Quotations about   carpe diem

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You must make up your mind to act decidedly and take the consequences. No good is ever done in this world by hesitation.

T. H. Huxley (1825-1895) English biologist [Thomas Henry Huxley]
Letter to Anton Dohrn (17 Oct 1873)
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Added on 3-May-21 | Last updated 3-May-21
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This is your life, and it’s ending one minute at a time.

Chuck Palahniuk (b. 1962) American novelist and freelance journalist
Fight Club, ch. 3 (1996)
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Added on 14-Jul-20 | Last updated 15-Jul-20
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MAME: Yes! Life is a banquet, and most poor sons-of-bitches are starving to death! Live!

Jerome Lawrence (1915-2004) American playwright and author [b. Jerome Lawrence Schwartz]
Auntie Mame, Act 2, sc. 6 (1956) [with Robert E. Lee]

Based on the novel Patrick Dennis, Auntie Mame (1955), turned first into this Broadway play by Lawrence and Lee, a 1958 movie, then the musical Mame (1966), followed by a movie of the musical (1974). The line is original with Lawrence and Lee.
Added on 2-Jul-20 | Last updated 2-Jul-20
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To you and me
Life is not full; we see
The good days fly
And, ah, how grievously
Their sum doth mount,
Set all to our account;
Why dally we
Who know what life should be?

[Nunc vivit necuter sibi, bonosque
Soles effugere atque abire sentit,
Qui nobis pereunt et inputantur.
Quisquam vivere cum sciat, moratur?]

Martial (AD c.39-c.103) Spanish Roman poet, satirist, epigrammatist [Marcus Valerius Martialis]
Epigrams [Epigrammata], Book 5, epigram 20, l. 11ff (5.20) [tr. Pott & Wright (1921)]

To Julius Martialis. (Source (Latin)).

The phrase pereunt et imputantur (they pass by, and are put to our account) is often found on sundials.

Alternate translations:

Now, to himself, alas! Does neither live,
But sees good suns, of which we are to give
A strict account, set, and march quick away:
Know a man how to live, and does he stay?
[tr. Cowley (<1755)]

We behold the good suns shine, and pass away; lost are they for ever, yet, nevertheless, they are counted in our reckoning. Is it possible that anyone who knows how to live delays to live accordingly?
[tr. Amos (1858), ch. 3, #14; identified as ep. 21]

As it is, neither of us lives for himself, but sees his good days flee from him and vanish; days which are ever being lost to us, and set down to our account. Should any one, then, delay to live, when he knows how?
[tr. Bohn's Classical (1859)]

oday neither lives for himself, and he feels the good days are flitting and passing away, our days that perish and are cored to our account. Does any man, when he knows how to live, delay?
[tr. Ker (1919)]

Now neither lives his life, but he
Marks precious days that pass and flee.
These days are lost, but their amount
Is surely set to our account.
Knowledge the clue to life can give;
Then wherefore hesitate to live?
[tr. Duff (1929)]

As it is now, neither of us lives for his own benefit, each of us can feel his best days slipping away and leaving us behind. They're gone, they've been debited from our account. What kind of person knows how to live, but keeps putting it off?
[tr. Nisbet (2015)]

Now, twin lives are not our own.
Our good suns flee & disappear,
Debited, as they die, to us.
Who hesitates that's learned to live?
[tr. Whigham (1987)]

Added on 25-May-18 | Last updated 5-Nov-21
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Warped with satisfactions and terrors, woofed with too many ambiguities and too few certainties, life can be lived best not when we have the answers — because we will never have those — but when we know enough to live it right out to the edges, edges sometimes marked by other people, sometimes showing only our own footprints.

Rosalie Maggio (1944-2021) American writer
The New Beacon Book of Quotations by Women, Introduction (1996)
Added on 16-Feb-18 | Last updated 16-Feb-18
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It’s a terrible thing, I think, in life to wait until you’re ready. I have this feeling now that actually no one is ever ready to do anything. There is almost no such thing as ready. There is only now. And you may as well do it now.

Hugh Laurie (b. 1959) English actor, writer, musician, singer
Interview with Sophie Harris, Time Out: New York (1 Sep 2012)
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Maybe this is the chief thing the dog knows better than we do. There isn’t enough time in life to do anything but love and do our work with joy. We should sleep when we’re tired. Run with abandon. Always be happy to see each other. And never stop believing we will, someday, catch the squirrel.

Martha Brockenbrough (b. 1970) American writer
Facebook (9 Aug 2016)
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Added on 17-Aug-16 | Last updated 17-Aug-16
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Rash indeed is he who reckons on the morrow, or haply on days beyond it; for tomorrow is not, until today is past.

Sophocles (496-406 BC) Greek tragic playwright
Trachiniae, l. 943
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How long do you want to wait until you start enjoying life? When you’re sixty-five you get Social Security, not girls.

