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GARCIN: I died too soon. I wasn’t allowed time to — to do my deeds.

INEZ: One always dies too soon — or too late. And yet one’s whole life is complete at that moment, with a line drawn neatly under it, ready for the summing up. You are — your life, and nothing else.

Jean-Paul Sartre (1905-1980) French philosopher and writer
No Exit [Huis Clos] (1944)
Added on 4-Jun-24 | Last updated 4-Jun-24
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More quotes by Sartre, Jean-Paul

This increase in the life span and in the number of our senior citizens presents this Nation with increased opportunities: the opportunity to draw upon their skill and sagacity — and the opportunity to provide the respect and recognition they have earned. It is not enough for a great nation merely to have added new years to life — our objective must also be to add new life to those years.

John F. Kennedy (1917-1963) US President (1961-63)
“Special Message to the Congress on the Needs of the Nation’s Senior Citizens” (1963-02-21)
Added on 23-Feb-24 | Last updated 23-Feb-24
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More quotes by Kennedy, John F.

Still you say, the young man has the hope of long life — a hope which the old cannot have. That hope is sheer wishful thinking, for what is more irrational than to count the uncertain as certain, the false as true? But the old man has nothing to look forward to at all. Even so, he is in better sort than the young, for he has obtained what the young only hope for: the young want to live a long life; the old have lived it.

[At sperat adulescens diu se victurum, quod sperare idem senex non potest. Insipienter sperat; quid enim stultius quam incerta pro certis habere, falsa pro veris? At senex ne quod speret quidem habet. At est eo meliore condicione quam adulescens, quoniam id quod ille sperat hic consecutus est: ille volt diu vivere, hic diu vixit.]

Marcus Tullius Cicero (106-43 BC) Roman orator, statesman, philosopher
De Senectute [Cato Maior; On Old Age], ch. 19 / sec. 68 (19.68) (44 BC) [tr. Copley (1967)]

(Source (Latin)). Alternate translations:

But ye may saye that the man adolescent & yong hopith that he shall lyve longe & aftir that a man is olde he may not have such an hope. Therfor I answere you that the yong man hopith foliously if by cause of his yong age he wenith to live long, for he is not certayn therof nor knowith not the trouthe. Now ther is nothyng more foly thene is for to have & holde the doubtuose thyngys as certayn & the fals as true & if ye oppose agenst olde age that the olde man hath nothyng in hym whereby he may hope to lyve more, I answere you, Scipion & Lelius, that by this thyng is bettir the condicion & the astate of the olde man than of the yong man, for the yong man will lyve long & the olde man hath lyved long.
[tr. Worcester/Worcester/Scrope (1481)]

But a young man hopeth to live long, which an old man may not look to do. He truly feedeth himself with a vain and a foolish, hope. For what merer folly can there be, than to accompt and repute things which be doubtful and uncertain, for infallible and certain, and things that are false, for true? An old man hath nothing to hope for; but he is therefore in far better state and case than is a young man, for he hath already enjoyed and obtained that, which the young man doth but hope for. The one desireth to live long, the other hath already lived long.
[tr. Newton (1569)]

But the young man hopes to live long, which the old man cannot. He hopes foolishly; for what is greater folly, then to account uncertain things for certain, false for true? The old man hath nothing to hope for more; therefore he is in better state then the former, seeing that what the other wisheth for, he hath obtained already; the young man would live long, the old man hath lived long.
[tr. Austin (1648), ch. 21]

But vigorous Youth may his gay thoughts erect
To many years, which Age must not expect,
But when he sees his airy hopes deceiv'd,
With grief he saies, who this would have believ'd?
We happier are then they, who but desir'd
To possess that, which we long since acquir'd.
[tr. Denham (1669)]

But Youth, you'll say perhaps, may live in Hopes of Length of Days, when we are deprived even of all Hope. A childish Hope this indeed! To hold Uncertainties for Certainties, and Falsity for Truth! Old Age, you say, has not even Hope for its Relief; but, even in that Respect, is it not far preferable to Youth, in being actually possessed of what the other only hopes for? Long Life is sure on the one side, and only wished for on the other.
[tr. Hemming (1716)]

But the young Man is in Hopes of Living long, which the Old cannot. I must tell him he hopes foolishly; for, can there be a greater Instance of Folly than to make sure of Uncertainties; or embrace Falsities for Truth? The Old Man has nothing more to hope for; then he is in a better State than the Young one, since what this hopes for, the other has already attain'd: The one is in Hopes of Living long, the other has done it.
[tr. J. D. (1744)]

