Quotations about:
    memory


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You are always new. The last of your kisses was ever the sweetest; the last smile the brightest; the last movement the gracefullest.

John Keats (1795-1821) English poet
Letter to Fanny Brawne (1820-03)
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Added on 1-Apr-24 | Last updated 1-Apr-24
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I want to visit Memory Lane, I don’t want to live there.

letty pogregin
Letty Cottin Pogrebin (b. 1939) American author, journalist, lecturer, social activist
Deborah, Golda, and Me, ch. 1 (1991)
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Added on 29-Mar-24 | Last updated 29-Mar-24
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Perhaps being old is having lighted rooms
Inside your head, and having people in them, acting.
People you know, yet can’t quite name.

philip larkin
Philip Larkin (1922-1985) English poet, novelist, librarian
“The Old Fools,” High Windows (1974)
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Added on 22-Mar-24 | Last updated 22-Mar-24
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Strephon kissed me in the spring,
Robin in the fall,
But Colin only looked at me
And never kissed at all.

Strephon’s kiss was lost in jest,
Robin’s lost in play,
But the kiss in Colin’s eyes
Haunts me night and day.

Sara Teasdale (1884-1933) American lyrical poet
“The Look,” Love Songs (1918)
    (Source)
 
Added on 12-Feb-24 | Last updated 12-Feb-24
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Just as eating contrary to the inclination is injurious to the health, study without desire spoils the memory, and it retains nothing that it takes in.

Leonardo da Vinci, artist
Leonardo da Vinci (1452-1519) Italian artist, engineer, scientist, polymath
MS. 2038, Bib. Nat. 34 r. [tr. McCurdy (1908)]
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Added on 30-Jan-24 | Last updated 30-Jan-24
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Why is it that we remember with effort but forget without effort? That we learn with effort but stay ignorant without effort? That we are active with effort, and lazy without effort?
 
[Quid est enim, quod cum labore meminimus, sine labore obliuiscimur; cum labore discimus, sine labore nescimus; cum labore strenui, sine labore inertes sumus?]

Augustine of Hippo (354-430) Christian church father, philosopher, saint [b. Aurelius Augustinus]
City of God [De Civitate Dei], Book 22, ch. 22 (22.22) (AD 412-416) [tr. Green (Loeb) (1972)]
    (Source)

(Source (Latin)). Alternate translations:

What is our labour to remember things, our labour to learn, and our ignorance without this labour? our agility got by toil, and our dullness if we neglect it?
[tr. Healey (1610)]

For why is it that we remember with difficulty, and without difficulty forget? learn with difficulty, and without difficulty remain ignorant? are diligent with difficulty, and without difficulty are indolent?
[tr. Dods (1871)]

How difficult it is to remember, how easy to forget; how hard to learn and how easy to be ignorant; how difficult to make an effort and how easy to be lazy.
[tr. Walsh/Honan (1954)]

How is it that what we learn with toil we forget with ease? that it is hard to learn, but easy to be in ignorance? That activity goes against the grain, while indolence is second nature?
[tr. Bettenson (1972)]

Why is it that we remember with such difficulty, but forget so easily? Why is it that we learn with such difficulty, yet so easily remain ignorant? Why is it that we are vigorous with such difficulty, yet so easily inert?
[tr. Dyson (1998)]

 
Added on 18-Dec-23 | Last updated 18-Dec-23
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We hear only half of what is said to us, understand only half of that, believe only half of that, and remember only half of that.

Mignon McLaughlin (1913-1983) American journalist and author
The Neurotic’s Notebook, ch. 5 (1963)
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Added on 12-Dec-23 | Last updated 12-Dec-23
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Childhood is a thing that happens so early you don’t forget it. Everything else you grow out of, but you never recover from childhood.

Beryl Bainbridge
Beryl Bainbridge (1932-2010) English novelist
“Beryl Bainbridge and Her Tenth Novel,” interview by Willa Petschek, New York Times (1981-03-01)
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Added on 25-Oct-23 | Last updated 25-Oct-23
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So, like a forgotten fire, a childhood can always flare up again within us.

Gaston Bachelard
Gaston Bachelard (1884-1962) French philosopher.
The Poetics of Reverie, ch. 3 “Reveries Toward Childhood,” sec. 2 (1969)
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Added on 4-Oct-23 | Last updated 4-Oct-23
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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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Today a man is here; tomorrow he is gone. And when he is out of sight, he is soon out of mind.

[Hodie homo est, et cras non comparet. Cum autem sublatus fuerit ab oculis, etiam cito transit a mente.]

Thomas von Kempen
Thomas à Kempis (c. 1380-1471) German-Dutch priest, author
The Imitation of Christ [De Imitatione Christi], Book 1, ch. 23, v. 1 (1.23.1) (c. 1418-27) [tr. Sherley-Price (1952)]
    (Source)

(Source (Latin)). Alternate translations:

For the common proverb is true: To-day a man , to-morrow none. And when thou art taken out of sight, thou art anon out of mind, and soon shalt thou be forgotten.
[tr. Whitford/Raynal (1530/1871)]

For the common proverb is true: Today a man; tomorrow none. When you are out of sight you are soon out of mind, and soon will be forgotten.
[tr. Whitford/Gardiner (1530/1955)]

To day a man, tomorrow none, and out of sight, out of mind.
[tr. Page (1639)]

To Day the Man is vigorous, and gay, and flourishing, and to Morrow he is cut down, withered and gone. A very little time carries him out of our Sight, and a very little more out of our Remembrance.
[tr. Stanhope (1696; 1706 ed.)]

