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Quotations about Time

Time, the tragedian, rarely forgets his lines. ~Minna Thomas Antrim (1861–1950), Phases, Mazes, and Crazes of Love, 1904

Time kept passing without my consent. ~Abby Geni, The Wildlands, 2018

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

Never waste anything, but, above all, never waste time. ~John Lubbock, "Industry," The Use of Life, 1894

The clock strikes one that just struck two –
Some schism in the sum;
A sorcerer from Genesis
Has wrecked the pendulum.
~Emily Dickinson, 1883

      “Remember what I told you about time,” the skull said. “When I was alive, I believed — as you do — that time was at least as real and solid as myself, and probably more so. I said ‘one o’clock’ as though I could see it, and ‘Monday’ as though I could find it on the map; and I let myself be hurried along from minute to minute, day to day, year to year, as though I were actually moving from one place to another. Like everyone else, I lived in a house bricked up with seconds and minutes, weekends and New Year’s Days, and I never went outside until I died, because there was no other door.”
      “The clock will never strike the right... the important thing is for you to understand that it doesn’t matter whether the clock strikes ten next, or seven, or fifteen o’clock. You can strike your own time, and start the count anywhere. Then you understand that — then any time at all will be the right time for you.” ~Peter S. Beagle, The Last Unicorn, 1968

The brief cycles of centuries are as a breath in the workings of the Infinite. ~Marie Corelli (Mary Mills Mackay), A Romance of Two Worlds, 1886

Little clock, little clock
      Full of such pretense
Whither going? Whither going?
Very sly, very sly,
      So impatient too,
As if every single day
      Were something new.
Gay deceit—gay deceit,
      Time is oh so old,
'Tis a story—and you know it—
      Often told, often told.
~George Elliston, "Pretense," Through Many Windows, 1924

I have seen a flower blooming in beauty in a secluded vale, and, ere I had a chance to look again, a chilly breath of air had scattered its petals and left it a ruin. ~Charles Lanman, "Musings," 1840

Onward I move, at one with flying Time...
And if too soon I find the hour grown late,
Too soon Time moves without me, hesitate
Or pause, I cannot: I am part of all...
~John Gould Fletcher, "Time and Poet"

The passing of our hand-breadth of years, a century, is but a heart-beat of the universe. In that pulse of the infinite heart your life is sustained and vanished. ~Rev. James Henry Ecob, D.D. (1844–1921), "The Gospel for the Twentieth Century," 1901

Since I wrote you last, the summer is past and gone, and autumn with the sere and yellow leaf is already upon us. I never knew the time to pass so swiftly, it seems to me, as the past summer. I really think some one must have oiled his chariot wheels, for I don't recollect of hearing him pass, and I am sure I should if something had not prevented his chariot wheels from creaking as usual. ~Emily Dickinson, 1845

Being is not yesterday,
not tomorrow, but today,
which is the fruit of all past,
the seed and soil of future.
~Cave Outlaw (1900–1996), "Meaning in Being," Wind in the Bell Tower, 1980

Have regular hours for work and play; make each day both useful and pleasant, and prove that you understand the worth of time by employing it well. Then youth will be delightful, old age will bring few regrets, and life will become a beautiful success... ~Louisa May Alcott, Little Women, 1868

Because Father said clocks slay time. He said time is dead as long as it is being clicked off by little wheels; only when the clock stops does time come to life. ~William Faulkner, The Sound and the Fury, 1929

As if you could kill time without injuring eternity. ~Henry David Thoreau, "Economy," Walden, 1854

Youth is a budd
Life is a flower
Springs in a moment
Dyes in an hour
Time is as sand
Flesh is as glass
Sand quick is run
Life soon doth pass
~Author unknown

Sometimes I feel that life is passing me by, not slowly either, but with ropes of steam and spark-spattered wheels and a hoarse roar of power or terror. It's passing, yet I'm the one who is doing all the moving. I'm not the station, I'm not the stop; I'm the train. I'm the train. ~Martin Amis, Money, 1984

The clock ticked on with that judicial intonation characteristic of time-pieces that measure sacred time and wasted opportunities. ~Edward Bellamy, Dr. Heidenhoff's Process, 1880

Time, hurries swiftly on,
Each fleeting year seems shorter than the last,
And many hopes which cheered its opening dawn,
Are buried with the past.
~Mary Ann H. Dodd Shutts (1813–1878), "Passing Time"

Time is the only one of life's resources that when it's all spent, you wish you had spent more of it foolishly. ~Robert Brault,

Humankind has always kept track of time so that we would be able to live in attunement with it. And that is exactly what we have lost. The more we adjust the artificial framework we have constructed for the counting of time, the more we lose our visceral, physical, emotional, sensual, and spiritual understanding of it. Our primal, personal participation in its process. ~Donna Henes, "Telling Time: Leap Year," Celestially Auspicious Occasions: Seasons, Cycles & Celebrations, 1996

I grow impatient of the march of days.
In stupid single file they walk along,
Sick old women with indomitable wills,
Saying, "I must go on."
And they all do.
Sometimes I think I'd like to get in back of the line,
And kick the last one, hard...
Unfortunately, there is no last.
Instead, I walk along with each one in turn,
Never finding a beginning,
Or an end.
~Rose-Marie Harris, "Dragging Mood," in College Verse, November 1931

Days are stringed instruments and every one strikes a different note. ~Kenneth Alfred Evelyn Alexander (c.1890–1953), "The I.O.U.'s Have It," in The New Zealand Railways Magazine, 1931 June 1st

The present: a point so intangible that, even as we name it, it unnames itself. ~Charles Searle, Look Here!, 1885

So slipped those lovely, shadowy years,
As slips a wandering wind one hears
Among the trees; a sudden stir
Of startled leaves; upon the floor
Of moss and flowers, a tangled sheen
Of light and shade, and then, between
Your breaths, 'tis gone...
~Rev. James H. Ecob, "The Dreamer and Reaper," 1889