It may however be said, perhaps, that Youth has Room at least to hope they have Length of Life before them, which in Old Men would be vain. But foolish is that Hope: For what can be more absurd, than to build on utter Uncertainties, and account on that for sure, which probably may never happen? And to what is alleged, that the Old Man has no Room lest for Hope, I say, Just so much the happier is his Condition, than that of the Young; because he has already attained, and is sure of what the other only wishes and hopes for: The one wishes to live long, the other is at the End of that Wish, he has got it; for he has lived long already.
[tr. Logan (1744)]

It will be replied, perhaps, that "youth may at least entertain the hope of enjoying many additional years; whereas an old man cannot rationally encourage so pleasing an expectation." But is it not a mark of extreme weakness to rely upon precarious contingencies, and to consider an event as absolutely to take place, which is altogether doubtful and uncertain? But admitting that the young may indulge this expectation with the highest reason, still the advantage evidently lies on the side of the old; as the latter is already in possession of that length of life which the former can only hope to attain.
[tr. Melmoth (1773)]

But a young man hopes that he shall live long; which same thing an old man cannot hope. He hopes absurdly. For what is sillier than to hold uncertainties for certainties, the false for true? An old man has not even what he may hope; but he is by that in a better condition than the young man, since that which the former hopes for, the latter has attained. The former wishes to live long; the latter has lived long.
[Cornish Bros. ed. (1847)]

Yet a young man hopes that he will live a long time, which expectation an old man cannot entertain. His hope is but a foolish one: for what can be more foolish than to regard uncertainties as certainties, delusions as truths? An old man indeed has nothing to hope for; yet he is in so much the happier state than a young one; since he has already attained what the other is only hoping for. The one is wishing to live long, the other has lived long.
[tr. Edmonds (1874)]

But, it is said, the young man hopes to live long, while the old man can have no such hope. The hope, at any rate, is unwise; for what is more foolish than to take things uncertain for certain, false for true? Is it urged that the old man has absolutely nothing to hope? For that very reason he is in a better condition than the young man, because what the youth hopes he has already obtained. The one wishes to live long; the other has lived long.
[tr. Peabody (1884)]

Yes, you will say; but a young man expects to live long; an old man cannot expect to do so. Well, he is a fool to expect it. For what can be more foolish than to regard the uncertain as certain, the false as true? "An old man has nothing even to hope." Ah, but it is just there that he is in a better position than a young man, since what the latter only hopes he has obtained. The one wishes to live long; the other has lived long.
[tr. Shuckburgh (1895)]

But you will say the young
Have hope of life, which is to us denied.
A foolish hope. For what more foolish is
Than where no surety is to think things sure,
Where all is doubtful to believe them fixed?
Granted the old man cannot even hope:
'Tis all the better since he has attained
To what the young man only hopes to gain:
The one desires long life, the other's lived.
[tr. Allison (1916)]

But, you may say, the young man hopes that he will live for a long time and this hope the old man cannot have. Such a hope is not wise, for what is more unwise than to mistake uncertainty for certainty, falsehood for truth? They say, also, that the old man has nothing even to hope for. Yet he is in better case than the young man, since what the latter merely hopes for, the former has already attained; the one wishes to live long, the other has lived long.
[tr. Falconer (1923)]

There is a crucial difference between a young man and an old one: the one hopes for a long life yet to come, and the other knows that his time is nearly up. But a hope is only a hope: what is more foolish than to confuse what is uncertain with what is certain, and what is false with what is true? The young man who lives in a state of great expectations is much worse off than the old man who looks forward to nothing. One can only dream of what the other has accomplished: one wants to live a long time, but the other already has.
[tr. Cobbold (2012)]

But, you say, that is not the point. The point is that a young person can reasonably hope to live a long time and an old one cannot. What an unwise hope. I mean, what is more follish than to value uncertainty above certainty? Look at life this way, what the young person only hopes for (and the hope is uncertain, as we have seen), the old person already has. The one hopes to live a long time, the other has already done so.
[tr. Gerberding (2014)]

But they say a young man hopes in a long lease
Of life while an old man awaits its surcease.
Taking certain for uncertain is a wish,
Like taking false for true, completely foolish.
But, they add, even at the end of the rope
An old man is in a better shape than a young man
For he has already fulfilled his life’s hope.
One wants the long life the other had in full measure,
ut dear gods what is “long” in man’s nature?
[tr. Bozzi (2015)]

But you may argue that young people can hope to live a long time, whereas old people cannot. Such hope is not wise, for what is more foolish than to mistake something certain for what is uncertain, or something false for what is true? You might also say8 that an old man has nothing at all to hope for. But he in fact possesses something better than a young person. For what youth longs for, old age has attained. A young person hopes to have a long life, but an old man has already had one.
[tr. Freeman (2016)]