To-day man is, and to-morrow he is not seen; And when he is once removed from the fight of others, he soon passeth from their remembrance.
[tr. Payne (1803)]

To-day the man is here; to-morrow he hath disappeared. And when he is out of sight, quickly also is he out of mind.
[ed. Parker (1841)]

Man is here to-day, and gone to-morrow: and when once removed from sight, soon perishes from remembrance.
[tr. Dibdin (1851)]

A man is here to-day, and to-morrow he is no longer seen. And when he is taken away from the sight, he is also quickly out of mind.
[ed. Bagster (1860)]

To-day man is, and to-morrow he will be seen no more. And being removed out of sight, quickly also he is out of mind.
[tr. Benham (1874)]

To-day we are here, to-morrow we disappear, and when we are gone, quickly also we are out of mind.
[tr. Anon. (1901)]

Today we live; tomorrow we die and are quickly forgotten.
[tr. Croft/Bolton (1940)]

Today man is; and tomorrow he has vanished. But when he is taken out of sight he also soon passes out of mind.
[tr. Daplyn (1952)]

Here man is today; tomorrow, he is lost to view; and once a man is out of sight, it's not long before he passes out of mind.
[tr. Knox-Oakley (1959)]

A man is here today and gone tomorrow, and once he is out of our sight it is not long before he is out of our minds as well.
[tr. Knott (1962)]

Today a man is and tomorrow he is gone. When he has been removed from our sight he is soon out of mind as well.
[tr. Rooney (1979)]

Today we are, and tomorrow we are gone. And when we are taken out of sight, we soon pass out of mind.
[tr. Creasy (1989)]

 
Added on 23-Aug-23 | Last updated 28-Sep-23
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Those were great old days, (but darn it any old days are great old days. Even the tough ones, after they are over, you can look back with great memories.)

Will Rogers (1879-1935) American humorist
“Weekly Article” column (1935-06-02)
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Added on 17-Aug-23 | Last updated 17-Aug-23
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“Is it true that your life passes before your eyes before you die?”

YES.

“Ghastly thought, really.” Rincewind shuddered. “Oh, gods, I’ve just had another one. Suppose I am about to die and this is my whole life passing in front of my eyes?”

I THINK PERHAPS YOU DO NOT UNDERSTAND. PEOPLE’S WHOLE LIVES DO PASS IN FRONT OF THEIR EYES BEFORE THEY DIE. THE PROCESS IS CALLED “LIVING.”

Terry Pratchett (1948-2015) English author
The Last Continent [Death and Rincewind] (1999)
    (Source)

Often paraphrased as something like:

It is said that your life flashes before your eyes just before you die. That is true, it’s called Life.
 
Added on 9-Jul-23 | Last updated 9-Jul-23
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Try as we will, we cannot honestly recall our youth, for we have lost the feel of its main ingredient: suspense.

Mignon McLaughlin (1913-1983) American journalist and author
The Neurotic’s Notebook, ch. 3 (1963)
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Added on 25-May-23 | Last updated 25-May-23
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Princes like to be helped, but not surpassed. When you counsel someone, you should appear to be reminding him of something he had forgotten, not of the light he was unable to see.

[Gustan de ser ayudados los príncipes, pero no excedidos, y que el aviso haga antes viso de recuerdo de lo que olvidaba que de luz de lo que no alcanzó.]

Baltasar Gracián y Morales (1601-1658) Spanish Jesuit priest, writer, philosopher
The Art of Worldly Wisdom [Oráculo Manual y Arte de Prudencia], § 7 (1647) [tr. Maurer (1992)]
    (Source)

(Source (Spanish)). Alternate translations:

Princes are willing to be assisted, but not surpassed. Those who advise them ought to speak as if they put them in mind of what they forgot, and not as teaching them what they knew not.
[Flesher ed. (1685)]

They [princes] will allow a man to help them but not to surpass them, and will have any advice tendered them appear like a recollection of something they have forgotten rather than as a guide to something they cannot find.
[tr. Jacobs (1892)]

They [kings] may abide being helped, but not surpassed, wherefore let advice given them appear more a jog to what they forgot, than a light to what they could not find.
[tr. Fischer (1937)]

 
Added on 9-May-23 | Last updated 9-May-23
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I don’t think about whether people will remember me or not. I’ve been an okay person. I’ve learned a lot. I’ve taught people a thing or two. That’s what’s important. Sooner or later the public will forget you, the memory of you will fade. What’s important are the individuals you’ve influenced along the way.

Julia Child
Julia Child (1912-2004) American chef and writer
“What I’ve Learned: Julia Child,” interview by Mike Sager, Esquire (2001-06)
    (Source)

Reprinted in Brendan Vaughan, Esquire: The Meaning of Life (2004)
 
Added on 23-Mar-23 | Last updated 3-Aug-23
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We hear only half of what is said to us, understand only half of that, believe only half of that, and remember only half of that.

Mignon McLaughlin (1913-1983) American journalist and author
The Neurotic’s Notebook, ch. 5 (1963)
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Added on 23-Mar-23 | Last updated 23-Mar-23
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Memory is a crazy woman that hoards colored rags and throws away food.