[W]hen you are nine years old, what you remember seems forever; for you remember everything and everything is important and stands big and full and fills up Time and is so solid that you can walk around and around it like a tree and look at it. You are aware that time passes, that there is a movement in time, but that is not what Time is. Time is not a movement, a flowing, a wind then, but it is, rather, a kind of climate in which things are, and when a thing happens it begins to live and keeps on living and stands solid in Time like the tree that you can walk around. And if there is a movement, the movement is not Time itself, any more than a breeze is climate, and all the breeze does is to shake a little the leaves on the tree which is alive and solid. ~Robert Penn Warren (1905–1989), "Blackberry Winter," 1946

Days — The pages in the book of life. ~Charles Searle, Look Here!, 1885

I said I did not have time, but to what did I give the time, and was it a fair exchange? ~Muriel Strode (1875–1964), My Little Book of Life, 1912

I seemed to have lived a long time since that day. ~Richard Hengist Horne, Memoirs of a London Doll, Written by Herself. Edited by Mrs. Fairstar, 1846

...days become the turning years... ~Hal Borland, dedication to Barbara, Hal Borland's Book of Days, 1976

I don't worry about the world coming to an end any more… The way I figure it, the world can't come to an end today because it is already tomorrow in some other part of the world! ~Charles M. Schulz, Peanuts, 1964  [Lucy to Charlie Brown —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

The worst spendthrift is the man who wastes time. ~"Poor Richard Junior's Philosophy," The Saturday Evening Post, 1903, George Horace Lorimer, editor

Old Father Time still is in haste, he makes his long legs whiz; he seems to have no hour to waste, though ages all are his. His eager stride he never slows, he never rests or stops, he breaks all speed laws as he goes, and laughs at traffic cops. He swings the seasons round so fast there is no pause betwixt, and summer heat and winter blast are sometimes badly mixed... Oh, Father Time, what is the rush? Is time too good to last? Lie down and rest—be quiet—hush! You make us old too fast! ~Walt Mason (1862–1939), "Fleeing Time"

People who would never trespass on your property will trespass on your time, as if your time were not your property. ~Robert Brault,

He who robs you of your time steals your greatest treasure. ~James Lendall Basford (1845–1915), Sparks from the Philosopher's Stone, 1882

I said, "It is desolation; it is neither seed-time nor harvest," but the ground lay fallow. I complained, "It is ebb-tide; I drift in the moonless narrows," but another hour, a rift of illumination and flood-tide, and I swept out to the high seas. ~Muriel Strode (1875–1964), My Little Book of Prayer, 1904

To-morrow, and to-morrow, and to-morrow,
Creeps in this petty pace from day to day
To the last syllable of recorded time...
~William Shakespeare, Macbeth, c.1605  [V, 5, Macbeth]

Days are either days or daze according to the temper of the tempter. To the tempestuous, every day is different from every other day, and no day is a mere stitch in Time. ~Kenneth Alfred Evelyn Alexander (c.1890–1953), "The One-Way Mind," in The New Zealand Railways Magazine, 1931 June 1st

Here's to the Clock!
Whose hands, we pray heaven,
When we come home at three,
Have stopped at eleven!
~Oliver Herford, "To The Clock," Happy Days, illustrated by John Cecil Clay, 1917

The hour-glass is a reminder not only of Time's quick flight, but concurrently also of the dust to which we shall at last return. ~Georg Christoph Lichtenberg (1742–1799), translated by Norman Alliston, 1908

If Summer on the ladder lingers,
Autumn tramples upon her fingers,
Fleeing before the jostling train
Of Winter, and Spring, and Summer again.
Year swallows year and licks its lips,
Then down the gullet of next year slips.
~Ogden Nash (1902–1971), "Time Marches On"

Oh, it was better not to be accustomed to clocks, better to know only the dawn's blending with the sunrise and the day's slow sinking into dark! Then one might pass smoothly into the largeness of eternity. ~Cid Ricketts Sumner, Tammy Out of Time, 1958

Merciless surge of time, who on thy tide has strewed us?
Why are we scattered in scenes of Earth?
~James Oppenheim, "Golden Death," War and Laughter, 1916

The flower that you hold in your hands was born today and already it is as old as you are. ~Antonio Porchia (1886–1968), Voces, 1943–1966, translated from the Spanish by W.S. Merwin (1927–2019), c.1968

They played games, finishing in the greatest gale of delight with one invented by the Shaker girls, where the children were all named after days of the week, and were stolen by a beggar, one after another, while their mother was watching the porridge. ~Amanda B. Harris, "Some Little Shakers," in Young People's New Pictorial Library of Poetry and Prose, 1888  [a little altered —tεᖇᖇ¡·g]

Budget your time and you will enrich your hours. ~William Arthur Ward, For This One Hour, 1969

Time is a game played beautifully by children. ~Heraclitus of Ephesus

Heraclitus is the first thinker to anticipate our modern philosophy of Time — the first to feel the Zenonian arrow at rest in the wound of every instant... for the man who sees in everything the transforming element is essentially a prophet, and experiences the fiery element of Change as it were a vulture in his own liver — his 'character', and not outward circumstance, is his 'destiny'. ~Percival Arland Ussher (1899-1980), "Heraclitus," Sages & Schoolmen, 1967

Time, the Heraclitean river — so painfully real to the heart, so unseizable for the brain. ~Percival Arland Ussher (1899-1980), "Augustine," Sages & Schoolmen, 1967

Time... the name we give to our petty portion of Eternity... ~Coulson Kernahan, A Dead Man's Diary, 1890

I pondered long the book of suffering, till Time stood before me saying, "There is a quicker way," and he thrust his flaming brand against my breast. ~Muriel Strode (1875–1964), My Little Book of Prayer, 1904

Time is the school in which we learn,
Time is the fire in which we burn.
~Delmore Schwartz

I am one of those lazy-butt loners who can poke my way through a day and never feel a second has been wasted. ~Tom Hanks, "Three Exhausting Weeks," Uncommon Type: Some Stories, 2017

For disappearing acts, it's hard to beat what happens to the eight hours supposedly left after eight of sleep and eight of work. ~Doug Larson, United Feature Syndicate, as quoted in The Reader's Digest, 1995

Today was very full, but the problem isn't today. It's tomorrow. I'd be able to recover from today if it weren't for tomorrow. There should be extra days, buffer days, between the real days. ~Sarah Manguso, Ongoingness: The End of a Diary, 2015