Neil Simon (1927-2018) American playwright and screenwriter
Come Blow Your Horn (1961)
Added on 10-Aug-16 | Last updated 10-Aug-16
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Live now, believe me, wait not till tomorrow;
Gather the roses of life today.

[Vivez, si m’en croyez, n’attendez à demain;
Cueillez dés aujourd’huy les roses de la vie.]

De Ronsard - roses of life - wist_info quote

Pierre de Ronsard (1524-1585) French poet
“Quand vous serez bien vieille, au soir, à la chandelle,” l. 13, Sonnets pour Hélène (1578)
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Get action. Seize the moment. Man was never intended to become an oyster.

Theodore Roosevelt (1858-1919) US President (1901-1909)
Comment to Mrs. J. A. Roosevelt (25 Dec 1851)
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Quoted in David McCullough, Mornings on Horseback (1981), sourced from the W. Sheffield Cowles, Jr. Collection (private). Usually given as a quote in full to his children, McCullough only notes the last sentence ("Man ... oyster") as an actual quotation.
Added on 27-Jul-16 | Last updated 27-Jul-16
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Every day should be passed as if it were to be our last.

Publilius Syrus (d. 42 BC) Assyrian slave, writer, philosopher [less correctly Publius Syrus]
Sententiae [Moral Sayings], # 633
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If you have a good idea, get it out there. For every idea I’ve realized, I have ten I sat on for a decade till someone else did it first. Write it. Shoot it. Publish it. Crochet it, sauté it, whatever. MAKE.

Whedon - make - wist_info quote

Joss Whedon (b. 1964) American screenwriter, author, producer [Joseph Hill Whedon]
“Dollhouse’s Joss Whedon Answers Your Questions,” Hulu Blog (9 Mar 2009)
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Remember that man’s life lies all within this present, as ’twere but a hair’s-breadth of time: as for the rest, the past is gone, the future yet unseen.

Marcus Aurelius (AD 121-180) Roman emperor (161-180), Stoic philosopher
Meditations, Book 3, #10
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Life, we learn too late, is in the living, in the tissue of each day and hour.

Stephen Leacock (1869-1944) Canadian economist, writer and humorist
(Attributed)
Added on 8-Jun-16 | Last updated 8-Jun-16
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There are many fine things which you mean to do some day, under what you think will be more favorable circumstances. But the only time that is surely yours is the present, hence this is the time to speak the word of appreciation and sympathy, to do the generous deed, to forgive the fault of a thoughtless friend, to sacrifice self a little more for others. Today is the day in which to express your noblest qualities of mind and heart, to do at least one worthy thing which you have long postponed, and to use your God-given abilities for the enrichment of some less fortunate fellow traveler. Today you can make your life big, broad, significant and worthwhile. The present is yours to do with it as you will.

Kleiser - today is the day - wist_info quote

Grenville Kleiser (1868-1953) Canadian-American self-help author
Inspiration And Ideals: Thoughts For Every Day, “August Twenty-Eighth” (1918 ed.)
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But the greatest gift in the power of loneliness to bestow is the realization that life does not consist either of wallowing in the past or of peering anxiously at the future; and it is appalling to contemplate the great number of often painful steps by which one arrives at a truth so old, so obvious, and so frequently expressed. It is good for one to appreciate that life is now. Whether it offers little or much, life is now — this day — this hour — and is probably the only experience of the kind one is to have.

Charles Macomb Flandrau (1871-1938) American author and essayist
Viva Mexico!, ch. 7 (1908)
Added on 25-May-16 | Last updated 25-May-16
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Cease to inquire what the future has in store, and to take as a gift whatever the day brings forth.

Horace (65-8 BC) Roman poet and satirist [Quintus Horacius Flaccus]
Odes [Carmina], Book 1, Ode 9, l. 13 (c. 23 BC)
Added on 18-May-16 | Last updated 18-May-16
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Happy the man, and happy he alone,
He, who can call to-day his own:
He who, secure within, can say,
Tomorrow do thy worst, for I have lived today.

John Dryden (1631-1700) English poet, dramatist, critic
Imitation of Horace, Book 3, ode 29, l. 65 (1685)
Added on 11-May-16 | Last updated 11-May-16
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He shrugged his shoulders. “I have known many gods. He who denies them is as blind as he who trusts them too deeply. I seek not beyond death. It may be the blackness averred by the Nemedian skeptics, or Crom’s realm of ice and cloud, or the snowy plains and vaulted halls of the Nordheimer’s Valhalla. I know not, nor do I care. Let me live deep while I live; let me know the rich juices of red meat and stinging wine on my palate, the hot embrace of white arms, the mad exultation of battle when the blue blades flame and crimson, and I am content. Let teachers and priests and philosophers brood over questions of reality and illusion. I know this: if life is illusion, then I am no less an illusion, and being thus, the illusion is real to me. I live, I burn with life, I love, I slay, and am content.”

