideous sloth the inestimable gift of time; his valuable life, every second of which he would have to account for hereafter, passing away from him, unused.... sprawling there, sunk in soul-clogging oblivion. ~Jerome K. Jerome, Three Men in a Boat (To Say Nothing of the Dog), 1889

If you could travel back in time to the present moment, what would you do differently? ~Robert Brault,

Alive or dead or only vegetating... ~Adolf Wolff (1883–1944), "To Live or Not to Live," Songs, Sighs and Curses, 1913

Today is the first day I am not dead... And we're having a party. ~Garth Stein, The Art of Racing in the Rain, 2008

That it will never come again
Is what makes life so sweet...
~Emily Dickinson

Expect an early death — it will keep you busier. ~Martin H. Fischer

Waiting for the fish to bite
or waiting for wind to fly a kite
or waiting around for Friday night
or waiting, perhaps, for their Uncle Jake
or a pot to boil, or a Better Break
or a string of pearls, or a pair of pants
or a wig with curls, or Another Chance.
Everyone is just waiting...
~Dr. Seuss, Oh, the Places You'll Go!, 1990

Eventually you realize that your whole life up to now has been preparation, and you begin to suspect that the rest might be preparation, too. ~Robert Brault,

The time you think you're missing misses you too. ~Terri Guillemets

Let us endeavor so to live that when we come to die even the undertaker will be sorry. ~Mark Twain

Every day should be passed as if it were to be our last. ~Publilius Syrus, 1st century BCE, from the Latin by D. Lyman, 1856

If a butterfly lands on your shoulder, don't wait until later to enjoy it. ~Terri Guillemets

Yiipppeeee! It's a new day. A special day. It's today! ~Terri Guillemets

I ask of life happiness in the little moments, because those little moments pass so quickly, just as life does. ~Jess Santos, @teenage_faces, January 2012 entry to The Quote Garden create your own quote contest on Twitter, @quotegarden

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