What need has he of clocks who knows
When highest peaks are gilt and rose
Day has begun...
What need of hours for whom
The mountain shadow marks the noon...
What use has he for calendars
Who notes the yellowing junipers
Grow suddenly taut and bright...
Or who plants his corn when the scrub oak leaf
Is little and furred like a mouse's ear,
And when blue butterflies appear
Lays it by for the year?
Let me be one who never cares
A fig for clocks and calendars,
But with never a hurry and scarcely a fear
Lives by the signs of the day and the year.
~Mary Hunter Austin (1868–1934), "Clocks and Calendars"

Today:  Yesterday shaking hands with tomorrow. ~Alfred Stieglitz, as quoted in Leonard Louis Levinson, Webster's Unafraid Dictionary, 1967

I have been looking into schedules. Even when we read physics, we inquire of each least particle, What then shall I do this morning? How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives. What we do with this hour, and that one, is what we are doing. A schedule defends from chaos and whim. It is a net for catching days. It is a scaffolding on which a worker can stand and labor with both hands at sections of time. ~Annie Dillard, The Writing Life, 1989

Time goes, you say? Ah no!
Alas, Time stays, we go;
Or else, were this not so,
What need to chain the hours,
For Youth were always ours?...
We pass landscapes, and think we see
The earth's fixed surface flee:—
Time goes, you say?—ah no!
Alas, Time stays,—we go!
~Austin Dobson, "The Paradox of Time," 1875  ["A Variation on Ronsard." A little altered. —tg]

But what minutes! Count them by sensation and not by calendars, and each moment is a day and the race a life. ~Benjamin Disraeli, Sybil, 1845

My world has no time except the seasons and the perspectives of youth and old age. ~Tom Brown, Jr.

Time, the scrivener of the ages,
      Slowly writes, indelibly,
Turns immutably the pages
      Of the planet's history;
Writing with the pen of centuries
      Words for ages yet to be;
Writing slowly, ever surely,
      On the earth her destiny...
~Sara L. Vickers Oberholtzer, "Time's Unfinished Volume," 1880

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

Only the fragrance of a fleeting hour
Breathing its bloom of beauty unaware,
Leaving no length of weighty words to bear…
Only the fugitive hour of a flower.
~Cave Outlaw (1900–1996), "Dedication," Fugitive Hour, 1950

An ounce of to-morrow is worth a pound of yesterday. ~"Poor Richard Junior's Philosophy," The Saturday Evening Post, 1906, George Horace Lorimer, editor

Human life is but a schoolday of eternity. ~James Lendall Basford (1845–1915), Sparks from the Philosopher's Stone, 1882

Man, however, seems to be the only living thing that gets tangled in time. The trees never fall behind, nor does the grass... Maybe they have better clocks than man has ever made. Or maybe they get along better by not depending on such contrivances as man has devised to split the days into hours and the hours into minutes and seconds. I sometimes wonder just what advantage man ever gained by tying himself to a little machine that goes tick, tick, tick and counts one, two, three up to twelve and then starts all over again. ~Hal Borland

minutes bloom
hours flower
seconds vine
through the hands
of time —
days hustle
weeks speed
decades scatter
in confetti’d years
~Terri Guillemets

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

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

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

Time — the abundance of now. ~Terri Guillemets, "It's all here," 2019, blackout poetry created from Cliff McNish, The Scent of Magic, 2001, pages 37–39

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

The time machine I dream of would not merely travel backward and forward. It would have a button for lingering in the moment. ~Robert Brault,

...'T strikes! One, Two...
Three, Four, Five, Six. Enough, enough, dear Watch,
Thy Pulse hath beat enough. Now sleep and rest;
Would thou could'st make the Time to do so too:
I'll wind thee up no more...
~Ben Jonson, The Staple of News, 1631

Darn the wheel of the world! Why must it continually turn over? Where is the reverse gear? ~Jack London

...the round, white, foolish face of the clock... ~May Sinclair, "Disjecta Membra Poetæ," The Divine Fire, 1904

I am the bore-worm of time, hewing down the years with the slow incisors of me.
Eons yield to my insistence. I eat at their roots until time topples at my slow devouring.
~Muriel Strode (1875–1964), "Songs of the Strong: XIV," A Soul's Faring, 1921

There is no first or last in Forever. It is Centre there all the time. ~Emily Dickinson

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. You do not know how much you suffer in those critical maladies of the heart, until the disease is over and you look back on it afterwards. During the time, the suffering is at least sufferable. The day passes in more or less of pain, and the night wears away somehow. ~William Makepeace Thackeray, Henry Esmond, Esq., 1852

Say a long time
That is nearer –
Is no time –
~Madeleine Olnek, Wild Nights with Emily (film), 2018

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

We of the tribe of the unquiet heart,
We fight each day against the turns of chance;
The overwhelming tide of trivial things
That eat away the hours. The flying hours
That should be full of all life has to give.
~Jean Wright, "The Unquiet Heart"

The clock talked loud, I threw it away, it scared me what it talked. ~Tillie Olsen, "Help Her to Believe," 1956

The pendulum swings from one year to the next... ~Sarah Perry, The Essex Serpent, 2016

There is nothing which the lapse of time will not either extinguish or improve. ~Publilius Syrus, 1st century BCE, from the Latin by D. Lyman, 1856

God, planting Eden,
Dropped a seed
Within Time's neighbor plot
That grew to be
This hour?
~Mary Carolyn Davies, "Songs of a Girl: XXI," Youth Riding, 1919

If there is a first rule in the management of time, it is always to keep a spare moment in your hip pocket. ~Robert Brault,

O lonely, lonely sky and sea—
Where time is a wind that plays between,
Blowing the colored centuries by,
Tiny tragedies, quaint and mean—
~Marjorie Meeker, "Lonely Sky and Sea," c.1921

Since yesterday a hundred years have gone. ~Mark Van Doren, "A Winter Diary," A Winter Diary And Other Poems, 1935

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. —tεᖇᖇ¡·g]