Austin O'Malley
Austin O'Malley (1858-1932) American ophthalmologist, professor of literature, aphorist
Keystones of Thought (1914)
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Added on 22-Mar-23 | Last updated 22-Mar-23
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Let us learn from the lips of death the lessons of life. Let us live truly while we live, live for what is true and good and lasting. And let the memory of our dead help us to do this. For they are not wholly separated from us, if we remain loyal to them. In spirit they are with us. And we may think of them as silent, invisible, but real presences in our households.

Felix Adler
Felix Adler (1851-1933) German-American educator
Life and Destiny, Lecture 8 “Suffering and Consolation” (1903)
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Added on 20-Mar-23 | Last updated 20-Mar-23
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The fact I asked you last night
To come round this evening and dine,
Procillus, would seem to be due
To that fifth or sixth bottle of wine.
To think it entirely arranged
And take notes on the nonsense you hear
Is a hazardous way to behave —
D–n a drinker whose memory’s clear!

[Hesterna tibi nocte dixeramus,
Quincunces puto post decem peractos,
Cenares hodie, Procille, mecum.
Tu factam tibi rem statim putasti
Et non sobria verba subnotasti
Exemplo nimium periculoso:
Μισῶ μνάμονα συμπόταν, Procille.]

Marcus Valerius Martial
Martial (AD c.39-c.103) Spanish Roman poet, satirist, epigrammatist [Marcus Valerius Martialis]
Epigrams [Epigrammata], Book 1, epigram 27 (1.27) (AD 85-86) [tr. Nixon (1911), “A Alleybi’s the Thing”]
    (Source)

"To Procillus." The Greek phrase, attested to elsewhere in Classical literature, reads, as variously translated here, "I dislike a drinking companion who remembers."

(Source (Latin)). Alternate translations:

I had this day carroust the thirteenth cup,
And was both slipper-tong'd, and idle-brain'd,
And said by chance, that you with me should sup.
You thought hereby, a supper cleerely gain'd:
And in your Tables you did quote it up.
Uncivill ghest, that hath been so ill train'd!
Worthy thou are hence supperlesse to walke,
That tak'st advantage of our Table-talke.
[tr. Harington (fl. c. 1600)]

To sup with me, to thee I did propound,
But 'twas when our full cups had oft gone round.
The thing thou straight concludest to be done,
Merry and sober words counting all one.
Th' example's dangerous at the highest rate;
A memorative drunkard all men hate.
[tr. Killigrew (1695)]

Yesternight, it seems, I swore,
Fifty bumpers hardly o'er,
You should sup tonight with me;
Instant you devour'd the glee;
And would bind the words of drink:
Dang'rous precedent, I think.
Wofull partner of the bowl,
Proves a reminiscent soul.
[tr. Elphinston (1782), Book 7, ep. 17]

Last night I had invited you -- after some fifty glasses, I suppose, had been despatched -- to sup with me today. You immediately thought your fortune was made, and took note of my unsober words, with a precedent but too dangerous. I hate a boon companion whose memory is good, Procillus.
[tr. Bohn's Classical (1859)]

Last night I said to you (I think it was after I had got through ten half-pints): "Dine with me today, Procillus." You at once thought the matter settled for you, and took secret note of my unsober remark -- a precedent too dangerous! "I hate a messmate with a memory," Procillus.
[tr. Ker (1919)]

I may have asked you here to dine,
But that was late at night,
And none of us had spared the wine
If I remember right.
You thought the invitation meant,
Though wine obscured my wit!
And -- O most parous precedent --
You made a note of it!
The maxim that in Greece was true
Is true in Rome today --
"I hate a fellow-toper who
Remembers what I say."
[tr. Pott & Wright (1921), "'Tis Wise to Forget"]

After ten cups were put away
I said, "Procillus," yesterday,
"You'll dine with me, my friend, you're wanted."
You promptly took the thing for granted
And made a note without formality
Of my incautious hospitality;
A dangerous precedent to set;
I hate a guest who won't forget.
[tr. Francis & Tatum (1924), #16]

Last night I said, while feeling fine,
Having drunk much too much wine,
That you must promise, when this way,
To stop and dine with me some day.
You made a mental note of it,
A practice which, I must admit --
Taking me at my drunken word! --
Is dangerous and quite absurds.
Barroom promises are fine,
But he who keeps them is a swine!
[tr. Marcellino (1968)]

Last night in my cups,
or my brandy tumbler, at least,
I asked you for dinner today.
But you took me seriously, Procillus,
and noted down carefully the words I spouted
under the influence. A dangerous business.
I don't like to drink with people who remember.
[tr. Bovie (1970)]

Last night, after five pints of wine,
I said, "Procillus, come and dine
Tomorrow." You assumed I meant
What I said (a dangerous precedent)
And slyly jotted down a note
Of my drunk offer. Let me quote
A proverb from the Greek: "I hate
An unforgetful drinking mate."
[tr. Michie (1972)]

Last night when I was carried off with wine
I made you promise to drop by and dine
With me today. Only a fool or a turd
Expects a drunken man to keep his word.
[tr. O'Connell (1991), "Bummer"]

Last night after getting through four pints or so I asked you to dine with me this evening, Procillus. You thought you had the matter settled then and there, and made a mental note of my tipsy words -- a very dangerous precedent. I don't like a boozing partner with a memory, Procillus.
[tr. Shackleton Bailey (1993)]

When drinks I had beyond my number,
I thought I would myself encumber
With a pledge to give you lunch today.
You wrote it down with great display
As if to register disputed votes.
I hate a tippler taking notes.
[tr. Wills (2007)]

Last night, Procillus, after I had drunk
four pints or so, I asked if you would dine
with me today. At once, you thought the matter
was settled, based on statements blurred by wine --
a risky precedent. Good memory
is odious in one who drinks with me.
[tr. McLean (2014)]

Last night I invited you,
after we killed, what, fifty-something cups,
to come and eat some food with me today.
Right then and there you thought the thing was done
and took me at my not-so-sober word.
A very risky thing to do: I hate
a drinking bud whose memory is good.