But the young person hopes to live for a long time, a very hope which the old person cannot hold. They hope unwisely for what is more foolish than to take uncertainty for certainty and falsehood for truth. They claim also that the old person has nothing to hope for. But the elderly are in a better place than the young because the young merely hope for what the elderly have obtained and the one wishes to live long, while the other has already done so.
[tr. @sentantiq (2021)]

Added on 18-Jan-24 | Last updated 18-Jan-24
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More quotes by Cicero, Marcus Tullius

People say that age creeps up on them quicker than they expected. First of all, who forced them to think that way? Does age creep up on adults more quickly than maturity creeps up on children? And again, would their age lie less heavily upon them if they were in their eight hundredth year rather than their eightieth? It doesn’t matter how much time has passed; a foolish old man can never be consoled or comforted.
[Obrepere aiunt eam citius, quam putassent. Primum quis coegit eos falsum putare? Qui enim citius adulescentiae senectus quam pueritiae adulescentia obrepit? Deinde qui minus gravis esset eis senectus, si octingentesimum annum agerent quam si octogesimum? Praeterita enim aetas quamvis longa cum effluxisset, nulla consolatio permulcere posset stultam senectutem.]

Marcus Tullius Cicero (106-43 BC) Roman orator, statesman, philosopher
De Senectute [Cato Maior; On Old Age], ch. 2 / sec. 4 (2.4) [Cato] (44 BC) [tr. Cobbold (2012)]

(Source (Latin)). Alternate translations:

All the folis seyn that olde age comyth in them sonner thenne they wend, but I demaunde a question of such men what maner foly constreyned them forto trowe or suppose the thyng the which is fals, for they can sey no reason how olde age entrith sonner in the man aftir adolescence no more than doeth adolescence aftir puerice callid chidlhode which is the seconde age, how be it that it is so ordeyned by nature that that one of the ages entrith aftir the ende of the othir. More ovir I demaunde such foolys how olde age shuld be lesse chargyng & lesse grevous to men if they myght lyve viii C yere, for how be it that the age past had be longer yit it may neithir comforte ne allege ne satisfye the foole olde man.
[tr. Worcester/Worcester/Scrope (1481)]

They say [old age] creepeth and stealeth upon them faster and sooner than they thought it would. First, who causeth them to imagine and think such a false and peevish untruth? for why should they think that after their youth and adolescency, old age creepeth faster upon them, rather than their adolescency and youth doth after childhood? Seeing therefore they do not repine nor complain any whit after that they have been children to grow up to be tall striplings and lusty young men, why should they be aggrieved or think themselves discontented, after they have been striplings and young men, to be old and aged? Again, if they might reach ot the age of eight hundreth years, what greater pleasure and commodity is therein, or wherein should they think it to be less troublesome and tedious than it is when they be of the age of four-score years? for the age that is once passed and gone, be it never so long, can with no manner of pleasure or delectation comfort, recreate nor mitigate the old age that is in such fond persons.
[tr. Newton (1569)]

They say that [age] creepeth upon them ere they are aware. First let me aske, who bade them over reckon themselves? for how much sooner doth age creep on youth, then youth on child-hood? then, how much more grievous would their age be to them, if they should as well live to the eight hundred year, as to the eighty year? for the former age (though long,) when it is past, can asswage a foolish old age, with no comfort.
[tr. Austin (1648)]

[They are] always complaining that [Old Age] stole upon them unawares. But pray whose fault is it, that they were so surprized by a wrong computation? Why may they not with equal reason exclaim, that their Youth came too quick upon their Childhood, as that Old Age stole upon their Youth? Or what reason have they to expect Old Age to be less burthensome at eight hundred, than at eighty? For the time they have passed, of what length soever it be, will administer no comfort to Old Age, if foolishly squandered away.
[tr. Hemming (1716)]

They charge Old Age with stealing on them faster than it was expected. Who constrain'd them to think wrongfully? Does not Age gain sooner on Youth, than Youth does on Childhood? Besides, How much easier would Old Age fit upon them, where they in their eight-hundredth Year, than in their eightieth? Because the Effluction of Time thro' several Æras,, can give no Comfort to us in these Years of Dotage.
[tr. J. D. (1744)]

But, oh! they say, [Old Age] has crept on us too fast, and overtaken us sooner than we thought or expected. In the first Place, pray who put them on thinking wrong? How can they say, Old Age creeps faster on Manhood, than Manhood succeeded Youth and Childhood? Or how would it sit lighter at the Age of Eight Hundred Years, if that were the Term of it, than at Eighty? For the longer Duration of the preceding Age, when once 'tis past, abates Nothing from the Effects of Old Age, when come; nor affords any Relief against the Follies and Weakness of such as sink under it.
[tr. Logan (1744)]