And there is nothing more surly
Than a watchless man who doesn't know whether he is late or early...
~Ogden Nash (1902–1971), "I Had No Idea It Was So Late"

And anyhow a clock is only something that you compare with your watch and find the clock is several minutes wrong. ~Ogden Nash (1902–1971), "I Had No Idea It Was So Late"

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,

I ride the wind, the wild horses of the world, the unreined forces.
We are the fleet coursers, outbreasting the ages and immensity.
Time recedes, and we are neck and neck with tomorrow. We are gaited to life's unendingness.
~Muriel Strode (1875–1964), "Songs of Life-Freedom: X," A Soul's Faring, 1921  [a little altered —tεᖇᖇ¡·g]

Time — that which reveals all lies, revises all forecasts and renders inadequate all excuses. ~Robert Brault,

Forget that second-ticking clock. Time is the seed
Waiting to fly from the milkweed pod. Time is the speed
Of a dragonfly. Time is the weight of the ripened nut
Eager to fall. Time is the rabbit's desperate scut.
Time's dimensions are hidden in rocks,
In wind and rain, but never in clocks.
~Hal Borland, 1971

NO TIME LIKE THE PRESENT AND NO PRESENT LIKE THE TIME  ~Robert H. Ingersoll & Bros., advertisement for Ingersoll watches, in Pearson's Magazine, 1903

      "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!—tεᖇᖇ¡·g]

Time's pace is always either too fast or too slow to please us. ~Charles Searle, Look Here!, 1885

Old Time, in whose bank 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, "Our Banker," 1874

My evenings are very precious to me, and some of them are unavoidably thrown away in paying or receiving visits, or in writing letters of business, and therefore I prize the rest as if the sands of the hour-glass were gold or diamond dust. ~Nathaniel Hawthorne

And once again the flying seconds multiplied themselves endlessly. ~Bram Stoker, The Jewel of Seven Stars, 1903

To carve out dials quaintly, point by point,
Thereby to see the minutes how they run,
How many make the hour full complete;
How many hours bring about the day;
How many days will finish up the year;
How many years a mortal man may live.
~William Shakespeare, Henry VI, Part III, c.1590  [II, 5, Henry VI]

And man watches his ingenious clock and his makeshift calendar and ticks off the days, wondering where time goes. Cherishing life, metering it out for himself in bits and pieces, hoping thus to control it. ~Hal Borland

moments drift like smoke
disappearing while you sleep
      tick, tick, tick
      tick, tick, tick
~Terri Guillemets, "Drifter," 2019, blackout poetry created from Maud Casey, The Man Who Walked Away, 2014, pages 106–109

CALENDARS  An Insurance Agent's annual attempt at crowding Father Time to the wall. ~Charles Wayland Towne, The Altogether New Foolish Dictionary, by Gideon Wurdz, 1914

The days, the days, the swift, mute days
That fly across our fitful ways,
That bear us through the tangled maze
We call our life, — the days! the days!
~Mary Clemmer (1831–1884), "The Days"

Nothing lasts forever, although you can seriously underestimate how long it will last in the meantime. ~Robert Brault,, "Thoughts While Waiting For My Stimulus Check," 2020

...for time is the longest distance between two places. ~Tennessee Williams, The Glass Menagerie, 1944

As the months fly over in wedges
And the wild geese come to the silver sedges...
~Frances M. Frost, "Possessed," Blue Harvest, 1931

You seem a long way off, I say — and yet it is but an instant, and you will be here. Do you know that feeling, I wonder (so characteristic of our city) that a man has in an elevator bound (let us say) for the eighteenth floor? He sees 5 and 6 and 7 flit by, and he wonders how he can ever live through the interminable time that must elapse before he will get to his stopping place and be about the task of the moment. It is only a few seconds, but his mind can evolve a whole honeycomb of mysteries in that flash of dragging time. Then the door slides open before him and that instantaneous eternity is gone; he is in a new era... Before we have time to turn three times in our chairs, we shall be the grandparents and you will be smiling at our old-fashioned sentiments. ~Christopher Morley, "To a New Yorker a Hundred Years Hence," 1921

Time isn't your master, you are. ~Mike Dolan, @HawaiianLife, tweet, 2015

My profession is business. My writing is an incident. "Frenzied Finance" was set down during the twenty-fifth and twenty-sixth hours of busy days. ~Thomas W. Lawson, "To My Audience: Saints, Sinners, and In-Betweens," Frenzied Finance, 1905

We men who have just set foot upon this century need not run this way and that, crying Lo! here and Lo! there, like explorers in a strange land. Life has not changed its constitutional habit to suit our almanac. The world will not suspend or change its cosmic way of doing things because we have begun to say twenty instead of nineteen. ~Rev. James Henry Ecob, D.D. (1844–1921), "The Gospel for the Twentieth Century," 1901

I learned about clocks
when I was quite little.
I was half past four.
Now I'm five.
~Harry Behn, All Kinds of Time, 1950

Time is but the stream I go a-fishing in. I drink at it; but while I drink I see the sandy bottom and detect how shallow it is. Its thin current slides away, but eternity remains. I would drink deeper; fish in the sky, whose bottom is pebbly with stars. ~Henry David Thoreau, "Where I Lived, and What I Lived For," Walden, 1854

Although a year has passed
And dragged us where we are...
~Cave Outlaw (1900–1996), "In the Solemn Silence," Each Day, 1942

Well, as you can see we're still having tea. It's all because I was obliged to kill Time waiting for your return. You're terribly late, you know — naughty. Well anyway, Time became quite offended and stopped altogether. Not a tick ever since. ~Alice in Wonderland, 2010, screenplay by Linda Woolverton, inspired by Lewis Carroll novels from the mid-1800s  [Hatter –tg]

Shun such as lounge through afternoons and eves,
And on thy dial write "Beware of thieves!"
Felon of minutes, never taught to feel
The worth of treasures which thy fingers steal,
Pick my left pocket of its silver dime,
But spare the right, — it holds my golden time!
~Oliver Wendell Holmes, "Urania: A Rhymed Lesson," 1846

