Quotations about   child

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My parents in the underworld! I send
This servant girl — take care and gently tend.
Conduct her past the terrifying shade.
Keep her of circling horrors unafraid,
For she, alas, was only six days shy
Of six years when too soon she came to die.
Protect her as she plays her childhood games,
And lisps, as shyly she was wont, our names.
Earth, sadly mounded on this gravesite new,
Press lightly on her, as she did on you.

[Hanc tibi, Fronto pater, genetrix Flaccilla, puellam
Oscula commendo deliciasque meas,
Parvula ne nigras horrescat Erotion umbras
Oraque Tartarei prodigiosa canis.
Impletura fuit sextae modo frigora brumae,
Vixisset totidem ni minus illa dies.
Inter tam veteres ludat lasciva patronos
Et nomen blaeso garriat ore meum.
Mollia non rigidus caespes tegat ossa nec illi,
Terra, gravis fueris: non fuit illa tibi.]

Martial (AD c.39-c.103) Spanish Roman poet, satirist, epigrammatist [Marcus Valerius Martialis]
Epigrams [Epigrammata], Book 5, epigram 34 [tr. Wills (2007)]
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Erotion was a slave child in Martial's household, per other epigrams. The identity of Fronto and Flaccilla -- whether they are the names of Martial's parents or Erotion's -- is ambiguous in the Original Latin, and a subject of debate. Alternate translations:

Fronto, to thee, to thee, Flaccilla mild,
My darling I commend, your lively child.
Oh! may no sable shades make her more pale,
Nor the Tartarean dog the Love assail.
Six times the rig'rous solstice had the run,
Has she survey'd six times another sun.
Mid her old patrons, may the prattler play;
And lsip my name, as in the realms of day.
To her soft bones no turf oppressive be:
O earth lie light on her, who lay so light on thee.
[tr. Elphinston (1782), Book 9, ep. 18]

O my father, Fronto! and my mother, Flacilla! I commend to you, in the realm below, this damsel, my delight and the object of my kisses, lest Erotion be terrified at the dark shades, and at the enormous mouth of the dog of Tartarus. She would have completed her sixth winter if she had lived six days longer. May she continue her sportive ways under your reverend patronage, and may she garrulously stammer forth my name! May the turf lie lightly on her delicate bones; you ought not, O earth, to be heavy to her; she was not so to thee!
[tr. Amos (1858) ep. 35]

To you, O Fronto my father, and to you, O Flaccilla my mother, I commend this child, the little Erotion, my joy and my delight, that she may not be terrified at the dark shades and at the monstrous mouth of the dog of Tartarus. She would just have passed the cold of a sixth winter, had she lived but six days longer. Between protectors so venerable may she sport and play, and with lisping speech babble my name. Let no rude turf cover her tender bones, and press not heavy on her, O earth; she pressed but lightly on thee.
[tr. Bohn's Classical (1859)]

To you -- dun spectres to forefend
And yon Tartarean monster dread --
This little maiden I commend,
Dead parents of my darling dead!

Had only my Erotion's span
While just so many days were told,
Been lengthened out to dwell with man,
She had been then six winters old.

Still sportive may she spend her days,
And lisp my name with prattling tongue;
Nor chide her little wanton ways,
Mid friends so old, and she so young.

Soft be the turf that shrouds her bed,
For delicate and soft was she.
And, Earth, lie lightly o'er her head,
For light the steps she laid on thee.
[tr. Webb (1879)]

Mother and sire, to you do I commend
Tiny Erotion, who must now descend,
A child, among the shadows, and appear
Before hell's bandog and hell's gondolier.
Of six hoar winters she had felt the cold,
But lacked six days of being six years old.
Now she must come, all playful, to that place
Where the great ancients sit with reverend face;
Now lisping, as she used, of whence she came,
Perchance she names and stumbles at my name.
O'er these so fragile bones, let there be laid
A plaything for a turf; and for that maid
That ran so lightly footed in her mirth
Upon thy breast -- lie lightly, mother earth!
[tr. Stevenson (1884)]

To thee, father Fronto, to thee, mother Flacilla, commend this maid, my sweetheart and my darling, that tiny Erotion may not shudder at the dark shades and the Tartarean hound's stupendous jaws. She would have completed only her sixth cold winter had she not lived as many days too few. Beside protectors so aged let her lightly play, and prattle my name with lisping tongue. And let not hard clods cover her tender bones, nor be though heavy upon her, O earth: she was not so to thee!
[tr. Ker (1919)]