It is usual with men at this season of life to complain that old age has stolen upon them by surprise, and much sooner than they expected. But if they were deceived by their own false calculations, must not the blame rest wholly on themselves? For, in the first place, old age surely does not gain by swifter and more imperceptible steps on manhood, than manhood advances on youth ; and in the next, in what respect would age have sitten less heavily upon them, had its progress been much slower, and, instead of making his visit at fourscore years, it had not reached them till four hundred? For the years that are elapsed, how numerous soever they may have been, can by no means console a weak and frivolous mind under the usual consequences of long life.
[tr. Melmoth (1773)]

They say that [old age] steals upon them sooner than they had supposed. First, who compelled them to make a truthless supposition? For, what? Does old age steal upon adolescence sooner than adolescence upon boyhood? Then, how would old age be less onerous to them, if they were passing their eight-hundredth year than their eightieth? For the past life, however long, when it had run out, could sooth a foolish old age with no consolation.
[Cornish Bros. ed. (1847)]

They say that [old age] steals over them more quickly than they had supposed. Now, first of all, who compelled them to form a false estimate of its progress? for how does old age more quickly steal upon youth, than youth upon boyhood? Then, again, how would old age be less burdensome to them, if they were in their 800th year than in their 80th? for the past time, however long, when it had flowed away, would not be able to soothe with any consolation an old age of folly.
[tr. Edmonds (1874)]

They say that age creeps upon them faster than they had thought possible. In the first place, who forced them to make this false estimate? In the next place, how could old age be less burdensome to them if it came on their eight-hundredth year than it is in their eightieth? For the time past, however long, when it had elapsed, could furnish no comfort to soothe a foolish old age.
[tr. Peabody (1884)]

They say that [old age] is stealing upon them faster than they expected. In the first place, who compelled them to hug an illusion? For in what respect did old age steal upon manhood faster than manhood upon childhood? In the next place, in what way would old age have been less disagreeable to them if they were in their eight-hundredth year than in their eightieth? For their past, however long, when once it was past, would have no consolation for a stupid old age.
[tr. Shuckburgh (1895)]

They say that it has come with quicker step
Than they expected: pray, who was it then
Forced them to this illusion?
Did old age Come quicker upon youth, than youth itself
On childhood? Had it seemed a lighter load
If they had reached not to their eightieth year
But e'en to ten times that? For sure past years
Howe'er prolonged could ne'er endow with charm
A stupid old age.
[tr. Allison (1916)]

They say that [old age] stole upon them faster than they had expected. In the first place, who has forced them to form a mistaken judgement? For how much more rapidly does old age steal upon youth than youth upon childhood? And again, how much less burdensome would old age be to them if they were in their eight hundredth rather than in their eightieth year? In fact, no lapse of time, however long, once it had slipped away, could solace or soothe a foolish old age.
[tr. Falconer (1923)]

Old age, they protest, crept up on them more rapidly than they had expected. But, to begin with, who was to blame for their mistaken forecast? For age does not steal upon adults any faster than adulthood steals upon children. Besides, if they were approaching eight hundred instead of eight, they would complain of the burden just as loudly! If old people are stupid enough, then nothing can console them for the time that has gone by, however great its length.
[tr. Grant (1960, 1971 ed.)]

They complain that [old age] crept up on them faster than they had thought it would. To begin with, who compelled them to accept something that is patently untrue? How does old age “creep up on” adulthood any faster than adulthood does on childhood? In the second place, how would old age be less burdensome to these people if it were to come at age eight hundred instead of at age eighty? No matter how many years of life might have gone by, there could be no effective word of comfort for the old, if they were foolish and thoughtless.
[tr. Copley (1967)]

They also say old age creeps up on us more quickly than we thought it would. But tell me, just how does old age creep up on middle age any more quickly than middle age creeps up on youth? The length of time before the onset of old age is not the issue here. To those who think it is, a life in their 800th year would be just as bothersome as one in their 80th. No matter how long the past lasts, once it has gone, it is gone, and a past that has no other virtue than its length will offer no consolation for old age.
[tr. Gerberding (2014)]

Faster than they thought, they say,
Senility worms its way
Into them but who obliged them to
Hold such an imaginary view?
But how much faster in truth
Does old age encroach on youth
Than youth itself upon infancy?
And again how overbearing would old age be
Were one eight hundred years old rather than eighty?
Indeed no past life could, as a rule,
Soothe and cheer the old age of a fool.
[tr. Bozzi (2015)]