DAY, n.  A period of twenty-four hours, mostly misspent. This period is divided into two parts, the day proper and the night, or day improper — the former devoted to sins of business, the latter consecrated to the other sort. The two kinds of social activity overlap. ~Ambrose Bierce, The Cynic's Word Book, 1906

As rolling rivers never cease
To pour their currents in the sea,
So years succeeding years increase
The ocean of eternity.
~Edward George Kent, 1860

In our appetite for life we feast again on past feelings and dream of those yet to come. Confined strictly to the present, the soul is stifled, the world is too small for it. ~Gustave Flaubert, letter to his wife Louise Colet, 1846

And the old church tower, so close at hand,
      Holds a clanging and busy bell
That warns my heedless ears of the hours,
      —But it says that I waste 'em well.
~Jean Wright, "A Fool on a Roof: Et in Arcadia Ego"

Much may be done in those little shreds and patches of time, which every day produces, and which most men throw away, but which nevertheless will make at the end of it, no small deduction from the little life of man. Cicero has termed them intercisiva tempora, and the ancients were not ignorant of their value; nay, it was not unusual with them either to compose or to dictate, while under the operation of rubbing after the bath. ~Charles Caleb Colton

Time is making fools of us again. ~J.K. Rowling, "The Secret Riddle," Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, 2005  [Albus Dumbledore —tg]

Wait for me, Life: Don't go so fast:
There is so much I want to see:
Look, Life, we passed
Another little child like me.
Why must we always hurry so?
I want to stop and say "Hello."
~Mary Carolyn Davies, "Moments: I: Loiterer," Youth Riding, 1919

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. Time is the measurer of all things, but is itself immeasurable... Like space, it is incomprehensible, because it has no limit, and it would be still more so if it had... It... advances like the slowest tide but retreats like the swiftest torrent... and, by appearing to take nothing, is permitted to take all; nor can it be satisfied, unless it has stolen the world from us and us from the world... Time the cradle of hope, but the grave of ambition... 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 a figure eight, at its center the city of Déjà vu. ~Robert Brault,

I am the ages, with infinity stretched between my shores. ~Muriel Strode (1875–1964), "Songs of the Strong: VI," A Soul's Faring, 1921

The Ateneo was — and remains — one of the many places in Barcelona where the nineteenth century has not yet been served its eviction notice. ~Carlos Ruiz Zafón, The Shadow of the Wind, 2001, translated from Spanish by Lucia Graves, 2004

There will be time... for you and time for me,
And time yet for a hundred indecisions,
And for a hundred visions and revisions,
Before the taking of a toast and tea...
In a minute there is time
For decisions and revisions which a minute will reverse.
For I have known them already, known them all:
Have known the evenings, mornings, afternoons,
I have measured out my life with coffee spoons...
~T. S. Eliot (1888–1965), "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock," in Poetry: A Magazine of Verse, June 1915

How delicious and soothing Shadow Land was! Shadow Land! The Land of Yesterday, To‑Day and To‑morrow. The Land of Hope, and Joy and Peace. The two children wandered off, as it were, into a dream for a time, and when they gazed again, the garden was more delightful than ever—a joyous blend of Spring and Summer seemed to invade the grounds, while many of the flowers and trees showed slight signs of Autumn tinting. ~S.J. Adair Fitz-Gerald (1859–1925), The Zankiwank & The Bletherwitch, 1896

...the day's twelve hours were never enough for all Mary had to do. ~Barbra Ring, Fjeldmus paa utenlands-reise, 1908, translated from the Norwegian by J. L. Ethel Aspinall, The Tomboy Cousin, 1927

Some one often asks me, "Why don't you wind the clocks?" But in those rare moments when I am sane clocks do not interest me. ~Christopher Morley (1890–1957), "A Slice of Sunlight," Travels in Philadelphia, 1920

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,

Time is not (as antiquity held) merely an illusion or a derogation from Being, but Being's true form and externalisation... ~Percival Arland Ussher (1899-1980), "Meister Eckhart," Sages & Schoolmen, 1967

Thinking of the days past as—
Fallen to the waves of the river of life.
~Julia Cooley Altrocchi (1893–1972), "Sentences That I Make Up," The Poems of a Child, Being Poems Written Between the Ages of Six and Ten, 1904

That great mystery of TIME, were there no other; 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: this is forever very literally a miracle; a thing to strike us dumb, — for we have no word to speak about it. This Universe, ah me! — what could the wild man know of it; what can we yet know? That it is a Force, and thousandfold Complexity of Forces... Force, Force, everywhere Force; we ourselves a mysterious Force in the centre of that. ~Thomas Carlyle, "The Hero as Divinity," 1840  [I think he stopped just shy of saying, "May the Force be with you." —tg]

In the dim Autumn peace quite motionlessly
I watch the smoke of a million of years gone by:
These are the dead and forgotten, a dream of yesterday,
An empty rhyme is all the tomb they own.
~John Gould Fletcher, "The Smoke of Dreams," Visions of the Evening, 1913

If you want work well done, select a Busy Man — the Other Kind has No Time. ~Elbert Hubbard, 1907

I stayed on here in sun and rain. I have watched the cherries ripen and the apples fall... ~Barbra Ring, Før kulden kommer, 1915, translated from the Norwegian by W. Emmé, Into the Dark, 1923

Warden of hours and ages, here I dwell... ~Louise Imogen Guiney (1861–1920), "The Old Dial of Corpus"

Why do we cry
Against Time's passing, we who stand
On the wandering earth, hand in hungry hand,
A little space, watching the low stars set?
What is it we cannot forget?
~Frances M. Frost, "Words to be Spoken on the Last Night of the Year," Blue Harvest, 1931

Years sink beneath the rim of time. ~Evan S. Connell, Jr., Points for a Compass Rose, 1973

I didn't sleep. Time passed. It must have. It always does. ~Barry Fox Stevens (1902–1985), Don't Push the River (it flows by itself), 1970

...For beauty, wit,
High birth, vigour of bone, desert in service,
Love, friendship, charity, are subjects all
To envious and calumniating time.
~William Shakespeare, Troilus and Cressida, c.1601  [III, 3, Ulysses]

It has been said that in human life there are moments worth ages... ~William Wordsworth