Thou Mother dear and thou my Father's shade,
To you I now commit the gentle maid,
Erotion, my little love, my sweet;
Let not her shuddering spirit fear to meet
The ghosts, but soothe her lest she be afraid.
How should a baby heart be undismayed
To pass the lair where Cerberus is laid?
The little six-year maiden gently greet.
Dear reverend spirits, give her kindly aid
And let her play in some Elysian glade,
Lisping my name sometimes -- and, I entreat
Lie on her softly, kind earth; her feet,
Such tiny feet, on thee were lightly laid.
[tr. Pott & Wright (1921)]

Mother Flaccilla, Fronto sire that's gone,
This darling pet of mine, Erotion,
I pray ye greet, that nor the Land of Shade
Nor Hell-hound's maw shall fright my little maid.
Full six chill winters would the child have seen
Had her life only six days longer been.
Sweet child, with our lost friends to guard thee, play,
And lisp my name in thine own prattling way.
Soft be the turf that shrouds her! Tenderly
Rest on her, earth, for she trod light on thee.
[tr. Duff (1929)]

Fronto, Father, Flacilla, Mother, extend your protection from the Stygian shadows. The small Erotion (my household Iris) has changed my h ouse for yours. See that the hellhound's horrid jaws don't scare her, who was no more than six years old (less six days) on the Winter day she died. She'll play beside you gossiping about me in child's language. Weigh lightly on her small bones, gentle earth, as she, when living, lightly trod on you.
[tr. Whigham (1987)]

This girl, father Fronto and mother Flaccilla, I commit to your care, so that little Erotion, my pet and darling, may not tremble at the dark shades and at the monstrous mouths of the hound of Tartarus. She would have just seen out the frosts of her sixth midwinter, had her life not fallen that many days short. I hope she plays and skips now in her former patrons' keeping; I hope her hare-lip mumbles my name. Please let the turf that covers her bones not be hard, and, earth, be not heavy upon her, she was no weight on you.
[tr. Nisbet (2015)]

Ye parents Fronto and Flaccilla here,
To you I do commend my girl, my dear,
Lest pale Erotion tremble at the shades,
And the foul dog of hell's prodigious heads.
Her age fulfilling just six winters was,
Had she but known so many days to pass.
'Mongst you, old patrons, may she sport and play,
And with her lisping tongue my name oft say.
May the smooth turf her soft bones hide, and be,
O earth, as light to her as she to thee!
[tr. Fletcher]

I commend you this slave girl, father Fronto, mother Flacilla, as she was my delight and the object of my kisses. May little Erotion not fear the dark shades nor the vast mouths of the Tartarean dog. She would have completed her sixth cold winter if she'd not lived as many days too few. Now, let her play amid old friends, let her chatter and lisp my name. May the soft turf cover her brittle bones: earth, lie lightly on her, as she was not heavy on you.
[Source]

Added on 30-Jul-21 | Last updated 30-Jul-21
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The spring came suddenly, bursting upon the world as a child bursts into a room, with a laugh and a shout and hands full of flowers.

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1807-1882) American poet
“Table-talk”
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It is the mark of a child not an adult to desire without measure.

[Παιδός, οὐκ ἀνδρὸς τὸ ἀμέτρως ἐπιθυμεῖν.]

Democritus (c. 460 BC - c. 370 BC) Greek philosopher
Frag. 70 (Diels) [tr. @sententiq (2018), fr. 69]
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Diels citation "70. (62N.) Demokrates. 35." Alternate translations:

  • "Immoderate desire is the mark of a child, not a man." [tr. Freeman (1948)]
  • "It is a characteristic of a child, not a man, to desire without measure." [tr. Chitwood (2004)]
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I have now but one anxiety left, which is concerning you. I would have you be, what I know nobody is, perfect. As that is impossible, I would have you as near perfection as possible. I know nobody in a fairer way toward it than yourself, if you please. Never were so much pains taken for anybody’s education as for yours; and never had anybody those opportunities of knowledge and improvement which you have had, and still have. I hope, I wish, I doubt, and I fear alternately. This only I am sure of, that you will prove either the greatest pain, or the greatest pleasure of, Yours Always Truly.

Lord Chesterfield (1694-1773) English statesman, wit [Philip Dormer Stanhope]
Letter to his son (16 Feb 1748)
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Confront a child, a puppy, and a kitten with a sudden danger; the child will turn instinctively for assistance, the puppy will grovel in abject submission, the kitten will brace its tiny body for a frantic resistance.

H. H. Munro (1870-1916) Scottish writer [Hector Hugh Munro; pseud. Saki]
“The Achievement of the Cat” (1924)
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The man who is fortunate in his choice of a son-in-law gains a son; the man unfortunate in his choice loses his daughter also.