They say that old age crept up on them much faster than they expected. But, first of all, who is to blame for such poor judgment? Does old age steal upon youth any faster than youth does on childhood? Would growing old really be less of a burden to them if they were approaching eight hundred rather than eighty? If old people are foolish, nothing can console them for time slipping away, no matter how long they live.
[tr. Freeman (2016)]

They say that [old age] came upon them faster than they had expected. Who forced them to this false belief? For, who would claim that old age succeeded adolescence any faster than adolescence succeeded childhood? Would old age seem any less a burden to them if they were living their eight-hundredth year instead of their eightieth? Once an age has passed and flown away, no consolation is able to soften the blow of a feeble-minded senescence.
[tr. Robinson / @sentantiq (2017)]

Added on 21-Dec-23 | Last updated 21-Dec-23
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More quotes by Cicero, Marcus Tullius

Every man’s last day is fixed.
Lifetimes are brief and not to be regained,
For all mankind. But by their deeds to make
Their fame last: that is labor for the brave.

[Stat sua cuique dies, breve et inreparabile tempus
Omnibus est vitae; sed famam extendere factis,
Hoc virtutis opus.]

Virgil the Poet
Virgil (70-19 BC) Roman poet [b. Publius Vergilius Maro; also Vergil]
The Aeneid [Ænē̆is], Book 10, l. 467ff (10.467-69) [Jove] (29-19 BC) [tr. Fitzgerald (1981)]

Jove, to Alcides (Hercules), comforting him on the pending, but brave, death of Pallas.

(Source (Latin)). Alternate translations:

Each hath his fate; Short and irreparable time
Man's life enjoyes: But by brave deeds to clime
To honour's height, this they by valour gain.
[tr. Ogilby (1649)]

Short bounds of life are set to mortal man.
'Tis virtue's work alone to stretch the narrow span.
[tr. Dryden (1697)]

To every one his day is fixed: a short and irretrievable term of life is given to all: but by deeds to lengthen out fame, this is virtue's task.
[tr. Davidson/Buckley (1854)]

Each has his destined time: a span
Is all the heritage of man:
'Tis virtue's part by deeds of praise
To lengthen fame through after days.
[tr. Conington (1866)]

To every one his day
Stands fixed by fate. The term of mortal life
Is brief, and irretrievable to all.
But to extend the period of its fame
By noble actions, this is virtue's work.
[tr. Cranch (1872), l. 615ff]

Each hath his own appointed day; short and irrecoverable is the span of life for all: but to spread renown by deeds is the task of valour.
[tr. Mackail (1885)]

His own day bideth every man; short space that none may mend
Is each man's life: but yet by deeds wide-spreading fame to send,
Man's valour hath this work to do.
[tr. Morris (1900)]

Each hath his day; irreparably brief
Is mortal life, and fading as the leaf.
'Tis valour's part to bid it bloom anew
By deeds of fame.
[tr. Taylor (1907), st. 63, l. 562ff]

To each his day is given. Beyond recall
man's little time runs by: but to prolong
life's glory by great deeds is virtue's power.
[tr. Williams (1910)]

Each has his day appointed; short and irretrievable is the span of life to all: but to lengthen fame by deeds -- that is valour's task.
[tr. Fairclough (1918)]

Every man, my son,
Has his appointed time; life’s day is short
For all men; they can never win it back,
But to extend it further by noble deeds
Is the task set for valor.
[tr. Humphries (1951)]

Every man's hour is appointed. Brief and unalterable
For all, the span of life. To enlarge his fame by great deeds
Is what the brave man must aim at.
[tr. Day-Lewis (1952)]

Each has his day; there is, for all, a short,
irreparable time of life; the task
of courage: to prolong one's fame by acts.
[tr. Mandelbaum (1971), l. 648ff]

Each man has his allotted day. All life is brief and time once past can never be restored. But the task of the brave man is to enlarge his fame by his actions.
[tr. West (1990)]

Every man has his day, the course
of life is brief and cannot be recalled: but virtue’s task
is this, to increase fame by deeds.
[tr. Kline (2002)]

Each man has his day, and the time of life
is brief for all, and never comes again.
But to lengthen out one’s fame with action,
that’s the work of courage.
[tr. Fagles (2006), l. 553ff]

The day of death awaits all men; their time is brief and comes just once. But they can prolong their fame by action. This is the task of valor.
[tr. Bartsch (2021)]

Added on 8-Mar-23 | Last updated 21-Jun-23
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More quotes by Virgil

Therefore, when the young die I am reminded of a strong flame extinguished by a torrent; but when old men die it is as if a fire had gone out without the use of force and of its own accord, after the fuel had been consumed; and, just as apples when they are green are with difficulty plucked from the tree, but when ripe and mellow fall of themselves, so, with the young, death comes as a result of force, while with the old it is the result of ripeness. To me, indeed, the thought of this “ripeness” for death is so pleasant, that the nearer I approach death the more I feel like one who is in sight of land at last and is about to anchor in his home port after a long voyage.