We dwell in nebulous hinterlands, nethermost fires, coasts of time... ~James Oppenheim, "Devil-Song," Golden Bird, 1923

Then time, which pulses golden on the wrist... ~Thomas McGrath, "De Poetica," The Movie at the End of the World: Collected Poems, 1972

A watch!... Did it tick?... Yes, yes, there it was, just like a clock's tick only lighter, more secret within itself, yet telling the time as good as if it spoke louder. It broke time into small bits that one could hear, made it real and urgent in each moment of its passing. How would it be to measure one's life by such small pieces? How could one know how to live by the minute and the hour? Time was large and wide as the sky, one part slipping into the next, unbroken as the flowing of water. She would not like it shattered so. ~Cid Ricketts Sumner, Tammy Out of Time, 1958

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 —tεᖇᖇ¡·g]

Time opened out before her, rich and wonderful. ~Cid Ricketts Sumner, Tammy Out of Time, 1958

In the woods there is... a clock that never strikes. ~Arthur Rimbaud (1854–1891), "Childhood," translated by Oliver Bernard

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 she is the most well-known. —tεᖇᖇ¡·g]

Every day a thread makes a skein in the year. ~Dutch proverb

It seemed as if, first in her own fire within the house, and then in the fiery haze without, she tried to discover what kind of woof Old Time, that greatest and longest-established Spinner of all, would weave from the threads he had already spun into a woman. ~Charles Dickens, Hard Times: For These Times, 1854

Swift as a weaver's shuttle
      Truly and quickly cast,
      Every day is woven
      Into the silent past...
So may we look behind us
      Through all the web of days,
      Seeing our good and evil
      Blent in its endless maze.
      Purple and gold and crimson
      Vie with the sodden black—
      Whether of pride or sorrow,
      We may not have it back.
Swift as a weaver's shuttle
      Day hastens on to day—
      Always the fabric changes,
      Always the colors play;
      Now with a gloomy shadow,
      Now with a glow sublime—
      So go the deathless records
      Into the loom of Time.
~Wilbur D. Nesbit, "The Loom of Time," c.1904

Each thread of the tapestry woven by time is precious, since all the faces that have disappeared from the earth are projected on it by our memory. But even without any face projected there, and without any of my dead reappearing there, it still keeps in my eyes the splendor of being a season of time, mankind's time, the time in which our destiny will have been experienced and inscribed, among millions of others. ~François Mauriac (1885–1970), "Man and Nature, and Art, and what it should be," Nouveaux Mémoires Intérieurs, 1965, translated from the French by Herma Briffault, The Inner Presence: Recollections of My Spiritual Life, 1968

In the light of the silent stars that shine on the struggling sea,
      In the weary cry of the wind and the whisper of flower and tree,
      Under the breath of laughter, deep in the tide of tears,
      I hear the Loom of the Weaver that weaves the Web of Years.
The leaves of the winter wither and sink in the forest mould
      To colour the flowers of April with purple and white and gold:
      Light and scent and music die and are born again
      In the heart of a grey-haired woman who wakes in a world of pain.
The hound, the fawn and the hawk, and the doves that croon and coo,
      We are all one woof of the weaving and the one warp threads us through,
      One flying cloud on the shuttle that carries our hopes and fears
      As it goes thro' the Loom of the Weaver that weaves the Web of Years...
Has the soul gone out in the Darkness? Is the dust sealed from sight?
      Ah, hush, for the woof of the ages returns thro' the warp of the night!
      Never that shuttle loses one thread of our hopes and fears,
      As it comes thro' the Loom of the Weaver that weaves the Web of Years...
~Alfred Noyes (1880–1958), "The Loom of Years," early 1900s

Lo! on the rapid wings of Time,
Another changing year has flown...
~Edward George Kent, "On the Past Year," Nineveh, 1859 comes with a certain effect of surprise to discover that we have left this tap running for thirteen years. ~H. G. Wells, Apropos of Dolores, 1938

I reckon the hours
    by the journey of sunlight
        across the room's floor.
~Cave Outlaw (1900–1996)

The clock uncoils the working day... ~Thomas McGrath, "Poor John Luck and the Middle Class Struggle, Or: The Corpse in the Bookkeeper's Body," The Movie at the End of the World: Collected Poems, 1972

      The Old Year being dead, and the New Year coming of age, which he does, by Calendar Law, as soon as the breath is out of the old gentleman’s body, nothing would serve the young spark but he must give a dinner upon the occasion, to which all the Days in the year were invited...
      All the Days came... Covers were provided for three hundred and sixty-five guests at the principal table; with an occasional knife and fork at the side-board for the Twenty-Ninth of February...
      Rainy Days came in dripping; and sunshiny Days helped them to change their stockings... Pay Day came late, as he always does; and Doomsday sent word — he might be expected.
      April Fool (as my young lord’s jester) took upon himself to marshal the guests, and wild work he made with it... good Days, bad Days, were so shuffled together, to the confounding of all sober horoscopy...
      May Day, with that sweetness which is peculiar to her, made a neat speech and crowned her goblet with garlands. This being done, the lordly New Year from the upper end of the table, in a cordial but somewhat lofty tone, returned thanks. He felt proud on an occasion of meeting so many of his worthy father’s late tenants, promised to improve their farms, and at the same time to abate (if any thing was found unreasonable) in their rents...
      All this while, Valentine’s Day kept courting pretty May, who sate next him, slipping amorous billets-doux under the table, till the Dog Days (who are naturally of a warm constitution,) began to be jealous, and to bark and rage exceedingly...
      Madam Septuagesima... rambled on to the Days that were gone, the good old Days, and so to the Days before the Flood — which plainly showed her old head to be little better than crazed and doited.
      Day being ended, the Days called for their cloaks and great coats, and took their leaves. Lord Mayor’s Day went off in a Mist, as usual; Shortest Day in a deep black Fog, that wrapt the little gentleman all round like a hedge-hog... Longest Day set off westward in beautiful crimson and gold — the rest, some in one fashion, some in another, some drunk, some sober, and a number in between — but Valentine and May took their departure together in one of the prettiest silvery twilights a Lover’s Day would wish to set in. ~Charles Lamb, "Rejoicings Upon the New Year's Coming of Age," 1823  [a little altered —tg]

