Quotations about   golden age

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Every old man complains of the growing depravity of the world, of the petulance and insolence of the rising generation. He recounts the decency and regularity of former times, and celebrates the discipline and sobriety of the age in which his youth was passed; a happy age which is now no more to be expected, since confusion has broken in upon the world, and thrown down all the boundaries of civility and reverence.


Samuel Johnson (1709-1784) English writer, lexicographer, critic
The Rambler, #50 (8 Sep 1750)
Added on 6-Oct-16 | Last updated 6-Oct-16
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In spite of every sage whom Greece can show,
Unerring wisdom never dwelt below;
Folly in all of every age we see,
The only difference lies in the degree.

[N’en déplaise à ces fous nommés sages de Grèce,
En ce monde il n’est point de parfaite sagesse :
Tous les hommes sont fous, et, malgré tous leurs soins,
Ne diffèrenet entre eux que du plus ou du moins.]

Nicolas Boileau-Despréaux (1636-1711) French poet and critic
Satires, Satire 4, l. 37 (1716)
Added on 25-May-16 | Last updated 25-May-16
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Those who compare the age in which their lot has fallen with a golden age which exists only in imagination, may talk of degeneracy and decay; but no man who is correctly informed as to the past, will be disposed to take a morose or desponding view of the present.

Thomas Babington Macaulay (1800-1859) English writer and politician
History of England, Vol. I, ch. 1 (1849-1861)
Added on 10-Apr-08 | Last updated 16-Jan-20
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Those two fatal words, Mine and Thine.

Miguel de Cervantes (1547-1616) Spanish novelist
Don Quixote, Part 1, Book 2, ch. 11 (1605) [tr. Motteux & Ozell (1743)]

Alt trans.:
  • "Oh happy age, which our first parents called the age of gold! not because gold, so much adored in this iron-age, was then easily purchased, but because those two fatal words, mine and thine, were distinctions unknown to the people of those fortunate times." [Full version of the above]
  • "Happy the age, happy the time, to which the ancients gave the name of golden, not because in that fortunate age the gold so coveted in this our iron one was gained without toil, but because they that lived in it knew not the two words 'mine' and 'thine'!" [tr. Ormsby (1885)]
  • "Happy age, and happy days were those, to which the ancients gave the name of golden; not, that gold, which in these our iron-times, is so much esteemed, was to be acquired without trouble, in that fortunate period; but, because people then, were ignorant of those two words MINE and THINE." [tr. Smollett (1976), as Part 1, Book 1, ch. 3]
Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 9-Jun-15
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