[Itaque adulescentes mihi mori sic videntur, ut cum aquae multitudine flammae vis opprimitur, senes autem sic, ut cum sua sponte nulla adhibita vi consumptus ignis exstinguitur; et quasi poma ex arboribus, cruda si sunt, vix evelluntur, si matura et cocta, decidunt, sic vitam adulescentibus vis aufert, senibus maturitas; quae quidem mihi tam iucunda est, ut, quo propius ad mortem accedam, quasi terram videre videar aliquandoque in portum ex longa navigatione esse venturus.]

Marcus Tullius Cicero (106-43 BC) Roman orator, statesman, philosopher
De Senectute [Cato Maior; On Old Age], ch. 19 / sec. 71 (19.71) (44 BC) [tr. Falconer (1923)]

(Source (Latin)). Alternate translations:

And by that the adolescentes & yong men as me semyth dyen like as old men which quencheth a strong & a right grete fflame of fyre by castyng in of moche watir, and olde men dyen as a fyre which stynteth and wasteth itself or as a candel & the matche in a lampe of oyle consumith withoute doyng violence & withoute any force & strength. I make eftsonys anothir comparison of deth whiche comyth both to yong & olde men ffor as the appils & othir fruytes hangyng on the trees be by force plucked in the meanetyme whiles they be rawe & newe & when they be ripe & melowe by the heete of the sonne they fallen of with their free & playne will & so the deth takith awey by hir violente force the life of yong men and the ripnesse of olde age takith awey the life of olde men softely and withoute force. And this deth whiche comith by ripnesse of long age is so ioyfull and so agreable to me in so moche as I shall applye and come more nygh to it in a convenient season. The deth is also to me noon othirwise ioyfull or agreable than shuld be to me the deye londe if me thought that I shulde see it when I seyle in a ship or swymme in the see to the porte or havyn. And that it were likly that I shuld come to the porte or havyn aftir that I have sey∣led and vyaged long upon the see. That is to witt that deth which comith to the wise man aftir long age is like the porte or haven that men see from ferr in seylyng upon the see whiche doth grete ioye when men be upon the river into the haven warde and to have takyn their porte salve ffor the drede of the parelles and dangers of rokkes sandys and grete tempestys be than passid chaungid and turned in saftee and rest.
[tr. Worcester/Worcester/Scrope (1481)]

Therefore, young men, in mine opinion, seem so to die as when a raging and violent flame of fire is quenched, with a great quantity or effusion of water; but old men die as if it were fire, which, lacking wood and cumbustible matter to nourish it, goeth out quietly and is quenched, as though it were of his own accord, not forcibly. And as apples which are green and unripe are not plucked from the tree but by a certain violent plucking, but if they be ripe and mellow they fall voluntarily down from teh tree; so likewise, young men depart out of their life by violent force and painful struggling, but old men die by a certain ripeness and maturity. And as often as I think thereon, I am rapt with such joy and comfort, that the nearer I draw and approach to death, the sooner, methink, I see the dry land, and (as it were, afer a long navigation and seafaring voyage) shall at length arrive at the quiet haven ahd port of all rest and security.
[tr. Newton (1569)]

Therefore a young man seemeth to me to die like fire put out with water, but old men like fire which being put out by no force, is quietly consumed of it selfe; and as apples on trees being not ripe, are plucked of by violence, but being ripe they fall of themselves: so force taketh away the life of young men, but ripenesse of age the life of old men: which consideration is so pleasant to me, that I seem to behold the earth, as a quiet port, whither after a long and troublesome navigation I shall arrive.
[tr. Austin (1648), ch. 21]

All things which Nature did ordain, are good,
And so must be receiv'd, and understood,
Age, like ripe Apples, on earth's bosom drops,
Whil'st force our youth, like fruits untimely crops;
The sparkling flame of our warm blood expires,
As when huge streams are pour'd on raging fires,
But age unforc'd falls by her own consent,
As Coals to ashes, when the Spirit's spent;
Therefore to death I with such joy resort,
As Seamen from a Tempest to their Port.
[tr. Denham (1669)]

For this Reason, I think it not so improper, to compare the Death of Youth to Flames extinguished, by a violent and suddain Splash of Water; and that of Riper Years, to such a Fire, as without any Violence, goes out, when all its Fewel is decayed and spent. And as Fruit, when it is green, is torn and plucked with Violence from the Boughs, which, when become more ripe and mellow, falls gently of it self: so Youth departs this Life with Violent Strugles, while Old Age drops off mature with Years. And indeed the Prospect of this is so far from being unpleasant, that the nearer it is, the more delightful does it seem: nor is it less grateful, than the Sight of land can be to one, quite tired with a long and tedious Voyage.
[tr. Hemming (1716)]