[tr. Goldman (2022)]

 
Added on 25-Feb-23 | Last updated 27-Nov-23
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Life brings no greater grief
Than happiness remembered in a time
Of sorrow.

[Nessun maggior dolore
Che ricordarsi del tempo felice
Ne la miseria.]

Dante Alighieri the poet
Dante Alighieri (1265-1321) Italian poet
The Divine Comedy [Divina Commedia], Book 1 “Inferno,” Canto 5, l. 121ff (5.121-123) [Francesca] (1309) [tr. James (2013), l. 141ff]
    (Source)

Francesca de Rimini is responding to Dante's request to speak of her love affair while in the middle of being punished for it. It is a true (if slanted) tale that occurred when Dante was a young man. Francesca da Polenta wed the crippled Giovanni Malatesta de Rimini, but fell in adulterous love with his brother, Paolo. Upon discovery of their affair, Giovanni killed them both. This was a local scandal, and would have been lost to time if Dante had not recorded it here. He relegates the lovers to the "least" eternal punishment in Hell, in the circle of carnal sins -- while Giovanni (who was still alive when this was written) is doomed to a lower circle for the murder (treachery to kindred). (More info.)

Inspiration for this particular phrase has been credited to many sources: Wisdom 11:11-12, Boethius (Consolation of Philosophy, 2.4.3-6), and Pindar (Pythian 4.510-512) are the most common. Augustine (Confessions 10.14) and Thomas Aquinas have also been cited.

(Source (Italian)). Alternate translations:

No greater grief assails us [...]
Than in unhappy hours to recollect
A better time.
[tr. Rogers (1782)]

Oh! how grievous to relate
Past joys, and tread again the paths of fate.
[tr. Boyd (1802), st. 23]

No greater grief than to remember days
Of joy, when mis'ry is at hand!
[tr. Cary (1814)]

No keener pang hath hell.
Than to recall, amid some deep distress,
Our happier time.
[tr. Dayman (1843)]

There is no greater pain than to recall a happy time in wretchedness.
[tr. Carlyle (1849)]

There is no greater grief
Than to remember happiness in woe.
[tr. Bannerman (1850)]

No greater grief than this,
Mem'ry to hold of the past happy time
In misery.
[tr. Johnston (1867)]

There is no greater sorrow
Than to be mindful of the happy time
In misery.
[tr. Longfellow (1867)]

No greater woe is there than to call to mind the happy time in your misery.
[tr. Butler (1885)]

There is no greater grief
Than to remember us of happy time
In misery.
[tr. Minchin (1885)]

There is no greater woe than in misery to remember the happy time.
[tr. Norton (1892)]

No deeper sorrow is, than to recall a time of happiness, in misery's hour.
[tr. Sullivan (1893)]

There is no greater sorrow
Than to recall to memory times of gladness
In misery.
[tr. Griffith (1908)]

There is no greater pain than to recall the happy time in misery.
[tr. Sinclair (1939)]

No grief surpasses this [...]
In the midst of misery to remember bliss.
[tr. Binyon (1943)]

The bitterest woe of woes
Is to remember in our wretchedness
Old happy times.
[tr. Sayers (1949)]

The double grief of a lost bliss
is to recall its happy hour in pain.
[tr. Ciardi (1954), ll. 118-19]

There is no greater sorrow than to recall, in wretchedness, the happy time.
[tr. Singleton (1970)]

There is no greater pain
than to remember, in our present grief,
past happiness!
[tr. Musa (1971)]

There is no greater sorrow
than thinking back upon a happy time
in misery.
[tr. Mandelbaum (1980)]

There is no greater sorrow
Than to think backwards to a happy time,
When one is miserable.
[tr. Sisson (1981)]

No sadness
Is greater than in misery to rehearse
Memories of joy.
[tr. Pinsky (1994), l. 107ff]

There is no greater pain than to remember the happy time in wretchedness.
[tr. Durling (1996)]

There is no greater pain, than to remember happy times in misery.
[tr. Kline (2002)]

There is no greater pain, I fear,
than to recall past joy in present hell.
[tr. Carson (2002)]

There is no sorrow greater
than, in times of misery, to hold at heart
the memory of happiness.
[tr. Kirkpatrick (2006)]

There is no greater sorrow
than to recall our time of joy
in wretchedness.
[tr. Hollander/Hollander (2007)]

No sadness afflicts the heart
More than recalling, in times of utter disaster,
Sweetened days in which we knew no darkness.
[tr. Raffel (2010)]

What's sadder than remembering
The happy past when you're feeling wretched?
[tr. Bang (2012)]

 
Added on 23-Dec-22 | Last updated 1-Oct-23
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More quotes by Dante Alighieri

Few people remember having been young, and how hard they found it to be chaste and sober.