Robert E. Howard (1906-1936) American author
“Queen of the Black Coast” (1934)
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The secret of health for both mind and body is not to mourn for the past, worry about the future, or anticipate troubles, but to live in the present moment wisely and earnestly.

Buddha (c.563-483 BC) Indian mystic, philosopher [b. Siddharta Gautama]
(Attributed)

In The Teaching of Buddha [The Buddhist Bible] (1934) by the Federation of All Young Buddhist Associations of Japan.
Added on 4-May-16 | Last updated 4-May-16
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Every day that is born into the world comes like a burst of music, and rings itself all the way through; and thou shalt make of it a dance, a dirge, or a grand life-march as thou wilt.

Carlyle - a dance a dirge - wist_info quote

Thomas Carlyle (1795-1881) Scottish essayist and historian
(Attributed)

Variant: "Every day that is born into the world comes like a burst of music and rings itself the way through, and you make of it a dance, a dirge, or a life-march, as thou wilt."

The earliest reference I can find to this is its quotation in (or perhaps adjacent to) Kate W. Hamilton, "Ariel Seaton's Rainy Day," The Ladies' Repository (Jan 1868).
Added on 27-Apr-16 | Last updated 27-Apr-16
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Every morning is a fresh beginning,
Listen my soul to the glad refrain.
And, spite of old sorrows
And older sinning,
Troubles forecasted
And possible pain,
Take heart with the day and begin again.

Coolidge - begin again - wist_info quote

Susan Coolidge (1835-1905) American author [pseud. for Sarah Chauncey Woolsey]
“New Every Morning”
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Whether it’s the best of times or the worst of times, it’s the only time we’ve got.

Buchwald - only time weve got - wist_info quote

Art Buchwald (1925-2007) American humorist, columnist
(Attributed)
Added on 13-Apr-16 | Last updated 13-Apr-16
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Whichever way we look the prospect is disagreeable. Behind, we have left pleasures we shall never more enjoy, and therefore regret; and before we see pleasures which we languish to possess, and are, consequently, uneasy till we possess them.

Oliver Goldsmith (1730-1774) Irish poet, playwright, novelist
The Citizen of the World, Letter 44 (1762)
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Mary, my sweet, carpe that old diem! — it’s the only game in town.

Robert A. Heinlein (1907-1988) American writer
Methuselah’s Children [Lazarus Long] (1958)
Added on 28-Jul-15 | Last updated 28-Jul-15
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But we live through the fine days without noticing them; only when we fall on evil ones do we wish to have back the former. With sour faces we let a thousand bright and pleasant hours slip by unenjoyed and afterwards vainly sigh for their return when times are trying and depressing. Instead of this, we should cherish every present moment that is bearable, even the most ordinary, which with such indifference we now let slip by, and even with impatience push on.

Arthur Schopenhauer (1788-1860) German philosopher
Parerga and Paralipomena (1861)
Added on 3-Nov-14 | Last updated 3-Nov-14
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Remembering that I’ll be dead soon is the most important tool I’ve ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life. Because almost everything — all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure — these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important. Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose.

Steve Jobs (1955-2011) American computer inventor, entrepreneur
Commencement Address, Stanford University (2005)
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Sufficient to today are the duties of today. Don’t waste life in doubts and fears; spend yourself on the work before you, well assured that the right performance of this hour’s duties will be the best preparation for the hours and ages that will follow it.

Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882) American essayist, lecturer, poet
“Immortality,” Letters and Social Aims (1876)
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Finish every day and be done with it. For manners and for wise living it is a vice to remember. You have done what you could; some blunders and absurdities no doubt crept in; forget them as soon as you can. Tomorrow is a new day; you shall begin it well and serenely, and with too high a spirit to be cumbered with your old nonsense.

Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882) American essayist, lecturer, poet
Letter to one of his daughters
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Added on 18-Jul-07 | Last updated 31-Aug-20
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You will never find time for anything. If you want time you must make it.

Charles Buxton (1823-1871) English brewer, philanthropist, writer, politician
Notes of Thought, #488 (1873)
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No one imagines that a symphony is supposed to improve in quality as it goes along, or that the whole object of playing it is to reach the finale. The point of music is discovered in every moment of playing and listening to it. It is the same, I feel, with the greater part of our lives, and if we are unduly absorbed in improving them we may forget altogether to live them.

Alan Watts (1915-1973) Anglo-American philosopher, writer
“This is It,” This Is It (1960)
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As we speak, cruel time is fleeing.  Seize the day, leave as little as possible to tomorrow.

[… dum loquimur, fugerit invida
aetas: carpe diem, quam minimum credula postero
.]

Horace (65-8 BC) Roman poet and satirist [Quintus Horacius Flaccus]
Odes [Carmina], Book 1, Ode 11, l. 8 (c. 23 BC)

Alt trans. "... believing as little as possible in the morrow."
Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 13-Apr-16
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