Thus the Youthful seem, I think, to die like Fire forcibly quench'd with Water, whereas the Aged go smoothly off, and like the Fire burnt to the last Spark, need no Force to be extinguished; or as green Fruit which must be plucked from the Trees, but when ripe falls off it self. Thus do the Young die with Repugnancy, and the Old fall with Maturity. So that Life becomes the pleasanter to me, the nearer I approach its End, thinking to myself the Earth is my Harbour, into which I shall arrive, after a long and tedious Voyage.
[tr. J. D. (1744)]

For Young Men seem to be forced from Life, as Fires are extinguished by great Quantities of Water thrown on them; when on the contrary, Old Men expire of themselves, like a Flame when all its Fuel is spent. And as unripe Fruit requires some Force to part it from its native Bough; but when come to full Maturity, it drops of itself, without any Hand to touch it: So Young People die by something violent or unnatural; but the Old by mere Ripeness. The Thoughts of which to me are now become so agreeable, that the nearer I draw to my End, it seems like discovering the Land at Sea, that, after the Tossings of a tedious and stormy Voyage, will yield me a safe and quiet Harbour.
[tr. Logan (1744)]

In the latter instance [youth]; the privation of life may be resembled to a fire forcibly extinguished by a deluge of water; in the former [an old man], to a fire spontaneously and gradually going out from a total consumption of its fuel. Or, to have recourse to another illustration; as fruit before it is ripe cannot, without some degree of force, be separated from the stalk, but drops of itself when perfectly mature; so the disunion of the soul and body is effected in the young by dint of violence, but is wrought in the old by a mere fullness and completion of years. This ripeness for death I perceive in myself with much satisfaction; and I look forward to my dissolution as to a secure haven, where I shall at length find a happy repose from the fatigues of a long voyage.
[tr. Melmoth (1773)]

Therefore young men seem to me to die just as when the force of flame is suddenly overpowered by a mass of water; but old men, just as fire that is spent is extinguished of itself, no violence having been applied to it. And, as apples are pulled from trees by force, if they are unripe; if ripe and mellowed, they fall down; so force takes away life from young men, maturity from old men; which maturity to me, indeed, is so pleasant, that the nearer I approach to death, I seem, as it were, to behold land, and to be about to come, at length, into port form a long voyage.
[Cornish Bros. ed. (1847)]

And thus it is that young men seem to me to die, just as when the violence of flame is extinguished by a flood of water; whereas old men die, as the exhausted fire goes out, spontaneously, without the exertion of any force: and as fruits when they are green are plucked by force from the trees, but when ripe and mellow drop off, so violence takes away their lives from youths, maturity from old men; a state which to me indeed is so delightful, that the nearer I approach to death, I seem as it were to be getting sight of land, and at length, after a long voyage, to be just coming into harbour.
[tr. Edmonds (1874)]

Thus young men seem to me to die as when a fierce flame is extinguished by a stream of water; while old men die as when a spent fire goes out of its own accord, without force employed to quench it. Or, as apples, if unripe, are violently wrenched from the tree, while, mature and ripened, they fall, so force takes life from the young, maturity from the old; and this ripeness of old age is to me so pleasant, that, in proportion as I draw near to death, I seem to see land, and after a long voyage to be on the point of entering the harbor.
[tr. Peabody (1884)]

Accordingly, the death of young men seems to me like putting out a great fire with a deluge of water; but old men die like a fire going out because it has burnt down of its own nature without artificial means. Again, just as apples when unripe are torn from trees, but when ripe and mellow drop down, so it is violence that takes life from young men, ripeness from old. This ripeness is so delightful to me, that, as I approach nearer to death, I seem as it were to be sighting land, and to be coming to port at last after a long voyage.
[tr. Shuckburgh (1895)]

The death of the young seems to me to resemble the sudden extinction of a flame with volumes of water; the old seem rather to die as a fire which flickers out of itself.
[ed. Harbottle (1906)]

To them it comes
It seems to me, as when a fire is quenched
By streams of water: to the old it comes
As when a fire dies slowly down itself:
Just so the apples, when unripe, are torn
With violence from the boughs: if ripe with age
They gently fall: and so the life of youth
Is taken by some violent attack;
The old man's troublous age comes gently to an end.
To me this seems so pleasant, that I feel
The nearer that I draw towards the end,
I sight the land, and see before my eyes
The harbour waiting to receive the bark
Which long as voyaged on the toilsome sea.
[tr. Allison (1916)]