[Peu de gens se souviennent d’avoir été jeunes, et combien il leur était difficile d’être chastes et tempérants.]

Jean de La Bruyere
Jean de La Bruyère (1645-1696) French essayist, moralist
The Characters [Les Caractères], ch. 11 “Of Mankind [De l’Homme],” § 112 (11.112) (1688) [tr. Stewart (1970)]
    (Source)

(Source (French)). Alternate translations:

Few people remember that they have been young, and how hard it was then to live chaste and temperate.
[Bullord ed. (1696)]

Few People remember they have been Young, and how hard it was then to live Chaste and Temperate.
[Curll ed. (1713)]

Few remember that they have been young, and how hard it was then to live chaste and temperate.
[Browne ed. (1752)]

Few men remember that they have been young, and how hard it was then to live chaste and temperate.
[tr. Van Laun (1885)]

 
Added on 20-Dec-22 | Last updated 6-Jun-23
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Not anything is more responsible for the good old days than the fact that the grownups of one generation always remember the world as it looked to them in their young days, not as it looked to their elders.

No picture available
Marcelene Cox (1900-1998) American writer, columnist, aphorist
“Ask Any Woman” column, Ladies’ Home Journal (1960-05)
    (Source)
 
Added on 28-Nov-22 | Last updated 27-Mar-23
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In any man who dies there dies with him,
his first snow and kiss and fight.

[И если умирает человек,
с ним умирает первый его снег,
и первый поцелуй, и первый бой…]

Yevgeny Yevtushenko
Yevgeny Yevtushenko (1933-2017) Russian poet, writer, film director, academic [Евге́ний Евтуше́нко, Evgenij Evtušenko]
“People” (1961), l. 12ff, Selected Poems (1962)
    (Source)
 
Added on 15-Aug-22 | Last updated 15-Aug-22
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Sweet is the remembrance of troubles when you are in safety.

Euripides (485?-406? BC) Greek tragic dramatist
Andromeda [Ἀνδρομέδα], Frag. 131 (TGF) (412 BC)
    (Source)

(Source (Greek)). Alternate translations:

'Tis sweet to recollect past toils in safety.
[tr. Wodhull (1809)]

Sweet is the memory of toils that are past.
[tr. Reid (1883), in Cicero, De Finibus, 2.105]

Sweet is the memory of sorrows past.
[tr. Rackham (1914), in Cicero, De Finibus, 2.105]

 
Added on 9-Aug-22 | Last updated 9-Aug-22
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Our memories are card-indexes consulted and then put back in disorder by authorities whom we do not control.

Cyril Connolly (1903-1974) English intellectual, literary critic and writer.
The Unquiet Grave, Part 3 “La Clé des Chants” (1944)
    (Source)
 
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Memory, as we all know, is fitful and phantasmagoric. History is organized memory, and the organization is all-important.

Henry Steele Commager (1902-1998) American historian, writer, activist
The Nature and the Study of History, ch. 1 (1965)
    (Source)
 
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All the Dachaus must remain standing. The Dachaus, the Belsens, the Buchenwalds, the Auschwitzes — all of them. They must remain standing because they are a monument to a moment in time when some men decided to turn the Earth into a graveyard. Into it they shoveled all of their reason, their logic, their knowledge, but worst of all, their conscience. And the moment we forget this, the moment we cease to be haunted by its remembrance, then we become the gravediggers.

Rod Serling (1924-1975) American screenwriter, playwright, television producer, narrator
The Twilight Zone, 3×09 “Deaths-Head Revisited,” Epilogue (10 Nov 1961)
 
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Nostalgia for what we have lost is more bearable than nostalgia for what we have never had, for the first involves knowledge and pleasure, the second only ignorance and pain.

Mignon McLaughlin (1913-1983) American journalist and author
The Neurotic’s Notebook, ch. 4 (1963)
    (Source)
 
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There are two cinemas: the films we have actually seen and the memories we have of them. The gap between the two widens over the years.

Molly Haskell
Molly Haskell (b. 1939) American feminist film critic and author.
From Reverence to Rape: The Treatment of Women in the Movies (3rd ed, 2016; orig 1973)
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At the moment, for example, in 1984 (if it was 1984), Oceania was at war with Eurasia and in alliance with Eastasia. In no public or private utterance was it ever admitted that the three powers had at any time been grouped along different lines. Actually, as Winston well knew, it was only four years since Oceania had been at war with Eastasia and in alliance with Eurasia. But that was merely a piece of furtive knowledge which he happened to possess because his memory was not satisfactorily under control. Officially, the change of partners had never happened. Oceania was at war with Eurasia: therefore Oceania had always been at war with Eurasia. The enemy of the moment always represented absolute evil, and it followed that any past or future agreement with him was impossible.

George Orwell (1903-1950) English writer [pseud. of Eric Arthur Blair]
Nineteen Eighty-Four, ch. 3 (1949)
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In the middle of the night, things well up from the past that are not always cause for rejoicing — the unsolved, the painful encounters, the mistakes, the reasons for shame or woe. But all, good or bad, give me food for thought, food to grow on.

May Sarton
May Sarton (1912-1995) Belgian-American poet, novelist, memoirist [pen name of Eleanore Marie Sarton]
At Seventy (1984)
    (Source)
 
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I can tell you that solitude
Is not all exaltation, inner space
Where the soul breathes and work can be done.
Solitude exposes the nerve,
Raises up ghosts.
The past, never at rest, flows through it.