I am in yesterday, today. And tomorrow? In tomorrow I was. ~Antonio Porchia (1886–1968), Voces, 1943–1966, translated from the Spanish by W.S. Merwin (1927–2019), Voices, 1988

Time sweeps through me like a wind;
      Space engulfs me like a sea.
Time and Space are at me always—
      They will not let me be.
I am weary, weary with years,
      Troubled by immensity.
With eternities around me,
      How can I be free?
~Marjorie Meeker, "Comrades," c.1921

The clock of Eternity is wound by the hand of the Almighty. ~James Lendall Basford (1845–1915), Sparks from the Philosopher's Stone, 1882  [Mr Basford was a watchmaker from New England. —tεᖇᖇ¡·g]

Eternity is a clock whose pendulum says and repeats incessantly, these two words only, amid the silence of the tombs: Always, never! Never, always! ~Jacques Bridaine (1701–1767), translated from French

"Eternity," said he, waving his hand slowly to and fro like the pendulum of a clock, — "eternity is a clock in Heaven, whose pendulum sounds thus: Ever, Ever, Ever! and Eternity is a clock in Hell, whose pendulum sounds thus: Never, Never, Never!" ~Anonymous, Elfie in Sicily, 1860  [See Jacques Bridaine: "Eternity is a clock..." —tg]

The Old Clock on the Stairs...
By day its voice is low and light;
But in the silent dead of night,
Distinct as a passing footstep's fall,
It echoes along the vacant hall,
Along the ceiling, along the floor,
And seems to say, at each chamber-door,—
~Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, The Old Clock on the Stairs"  [See Jacques Bridaine: "Eternity is a clock..." —tg]

Half-way up the stairs it stands,
And points and beckons with its hands
From its case of massive oak,
Like a monk, who, under his cloak,
Cross himself, and sighs alas!
With sorrowful voice to all who pass,—
~Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, The Old Clock on the Stairs"  [See Jacques Bridaine: "Eternity is a clock..." —tg]

Never here, forever there,
Where all parting, pain, and care,
And death, and time shall disappear,—
Forever there, but never here!
The horologe of Eternity
Sayeth this incessantly,—
~Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, The Old Clock on the Stairs"  [See Jacques Bridaine: "Eternity is a clock..." —tg]

Eternity is a clock which says 'tick' in one century and 'tock' in the next. ~Author unknown

Eternity is a clock without hands. ~Author unknown

Every pulsation in earthly life is but the ticking of eternity's clock. ~James Lendall Basford (1845–1915), Sparks from the Philosopher's Stone, 1882

Time more than flies. It tramples. It loots. It mugs. ~Terri Guillemets

Time—the great polisher of all things. ~James Lendall Basford (1845–1915), Seven Seventy Seven Sensations, 1897

Two lengths has every day,
Its absolute extend –
And area superior
By hope or heaven lent.
Eternity will be
Velocity, or pause,
At fundamental signals
From fundamental laws.
~Emily Dickinson, 1855

After being on the trail a day or two, the trailer ceases to regard time, distance, or other things of civilized land. Home is where the grass and water are abundant. Time is marked by three events: sunrise, meridian, and sunset — all else is needless diversion. ~Hamlin Garland, "Hitting the Trail," in McClure's Magazine, 1899

Time doesn't tick
it doesn't tock —
it flows relentless
it is we who chop
its water with our oars
~Terri Guillemets

God doesn't wear a wristwatch. ~S. A. Sachs

            I am soft sift
      In an hourglass — at the wall
Fast, but mined with a motion, a drift,
      And it crowds and it combs to the fall...
~Gerard Manley Hopkins, "The Wreck of the Deutschland," 1876

...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

Grey ghosts blown down the desolate moors of time!
Poor wanderers, lost to any hope of rest!
~Arthur Davison Ficke, Sonnets of a Portrait-Painter, 1914

October began as months do: their entrance is, in itself, an unostentatious and soundless affair, without outward signs and tokens; they, as it were, steal in softly and, unless you are keeping close watch, escape your notice altogether. Time has no divisions to mark its passage, there is never a thunder-storm or blare of trumpets to announce the beginning of a new month or year. Even when a new century begins it is only we mortals who ring bells and fire off pistols. ~Thomas Mann, "Whims of Mercurius," The Magic Mountain, 1924, translated from the German by H. T. Lowe-Porter, 1927

The Year which I do call as others do,
Full 1600, adding Twenty two:
The Month of July, that's for ever fam'd,
(Because 'twas so by Julius Cæsar nam'd,)
Just when six days, and to each Day a Night,
The dogged Dog-days had began to bite...
~John Taylor, "A Very Merry-Wherry-Ferry Voyage," 1622

But who knows what really happened in the other leg of the Trousers of Time? ~Terry Pratchett, Johnny and the Bomb, 1996

...The dead weight of collapsed hours
Is my burden, and the chaste feelings assembled here
Shall recite a requiem and strew flowers...
~Cave Outlaw (1900–1996), "The Phoenix and Turtle," Each Day, 1942

The inertia hardest to overcome is that of perfectly good seconds. ~Martin H. Fischer (1879–1962)

Thought lags and cries Alas,
Love ranges quick and free.
Oh, figured clock and sanded glass,
They mark no term for me.
And since I can but rue
The calendar gone wrong,
And dials never telling true
If dreams be short or long,
Dear, from these arts that fail
To thee I will repair.
~Louise Imogen Guiney (1861–1920), Horologion"

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

The clocks in Westbourne-upon-Sea had already struck eleven; but then that new town was a modern, fast, go-a-head place, and not to be relied upon. ~Frederick W. Robinson, No Man's Friend, 1867

...may 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

We are only but guests at Time's tea party. ~Terri Guillemets

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, 1963

My particles of time play with eternity. ~Antonio Porchia (1886–1968), Voces, 1943–1966, translated from the Spanish by W.S. Merwin (1927–2019), c.1968