It seems to me that the death of a young man is like the drowning of a blazing flame by a flood of water, whereas the death of the old is like the gradual, utterly gentle and spontaneous flickering out of a fire that has used up its fuel. Fruits, too, if they are green, must be forcefully pulled from the bough, but if they are ripe and mellow, they drop off. So it is with the life of man: from the young, it is taken by violence, from the old, by the fullness of time. This is a thought that gives me great comfort; as I come closer and closer to death, I seem, so to speak, to see the land and to be at last about to come into harbor after a long sea-journey.
[tr. Copley (1967)]

Death at an early age seems to me like a fire that has suddenly been swamped by a bucket of water; but death in old age is like a fire that has not been extinguished but has gone out of its own accord, because it has used up all its fuel. When an apple is not yet ripe, it takes some work to tug it off the branch; but when it is fully ripe, it simply falls to the ground. In the same way, though some act of violence may snatch life from the young, the old are ready to die. And that to me is a pleasant thought -- so much so that the nearer I get to death, the more I feel like a sailor who, after a long voyage, has made landfall and is about to tie up in his home port.
[tr. Cobbold (2012)]

When a young person dies, it seems to me to be like a vigorous flame being put out by a fire hose; with old people, on the other hand, the flame is extinguished, having burned itself out on its own accord with no violent outside force. When unripe apples are plucked from trees it takes real force, but the mature and mellow ones fall gently and naturally. Violence carries life away from the young, from the old it is ripeness. And, you know, the ripeness is so pleasant to me that the nearer I approach death, the more I see it as land and that at last I am about to come into port after a long voyage.
[tr. Gerberding (2014)]

Therefore young people, it seems to me, pass
Away like tall flames put out by a large mass
Of water while old men die out like the fumes
Of an unquenchable fire which consumes
Itself without recourse to another force.
And just as unripe fruits are hard to pluck
From the trees to which they’re closely stuck,
But once mature and fully grown
Drop down to the ground on their own,
So young lives are cut down by ferocity
While old ones are spent by maturity.
A maturity to me so suave
The nearer I get to the grave.
It also seems to me as though
I were almost shouting land-ho!
On reaching the port of destination
After a very long navigation.
[tr. Bozzi (2015)]

A young person dying reminds me of a fire extinguished by a deluge. But when an old person dies, it is like a flame that diminishes gradually and flickers away of its own accord with no force applied after its fuel has been used up. In the same way, green apples are hard to pick from a tree, but when ripe and ready they fall to the ground by themselves. So death comes to the young with force, but to the old when the time is right. To me there is great comfort in this idea, so that as death grows nearer, the more I feel like a traveler who at last sees the land of his home port after a long voyage.
[tr. Freeman (2016)]

Added on 7-Dec-20 | Last updated 18-Jan-24
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More quotes by Cicero, Marcus Tullius

It was later that the story of Windle Poons really came to an end, if “story” means all that he did and caused and set in motion. In the Ramtop village where they dance the real Morris dance, for example, they believe that no one is finally dead until the ripples they cause in the world die away — until the clock he wound up winds down, until the wine she made has finished its ferment, until the crop they planted is harvested. The span of someone’s life, they say, is only the core of their actual existence.

Terry Pratchett (1948-2015) English author
Reaper Man (1991)
Added on 29-May-17 | Last updated 5-Jan-24
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Every hour wounds. The last one kills.


Neil Gaiman (b. 1960) British author, screenwriter, fabulist
American Gods, epigraph (2001)

Gaiman notes this as an "old saying." It is frequently found on sun dials or other clocks, sometimes in Latin. Variations:
  • "All hours wound; the last one kills."
  • "All the hours wound you, the last one kills."
  • "They all wound; the last one kills."
  • "Vulnerant omnes, ultima necat."
  • "Omnes vulnerant. Postuma necat."
Added on 17-Nov-16 | Last updated 17-Nov-16
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You may get a large amount of truth into a brief space.

Beecher - into a brief space - wist_info quote

Henry Ward Beecher (1813-1887) American clergyman and orator
Added on 11-Mar-16 | Last updated 11-Mar-16
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sandman 43 p05

BERNIE: But I did okay, didn’t I? I mean I got, what, fifteen thousand years. That’s pretty good, isn’t it? I lived a pretty long time.

DEATH: You lived what anybody gets, Bernie. You got a lifetime. No more. No less. You got a lifetime.

Neil Gaiman (b. 1960) British author, screenwriter, fabulist
Sandman, Book 7. Brief Lives, # 43 “Part 3” (1992-11)
Added on 16-Feb-10 | Last updated 8-Feb-24
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