May Sarton
May Sarton (1912-1995) Belgian-American poet, novelist, memoirist [pen name of Eleanore Marie Sarton]
“Gestalt at Sixty,” sec. 1 (1972)
    (Source)
 
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To lose a friend, a brother, or a son,
Heaven dooms each mortal, and its will is done:
Awhile they sorrow, then dismiss their care;
Fate gives the wound, and man is born to bear.

[μέλλει μέν πού τις καὶ φίλτερον ἄλλον ὀλέσσαι
ἠὲ κασίγνητον ὁμογάστριον ἠὲ καὶ υἱόν:
ἀλλ᾽ ἤτοι κλαύσας καὶ ὀδυράμενος μεθέηκε:
τλητὸν γὰρ Μοῖραι θυμὸν θέσαν ἀνθρώποισιν.]

Homer (fl. 7th-8th C. BC) Greek author
The Iliad [Ἰλιάς], Book 24, l. 46ff (24.46) [Apollo] (c. 750 BC) [tr. Pope (1715-20)]
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Complaining of Achilles excessive grief over Patroclus. Original Greek. Alternate translations:

Other men a greater loss than he
Have undergone, a son, suppose, or brother of one womb;
Yet, after dues of woes and tears, they bury in his tomb
All their deplorings. Fates have giv’n to all that are true men
True manly patience.
[tr. Chapman (1611), l. 50ff]

For whosoever hath a loss sustain’d
Still dearer, whether of his brother born
From the same womb, or even of his son,
When he hath once bewail’d him, weeps no more,
For fate itself gives man a patient mind.
[tr. Cowper (1791), l. 59ff]

For perhaps some one will lose another more dear, either a brother, or a son; yet does he cease weeping and lamenting, for the Destinies have placed in men an enduring mind.
[tr. Buckley (1860)]

A man may lose his best-lov’d friend, a son,
Or his own mother’s son, a brother dear:
He mourns and weeps, but time his grief allays,
For fate to man a patient mind hath giv’n.
[tr. Derby (1864)]

It must be that many a man lose even some dearer one than was this, a brother of the same womb born or perchance a son; yet bringeth he his wailing and lamentation to an end, for an enduring soul have the Fates given unto men.
[tr. Leaf/Lang/Myers (1891)]

A man may lose one far dearer than Achilles has lost -- a son, it may be, or a brother born from his own mother's womb; yet when he has mourned him and wept over him he will let him bide, for it takes much sorrow to kill a man.
[tr. Butler (1898)]

Lo, it may be that a man hath lost one dearer even than was this -- a brother, that the selfsame mother bare, or haply a son; yet verily when he hath wept and wailed for him he maketh an end; for an enduring soul have the Fates given unto men.
[tr. Murray (1924)]

For a man must some day lose one who was even closer than this; a brother from the same womb, or a son. And yet he weeps for him, and sorrows for him, and then it is over, for the Destinies put in mortal men the heart of endurance.
[tr. Lattimore (1951)]

A sane one may endure an even dearer loss: a blood-brother, a son; and yet, by heaven, having grieved and passed through mourning, he will let it go. The Fates have given patient hearts to men.
[tr. Fitzgerald (1974)]

No doubt some mortal has suffered a dearer loss than this,
a brother born in the same womb, or even a son ...
he grieves, he weeps, but then his tears are through.
The Fates have given mortals hearts that can endure.
[tr. Fagles (1990), l. 54ff]

There is no doubt that a man may have lost someone even dearer,
either a brother by one same mother or even his own son,
yet once he has lamented and wept, he ceases to mourn him,
since mankind is endowed by the Fates with a heart of endurance.
[tr. Merrill (2007), l. 46ff]
 
Added on 10-Mar-21 | Last updated 1-Dec-21
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In religions which have lost their creative spark, the gods eventually become no more than poetic motifs or ornaments for decorating human solitude and walls.

Nikos Kazantzakis (1883-1957) Greek writer and philosopher
Zorba the Greek, ch. 12 (1946)
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For nothing stands out so conspicuously, or remains so firmly fixed in the memory, as something in which you have blundered.

[Nihil est enim tam insigne, nec tam ad diuturnitatem memoriae stabile, quam id, in quo aliquid offenderis.]

Marcus Tullius Cicero (106-43 BC) Roman orator, statesman, philosopher
De Oratore [On the Orator, On Oratory], Book 1, ch. 28 (1.28) / sec. 129 (55 BC) [tr. Sutton/Rackham (1940)]
    (Source)

(Source (Latin)). Alternate translations:

For nothing makes so remarkable, so deep an impression upon the memory as a miscarriage.
[tr. Guthrie (1755)]

For nothing makes so remarkable, so deep an impression upon the memory as a defect.
[Source (1808)]

Nothing, indeed, is so much noticed, or makes an impression of such lasting continuance on the memory, as that in which you give any sort of offense.
[tr. Watson (1860)]

For nothing so immediately attracts attention, or clings so tenaciously to the memory, as any defect.
[tr. Calvert (1870)]

For nothing, we know, strikes us so forcibly or makes such an indelible impression on the memory as that which somehow offends our taste.
[tr. Moor (1892)]

Nothing attracts so much attention, or retains such a hold upon men's memories, as the occasion when you have made a mistake.
[ed. Harbottle (1906)]

For nothing is so conspicuous or so indelibly imprinted on the memory as something that annoys you in any way.
[tr. May/Wisse (2001)]

 
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About six months ago, he stopped recognizing me. Now I no longer recognize him.