      I was still wearing Betsy's white blouse and dirndl skirt. They drooped a bit now, as I hadn't washed them in my three weeks at home. The sweaty cotton gave off a sour but friendly smell. I hadn't washed my hair for three weeks, either. I hadn't slept for seven nights. My mother told me I must have slept, it was impossible not to sleep in all that time, but if I slept, it was with my eyes wide open, for I had followed the green, luminous course of the second hand and the minute hand and the hour hand of the bedside clock through their circles and semi-circles, every night for seven nights, without missing a second, or a minute, or an hour.
      The reason I hadn't washed my clothes or my hair was because it seemed so silly. I saw the days of the year stretching ahead like a series of bright, white boxes, and separating one box from another was sleep, like a black shade. Only for me, the long perspective of shades that set off one box from the next day had suddenly snapped up, and I could see day after day after day glaring ahead of me like a white, broad, infinitely desolate avenue. It seemed silly to wash one day when I would only have to wash again the next. It made me tired just to think of it. I wanted to do everything once and for all and be through with it. ~Sylvia Plath, The Bell Jar, 1963

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

Wonderful, unfinished volume,
      Leaves on leaves of manuscript,
Written on forever, ever,
      With a pen in ages dipped!...
~Sara L. Vickers Oberholtzer, "Time's Unfinished Volume," 1880

As that particular autumn was about to disappear forever... ~R. D. Lawrence (1921–2003), The North Runner, 1979

There are several divisions of the day and night. I will commence with the media nox (mid-night) as it is the starting point of the civil year amongst the Romans. The time which approaches it nearest is media nocte (past mid-night); then comes gallicinium (cock's-crow); then the conticinium (moment of silence) the time that the cock ceases to crow; then the moment called ante lucem and diluculum (the break of day) when it is already day, without the sun having risen; then the second diluculum called mané (the morning when the sun commences to appear); then ad meridiem (which precedes mid-day); then the meridies, or the middle of the day; then succeeds the time called de meridie (afternoon); then suprema (close of the last moment of the day); vespera (evening) which immediately precedes the rising of the star called vesperium or hesperon; then comes crepusculum (twilight), which is perhaps called so because uncertain things are called crepercœ, and it is difficult to say whether this moment belongs to the day or to the night; then comes the moment which we call luminibus accensis (the illuminated lights) and which the ancients called prima face (the first flambeau); then concubium (time to retire); then the intempesta (inopportune time to work); and then the moment called ad mediam noctem (which is near to midnight), after which the media nox returns. ~Censorinus, De Die Natale / The Natal Day, A.D. 238, translated by William Maude, 1900  [a little altered —tεᖇᖇ¡·g]

Time is the only true fortune-teller. ~James Lendall Basford (1845–1915), Seven Seventy Seven Sensations, 1897

The longest hour is swifter than I thought.
It is more cruel, having a sharper end.
So time is my close foe; yet I am taught
Some safety by this fear that is my friend...
~Mark Van Doren, A Winter Diary And Other Poems, 1935

Time brings an end to everything. We should not mistake for a tragedy what is no more than the passage of time. ~Robert Brault,

Man's most prudent counselor is time. ~Publilius Syrus, 1st century BCE, from the Latin by D. Lyman, 1856

We chip at Time with clocks and watches;
We flee him in love and double scotches...
While grandly paying no attention to us
He's doing things I hate to mention to us...
~Ogden Nash (1902–1971), "Time Marches On"

Time is the only thief we can't get justice against. ~Terri Guillemets

Ten years ripening.
Ten years waiting.
Soon: twenty long years in the earth.
~Dag Hammarskjöld, 1959, translated from the Swedish by Leif Sjöberg and W. H. Auden, Markings, 1964

The desire for flight burned in her, as it burns in every winged soul; but it was flight from the captivity of time rather than from the captivity of space. ~Agnes Repplier, of Louise Imogen Guiney, 1926

Time is neither friend nor enemy it's just a measurement. ~Mike Dolan, @HawaiianLife, tweet, 2009

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.
~Terri Guillemets

Among life's regrets is all the time wasted being early for everything. ~Robert Brault,

I get confused easily. When it is Sunday on Guam, and it is Saturday back on the mainland, where they are sending out stories about moonwalks, what I really want to know is what day it is up on the moon. Or do they have days at all? Or if the days are month long, do they call them anything like Tuesday? ~Joseph C. Murphy, "Pipe Dreams," 1971

Time strode with the swiftness of spring blossoms. ~Terri Guillemets

One touch of nature makes the whole world kin,
That all with one consent praise new-born gawds,
Though they are made and moulded of things past,
And give to dust that is a little gilt
More laud than gilt o'er-dusted.
~William Shakespeare, Troilus and Cressida, c.1601  [III, 3, Ulysses]

Man goes nowhere. Everything comes to man, like tomorrow.~Antonio Porchia (1886–1968), Voces, 1943–1966, translated from the Spanish by W.S. Merwin (1927–2019), c.1968

Now pluck the twentieth century like a flower out of its cranny in the wall of time, and hold it there in your hand... ~Rev. James Henry Ecob, D.D. (1844–1921), "The Gospel for the Twentieth Century," 1901

For centuries, man believed that the sun revolves around the earth. Centuries later, he still thinks that time moves clockwise. ~Robert Brault,

The clock is running and so am I but in opposite directions. ~Terri Guillemets, "Tailspin," 2010

Time hath, my lord, a wallet at his back,
Wherein he puts alms for oblivion,
A great-sized monster of ingratitudes:
Those scraps are good deeds past; which are devour'd
As fast as they are made, forgot as soon
As done...
~William Shakespeare, Troilus and Cressida, c.1601  [III, 3, Ulysses]

does time ever get
      so old it aches?
doesn't it ever want
      to take a break?
~Terri Guillemets

Time cannot tell of one sorrow's wishing
Nor give heal to grief with the grave of years.
Never the intended is fully said,
And what is done does not die in passing...
~Cave Outlaw (1900–1996), Fugitive Hour, 1950

The great enemy of achievement is a schedule already full. ~Robert Brault,

There is no such thing as time to a man in a summer vacation. ~Henry Ward Beecher

Time's last sunset flames along my blood. ~Arthur Davison Ficke

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Last saved 2024 May 12 Sun 19:07 CDT