[Δημόκριτος ἔφη, ὡς γαμβροῦ ὁ μὲν ἐπιτυχὼν εὗρεν υἱόν, ὁ δὲ ἀποτυχὼν ἀπώλεσε καὶ θυγατέρα.]

Democritus (c. 460 BC - c. 370 BC) Greek philosopher
Frag. 272 (Diels) [tr. Freeman (1948)]
    (Source)

Diels citation "272. (0 N.) ... Zweifelhalft, da Apophthegmenform."; collected in Joannes Stobaeus (Stobaios) Anthologium IV, 70, 18.

Alternate translations:

  • "One who is lucky in his son-in-law gains a son, one who is unlucky loses a daughter." [tr. Barnes (1987)]
  • "The man who is lucky in his son-in-law gains a son, whilst the man who fails loses a daughter."
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FIRST …
Let the rockets flash and the cannon thunder,
This child is a marvel, a matchless wonder.
A staggering child, a child astounding,
Dazzling, diaperless, dumbfounding,
Stupendous, miraculous, unsurpassed,
A child to stagger and flabbergast,
Bright as a button, sharp as a thorn,
And the only perfect one ever born.

SECOND
Arrived this evening at half-past nine.
Everybody is doing fine.
Is it a boy, or quite the reverse?
You can call in the morning and ask the nurse.

Ogden Nash (1902-1971) American poet
“First Child … Second Child,” Versus (1949)
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Blaming mother is just a negative way of clinging to her still.

Nancy Friday (1933-2017) American author and feminist
My Mother/My Self, ch. 2 (1977)
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CHARLIE ANDERSON: I’m not going to kill you. I want you to live. I want you to live to be an old man, and I want you to have many, many, many children, and I want you to feel about your children then the way I feel about mine now. And someday, when a man comes along and kills one of ’em, I want you to remember! Okay? I want you to remember.

James Lee Barrett (1929-1989) American author, producer, screenwriter
Shenandoah (1965)
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Every parent is at some time the father of the unreturned prodigal, with nothing to do but keep his house open to hope.

John Ciardi (1916-1986) American poet, writer, critic
Saturday Review (1972)
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A babe is nothing but a bundle of possibilities.

Henry Ward Beecher (1813-1887) American clergyman and orator
Proverbs from Plymouth Pulpit, “Children” (1887) [ed. William Drysdale]
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One looks back with appreciation to the brilliant teachers, but with gratitude to those who touched our human feelings. The curriculum is so much necessary raw material, but warmth is the vital element for the growing plant and for the soul of the child.

Carl Jung (1875-1961) Swiss psychologist
“The Gifted Child” (1942), The Development of Personality, sec. 250 (1954) [tr. Hull]
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Translated from "Der Begabte," Psychologie und Erziehung (1946).
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Oh, high is the price of parenthood,
And daughters may cost you double.
You dare not forget, as you thought you could,
That youth is a plague and a trouble.

Phyllis McGinley (1905-1978) American author, poet
“Homework for Annabelle,” New Yorker (15 Mar 1952)
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Reprinted in Love Letters (1954). Full poem.
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When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things.

The Bible (14th C BC - 2nd C AD) Christian sacred scripture
1 Corinthians 13:11 [KJV]
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Alt. trans.: "When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child; when I became an adult, I put an end to childish ways." [NRSV]
Added on 3-Feb-20 | Last updated 3-Feb-20
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What Mr. Howells said of the American theater is true of the whole American attitude toward life. “A tragedy with a happy ending” is exactly what the child wants before he goes to sleep: the reassurance that “all’s well with the world” as he lies in his cozy nursery. It is a good thing that the child should receive this reassurance; but as long as he needs it he remains a child, and the world he lives in is a nursery-world. Things are not always and everywhere well with the world, and each man has to find it out as he grows up. It is the finding out that makes him grow, and until he has faced the fact and digested the lesson he is not grown up — he is still in the nursery.

Edith Wharton (1862-1937) American novelist
French Ways and Their Meaning, ch. 4 “Intellectual Honesty” (1919)
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Commenting on William Dean Howells' comment to her on American taste in theater and drama: "What the American public wants is a tragedy with a happy ending."
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My son, a perfect little boy of five years and three months, had ended his earthly life. You can never sympathize with me; you can never know how much of me such a young child can take away. A few weeks ago I accounted myself a very rich man, and now the poorest of all.

Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882) American essayist, lecturer, poet
Letter to Thomas Carlyle (28 Feb 1842)
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When you teach your son, you teach your son’s son.

The Talmud (AD 200-500) Collection of Jewish rabbinical writings
Seder Nashim, Kiddushin 30a

Paraphrase of "This serves to say to you that whoever teaches his son Torah, the verse ascribes him credit as though he taught him, and his son, and his son’s son, until the end of all generations" (alt. trans. "to him who teaches his son Torah, the Writ ascribes merit as though he had taught him, his son and his son's son until the end of all time!"). This is in turn referenced to Deut. 4:9.
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A teacher’s major contribution may pop out anonymously in the life of some ex-student’s grandchild.

Wendell Berry (b. 1934) American farmer, educator, poet, conservationist
“Wallace Stegner and the Great Community,” What Are People For? (1990)
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Don’t threaten a child; either punish or forgive him.

The Talmud (AD 200-500) Collection of Jewish rabbinical writings
Passage
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There is a difference between tragedy and blind brutal calamity. Tragedy has meaning, and there is dignity in it. Tragedy stands with its shoulders stiff and proud. But there is no meaning, no dignity, no fulfillment, in the death of a child.

Walter M. Miller Jr. (1923-1996) American science fiction writer
“The Will” (1953)
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The weakness of the child is that it starts with a blank sheet. It neither understands nor questions the society in which it lives, and because of its credulity other people can work upon it, infecting it with the sense of inferiority and the dread of offending against mysterious, terrible laws.

George Orwell (1903-1950) English writer [pseud. of Eric Arthur Blair]
“Such, Such Were The Joys…” (1952)
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The surest way to corrupt a youth is to instruct him to hold in higher esteem those who think alike than those who think differently.

nietzche-hold-in-higher-esteem-wist_info-quote

Friedrich Nietzsche (1844-1900) German philosopher and poet
The Dawn (1881)

Alt. trans.: "The surest way of ruining a youth is to teach him to respect those who think as he does more highly than those who think differently from him." [[tr. R.J. Hollingdale (1982)]
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The parent who could see his boy as he really is would shake his head and say: ‘Willy is no good: I’ll sell him.’

Stephen Leacock (1869-1944) Canadian economist, writer and humorist
The Lot of the Schoolmaster (1916)
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Little boys may be an intolerable nuisance; but when they are not there we regret them, we find ourselves homesick for their very intolerableness.

Aldous Huxley (1894-1963) English novelist, essayist and critic
Beyond the Mexique Bay (1934)
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“Are you lost, daddy?” I asked tenderly.
“Shut up,” he explained.

Ring Lardner (1885-1933) American sports columnist and writer [Ringgold Wilmer Lardner]
The Young Immigrants, ch. 10 (1920)
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There never was a child so lovely but his mother was glad to get him asleep.

Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882) American essayist, lecturer, poet
Journal (30 Sep 1837)
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Certain it is, that there is no kind of affection so pure and angelic as that of a father to a daughter. he beholds her, both wise and without regard to her sex. In love to our wives there is desire, to our sons there is ambition; but in that to our daughters, there is something which there are no words to describe.

Joseph Addison (1672-1719) English essayist, poet, statesman
The Spectator #449 (5 Aug 1712)
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When I was a boy of 14, my father was so ignorant I could hardly stand to have the old man around. But when I got to be 21, I was astonished at how much the old man had learned in seven years.

Mark Twain (1835-1910) American writer [pseud. of Samuel Clemens]
(Spurious)

Not found in Twain's writing.  He was 11 when his father died.

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As long as we love we will hope to live, and when the one dies that we love we will say: “Oh, that we could meet again,” and whether we do or not it will not be the work of theology. It will be a fact in nature. I would not for my life destroy one star of human hope, but I want it so that when a poor woman rocks the cradle and sings a lullaby to the dimpled darling, she will not be compelled to believe that ninety-nine chances in a hundred she is raising kindling wood for hell.

Robert Green Ingersoll (1833-1899) American lawyer, agnostic, orator
“What Must We Do to Be Saved?” Sec. 11 (1880)
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No day can be so sacred but that the laugh of a little child will make it holier still.

Robert Green Ingersoll (1833-1899) American lawyer, agnostic, orator
“The Liberty of Man, Woman, and Child” (1877)
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Every child comes with the message that God is not yet tired of the man.

Rabindranath Tagore (1861-1941) Indian Bengali poet, philosopher [a.k.a. Rabi Thakur, Kabiguru]
Stray Birds (1916)

Alt. trans.: "Every child comes with the message that God is not yet discouraged of man."
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