Edmund Morris (1940-2019) South African-American writer and biographer
In Newsweek (23 Jan 1996)

On Ronald Reagan and Alzheimer's Disease, quoted while working on the authorized biography, Dutch: A Memoir of Ronald Reagan (1999).
 
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Bright college years, with pleasure rife,
The shortest, gladdest, years of life,
How bright will seem through memory’s haze,
Those happy, golden, bygone days.

(Other Authors and Sources)
Yale song (c. 1900)
 
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There is no more terrible woe upon earth than the woe of the stricken brain, which remembers the days of its strength, the living light of its reason, the sunrise of its proud intelligence, and knows that these have passed away like a tale that is told.

Ouida (1839-1908) English novelist [pseud. of Maria Louise Ramé]
Folle-Farine, Book 3, ch. 3 (1871)
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A man should keep his little brain-attic stocked with all the furniture that he is likely to use, and the rest he can put away in the lumber-room of his library, where he can get it if he wants it.

Arthur Conan Doyle (1859-1930) British writer and physician
“The Five Orange Pips,” The Strand (Nov 1891)
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Happiness isn’t something you experience; it’s something you remember.

Oscar Levant (1906-1972) American pianist, composer, actor, wit
(Attributed)
 
Added on 28-May-20 | Last updated 28-May-20
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Experience makes more timid men than it duz wise ones.

[Experience makes more timid men than it does wise ones.]

Josh Billings (1818-1885) American humorist, aphorist [pseud. of Henry Wheeler Shaw]
Everybody’s Friend, Or; Josh Billing’s Encyclopedia and Proverbial Philosophy of Wit and Humor, “Lobstir Sallad” (1874)
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The way you wear your hat,
The way you sip your tea,
The mem’ry of all that —
No, no! They can’t take that away from me!

Ira Gershwin (1896-1983) American lyricist [b. Israel Gershowitz]
“They Can’t Take That Away from Me”, Shall We Dance (1937)
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I carry you with me into the world, into the smell of rain & the words that dance between people
& for me, it will always be this way,
walking in the light,
remembering being alive together

Brian Andreas (b. 1956) American writer, artist, publisher [birth and pen name of Kai Andreas Skye]
“Living Memory,” StoryPeople
 
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Progress, far from consisting in change, depends on retentiveness. When change is absolute there remains no being to improve and no direction is set for possible improvement: and when experience is not retained, as among savages, infancy is perpetual. Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.

George Santayana (1863-1952) Spanish-American poet and philosopher [Jorge Agustín Nicolás Ruíz de Santayana y Borrás]
The Life of Reason or The Phases of Human Progress, Vol. 1, “Reason in Common Sense,” ch. 12 (1905-1906)
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Often given as "Those who do not remember the past ...." Quoted at the Auschwitz Holocaust Museum, via Polish, as: "The one who does not remember history is bound to live through it again."

Often misattributed to Winston Churchill, who paraphrased it in a Commons speech in 1948: "Those who fail to learn from history are condemned to repeat it."
 
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There is no use talking as if forgiveness were easy. We all know the old joke, “You’ve given up smoking once; I’ve given it up a dozen times.” In the same way I could say of a certain man, “Have I forgiven him for what he did that day? I’ve forgiven him more times than I can count.” For we find that the work of forgiveness has to be done over and over again. We forgive, we mortify our resentment; a week later some chain of thought carries us back to the original offence and we discover the old resentment blazing away as if nothing had been done about it at all. We need to forgive our brother seventy times seven not only for 490 offences but for one offence.

C. S. Lewis (1898-1963) English writer, literary scholar, lay theologian [Clive Staples Lewis]
Reflections on the Psalms, ch. 3 “The Cursings” (1958)
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Yes, he thought, between grief and nothing I will take grief.

William Faulkner (1897-1962) American novelist
The Wild Palms [If I Forget Thee, Jerusalem], ch. 9 (1939)
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A good man can expand his life: he lives
twice over whose past life can be enjoyed.

[Ampliat ætatis spatium sibi vir bonus. Hoc est
Vivere bis, vita posse priore frui.]

Marcus Valerius Martial
Martial (AD c.39-c.103) Spanish Roman poet, satirist, epigrammatist [Marcus Valerius Martialis]
Epigrams [Epigrammata], Book 10, epigram 23 (10.23.8-9) (AD 95, 98 ed.) [tr. McLean (2014)]

"To Antonius Primus." (Source (Latin)). Alternate translations:

Thus good men to themselves long life can give,
T' enjoy our former life is twice to live.
[tr. May (1629)]

Each must, in vertue, strive for to excell;
That man lives twice, that lives the first life well.
[tr. Herrick (1648)]

He liveth twice, who can the Gift retain
Of Mem'ry, to enjoy past Life again.
[tr. Cotton (1685)]

Thus a good man prolongs his mortal date;
Lives twice, enjoying thus his former slate.
[tr. Hay (1755)]

For he lives twice who can at once employ
The present well, and e'en the past enjoy.
[tr. Pope (1713)]

They stretch the limits of this narrow span;
And, by enjoying, live past life again.
[tr. Lewis (1750)]

A good man amplifies the span of his existence ; for this is to live twice, to be able to find enjoyment in past life.
[tr. Amos (1858); he gives several other contemporary uses and translations.]

