Quotations about:
    live in the present


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The mill cannot grind with the water that’s past.

George Herbert (1593-1633) Welsh priest, orator, poet.
Jacula Prudentum, or Outlandish Proverbs, Sentences, &c. (compiler), # 153 (1640 ed.)
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Added on 7-Jun-24 | Last updated 7-Jun-24
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So gleams the past, the light of other days,
Which shines, but warms not with its powerless rays.

Lord Byron
George Gordon, Lord Byron (1788-1824) English poet
“Sun of the Sleepless!” Hebrew Melodies (1815)
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Added on 14-Sep-23 | Last updated 14-Sep-23
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When we are children we seldom think of the future. This innocence leaves us free to enjoy ourselves as few adults can. The day we fret about the future is the day we leave our childhood behind.

Patrick Rothfuss
Patrick Rothfuss (b. 1973) American author
The Name of the Wind, ch. 12 “Puzzle Pieces Fitting” (2007)
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Added on 26-Jan-23 | Last updated 26-Jan-23
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If one were to write a book called “The Best Remedy against Self-Torment,” it would be very brief: “Let each day have trouble enough of its own.”

Søren Kierkegaard (1813-1855) Danish philosopher, theologian
Christian Discourses (Christelige Taler), Part 1 “The Cares of the Pagans,” ch. 6 (1848) [tr. Hong (1997)]
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Added on 27-Oct-21 | Last updated 27-Oct-21
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You’ll “start living tomorrow”? Start living today already, Postumus, you’re running out of time. Anyone with sense started living yesterday.

[Cras vives? hodie iam vivere, Postume, serum est:
Ille sapit, quisquis, Postume, vixit heri.]

Marcus Valerius Martial
Martial (AD c.39-c.103) Spanish Roman poet, satirist, epigrammatist [Marcus Valerius Martialis]
Epigrams [Epigrammata], Book 5, epigram 58 (5.58.7-8) (AD 90) [tr. Nisbet (2015)]
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(Source (Latin)). See a related sentiment by Martial in 1.15. Alternate translations:

Thou'lt live to morrow? -- 'tis too late to day:
Hee's wise who yesterday, I liv'd, can say.
[tr. Sherburne (1651)]

Thou'lt live tomorrow? -- this day's life's too late:
He's wise that lived before the present date.
[tr. Fletcher (1656)]

Tomorrow will I live, the fool does say;
Today itself's too late; the wise lived yesterday.
[tr. Cowley (1668), in Hay, "Appendix," ep. 59]

Today to live, ev'n that's too late I say.
The wiseman, Posthumus, liv'd Yesterday.
[tr. Oldmixon (1728)]

You will live, you say, tomorrow; it is late, Posthumus, to live today; he is wise who lived yesterday.
[tr. Amos (1858), ch. 3, ep. 46, noted as Martial Book 5, ep. 59]

You will live tomorrow: even today it is too late to begin to live. He is the wise man, Postumus, who lived yesterday.
[tr. Bohn's Classical (1859)]

To live today, Postumus, is already too late. He is wise, whoever he be, Postumus, who "lived" yesterday.
[tr. Ker (1919)]

"Tomorrow": -- nay, do not this moment delay.
The wise man is he who has lived yesterday.
[tr. Pott & Wright (1921)]

You'll live tomorrow? Now's too late, I say.
He's wise, my Postumus, who lived yesterday.
[tr. Francis & Tatum (1924), #255]

Yes, this is what wise Martial says,
Though in another way:
"It's much too late today to live!
The wise lived yesterday!"
[tr. Marcellino (1968), "To a Crass Procrastinator"]

"Tomorrow"? -- Postumus, today's too late.
The wise man, Postumus, lived yesterday.
[tr. Whigham (1987)]

Will you live tomorrow? It's already overlate, Postumus, to live today. He is wise, Postumus, who lived yesterday.
[tr. Shackleton Bailey (1993)]

Tomorrow? It’s already too late to live today:
He who lived yesterday, Postumus, he is wise.
[tr. Kline (2006)]

Forget tomorrow's teasing long delay.
To make life pleasant, dwell on yesterday.
[tr. Wills (2007)]

Will you live then? Today is late already.
He's wise who did his living yesterday.
[tr. McLean (2014)]

Believe me, wise men don’t say “I shall live to do that,”
Tomorrow’s life is too late; live today.

 
Added on 13-Aug-21 | Last updated 27-Nov-23
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To finish the moment, to find the journey’s end in every step of the road, to live the greatest number of good hours, is wisdom.

Ralph Waldo Emerson
Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882) American essayist, lecturer, poet
“Experience,” Essays: Second Series (1844)
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Added on 2-Oct-18 | Last updated 2-Oct-18
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‘Tis not, believe me, a wise man’s part to say, “I will live.” Tomorrow’s life is too late: live today.

[Non est, crede mihi, sapientis dicere “Vivam”:
Sera nimis vita est crastina: vive hodie.]

Marcus Valerius Martial
Martial (AD c.39-c.103) Spanish Roman poet, satirist, epigrammatist [Marcus Valerius Martialis]
Epigrams [Epigrammata], Book 1, epigram 15 (1.15.11-12) (AD 85-86) [tr. Bohn’s (1859)]
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A sentiment echoed in 5.58. (Source (Latin)). Alternate translations:

Trust me, it is not wise to say,
I'll live; 'twill be too late tomorrow,
Live if thou'rt wise today.
[tr. Oldmixon (1728)]

"I'll live tomorrow," will a wise man say?
Tomorrow is too late, then live today.
[tr. Hay (1755), quoted in Bohn's, but not in Hay's own book]

Tomorrow I shall live, the fool will say. [...]
Wouldst thou be sure of living? Live today.
[tr. Elphinston (1782), Book 2, ep. 45]

No wisdom 'tis to say "I'll soon begin to live."
'Tis late to live tomorrow; live today.
[ed. Harbottle (1897)]

It sorts not, believe me, with wisdom to say "I shall live."
Too late is tomorrow's life; live thou today.
[tr. Ker (1919)]

"I'll live tomorrow," no wise man will say;
Tomorrow is too late. Then live today.
[tr. Francis & Tatum (1924), #10]

To say, "I mean to live," is folly's place:
Tomorrow's life comes late; live, then, today.
[tr. Duff (1929)]

It's not a wise man's part to say
"I'll live," Tomorrow's life is much to late.
Live! Today.
[tr. Bovie (1970)]

Believe me, the wise man does not say "1 shall live." Tomorrow's life is too late. Live today.
[tr. Shackleton Bailey (1993)]

No sage will e'er "I'll live tomorrow" say:
Tomorrow is too late: live thou today.
[tr. WSB]

 
Added on 16-Aug-17 | Last updated 27-Nov-23
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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
 
Added on 7-Sep-16 | Last updated 7-Sep-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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Added on 3-Aug-16 | Last updated 3-Aug-16
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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
 
Added on 15-Jun-16 | Last updated 15-Jun-16
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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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We can draw lessons from the past, but we cannot live in it.

Lyndon B. Johnson (1908-1973) American politician, educator, US President (1963-69)
Speech (1963-12-13), Consumer Advisory Council, Washington, D.C.
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Added on 6-Jun-16 | Last updated 26-Apr-24
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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)
 
Added on 9-May-16 | Last updated 9-May-16
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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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The whole lesson of my life has been that no ‘methods of stimulation’ are of any lasting use. They are indeed like drugs — a stronger dose is needed each time and soon no possible dose is effective. We must not bother about thrills at all. Do the present duty — bear the present pain — enjoy the present pleasure — and leave emotions and ‘experiences’ to look after themselves.

C. S. Lewis (1898-1963) English writer, literary scholar, lay theologian [Clive Staples Lewis]
Letter to Mrs. Ray Garrett (12 Sep 1960)
 
Added on 14-Oct-15 | Last updated 14-Oct-15
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We know nothing of tomorrow; our business is to be good and happy today.

Sydney Smith (1771-1845) English clergyman, essayist, wit
Memoir of the Reverend Sydney Smith, by His Daughter, Lady Holland, Vol. 1, ch. 12 (1855)
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Added on 2-Jan-09 | Last updated 20-Feb-24
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The mind is never satisfied with the objects immediately before it, but is always breaking away from the present moment, and losing itself in schemes of future felicity …. The natural flights of the human mind are not from pleasure to pleasure, but from hope to hope.

Samuel Johnson (1709-1784) English writer, lexicographer, critic
The Rambler, #2 (24 Mar 1750)
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Added on 27-Dec-07 | Last updated 25-Jun-22
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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
Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882) American essayist, lecturer, poet
“Immortality,” Letters and Social Aims (1876)
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Added on 15-Aug-07 | Last updated 14-Mar-22
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People living deeply have no fear of death.

Anaïs Nin (1903-1977) Catalan-Cuban-French author, diarist
Diary (1935-08)
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Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 27-Mar-23
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Reflect upon your present blessings — of which every man has many — not on your past misfortunes, of which all men have some. Fill your glass again, with a merry face and contented heart. Our life on it, but your Christmas shall be merry, and your new year a happy one!

Charles Dickens (1812-1870) English writer and social critic
Sketches by Boz, “Characters,” ch. 2 “A Christmas Dinner” (1833-36)
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Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 27-Dec-22
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