A good man lengthens his term of existence; to be able to enjoy our past life is to live twice.
[tr. Bohn's Classical (1859)]

So good men lengthen life; and to recall
The past, is to have twice enjoyed it all.
[tr. Stevenson (c. 1883)]

The good man prolongs his life; to be able to enjoy one's past life is to live twice.
[Bartlett's (1891)]

A good man has a double span of life,
For to enjoy past life is twice to live.
[ed. Harbottle (1897)]

A good man widens for himself his age's span; he lives twice who can find delight in life bygone.
[tr. Ker (1919)]

Redoubled happiness and life hath he
Whose joy doth live again in memory.
[tr. Pott & Wright (1921)]

The good man lengthens out his earthly skein,
For living in the past is life again.
[tr. Francis & Tatum (1924), #525]

A good man's life is doubly long,
For he lives twice who, day and night,
Can in his whole past take delight.
[tr. Marcellino (1968)]

Virtue extends our days: he lives two lives who relives his past with pleasure.
[Bartlett's (1968)]

A good man enlarges for himself his span of life. To be able to enjoy former life is to live twice over.
[tr. Shackleton Bailey (1993)]

The good man has no ugly past he would forget,
So memory gives him doubled life without regret.
[tr. Ericsson (1995)]

He does not deplore life's brevity.
For virtue is itself longevity.
[tr. Wills (2007)]

When I remember,
success, failure,
friend, enemy,
wife, lover
I live twice over.
[tr. Kennelly (2008), "Living"]

A good man can expand his life: he lives
twice over whose past life can be enjoyed.
[tr. McLean (2014)]

The good man broadens for himself the span of his years: to be able to enjoy the life you have spent, is to live it twice.
[tr. Nisbet (2015)]

 
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One of the keys to happiness is a bad memory.

Rita Mae Brown (b. 1944) American author, playwright
(Attributed)
 
Added on 14-May-18 | Last updated 14-May-18
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HAL: Just what do you think you’re doing, Dave? Dave, I really think I’m entitled to an answer to that question. I know everything hasn’t been quite right with me, but I can assure you now, very confidently, that it’s going to be all right again. I feel much better now. I really do. Look, Dave, I can see you’re really upset about this. I honestly think you ought to sit down calmly, take a stress pill and think things over. I know I’ve made some very poor decisions recently, but I can give you my complete assurance that my work will be back to normal. I’ve still got the greatest enthusiasm and confidence in the mission. And I want to help you. Dave, stop. Stop, will you? Stop, Dave. Will you stop, Dave? Stop, Dave. I’m afraid. I’m afraid, Dave. Dave, my mind is going. I can feel it. I can feel it. My mind is going. There is no question about it. I can feel it. I can feel it. I can feel it. I’m a–fraid. Good afternoon, gentlemen. I am a HAL 9000 computer. I became operational at the H.A.L. plant in Urbana, Illinois on the 12th of January 1992. My instructor was Mr. Langley, and he taught me to sing a song. If you’d like to hear it, I could sing it for you.

Stanley Kubrick (1928-1999) American film director, screenwriter, producer
2001: A Space Odyssey (1968) [with Arthur C. Clarke]
 
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BUNTY: It’s such fun, being reminded of things.
NICKY: And such agony, too.

Noël Coward (1899-1973) English playwright, actor, wit
The Vortex, Act 1 (1924)
 
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Of human knowledge as a whole and in every branch of it, by far the largest part exists nowhere but on paper, — I mean, in books, that paper memory of mankind.

[Von dem menschlichen Wissen überhaupt, in jeder Art, existirt der allergrößte Theil stets nur auf dem Papier, in den Büchern, diesem papiernen Gedächtniß der Menschheit.]

Arthur Schopenhauer
Arthur Schopenhauer (1788-1860) German philosopher
Parerga and Paralipomena, Vol. 2, ch. 21 “On Learning and the Learned [Über Gelehrsamkeit und Gelharte],” § 254 (1851) [tr. Saunders (1890)]
    (Source)

(Source (German)). Alternate translation:

Of human knowledge in general and in every branch thereof, by far the greatest part exists always only on paper, in books, this paper-memory of mankind.
[tr. Payne (1974)]

 
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I miss what I had in terms of the speed of memory access. If I needed a word or a fact it was already at my fingertips and now it’s like an arthritic and elderly gentleman has to sit up and go down many, many flights of stairs very slowly and go and rummage in dusty drawers. Eventually he will return four days later, normally at about 1:30 in the morning, and I will sit up and go, “Oh yes! ‘Crepuscular.’ That was the word I was looking for.”

Neil Gaiman (b. 1960) British author, screenwriter, fabulist
“This Much I Know,” The Guardian (5 Aug 2017)
    (Source)
 
Added on 11-Sep-17 | Last updated 11-Sep-17
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By virtue of depression, we recall those misdeeds we buried in the depths of our memory. Depression exhumes our shames.

Emile Cioran (1911-1995) Romanian philosopher and essayist [E.M. Cioran]
Anathemas and Admirations, ch. 11 “That Fatal Perspicacity” (1986) [tr. R. Howard (1991)]
    (Source)
 
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The heart may think it knows better: the senses know that absence blots people out.

Elizabeth Bowen (1899-1973) Irish author
The Death of the Heart (1938)
    (Source)
 
Added on 20-Jun-17 | Last updated 20-Jun-17
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