Quotations about:
    old age


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SYPHAX: Young men soon give and soon forget affronts;
Old age is slow in both.

Joseph Addison (1672-1719) English essayist, poet, statesman
Cato, Act 2, sc. 5, l. 136ff (1713)
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So Life’s year begins and closes;
Days, though short’ning, still can shine;
What though youth gave love and roses,
Age still leaves us friends and wine.

Thomas Moore (1779-1852) Irish writer, poet, lyricist
“Spring and Autumn,” ll. 5-8 (1815)
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Old Age, tho’ despised, is coveted by all Men.

Thomas Fuller (1654-1734) English physician, preacher, aphorist, writer
Gnomologia: Adages and Proverbs (compiler), # 3795 (1732)
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I am old now, or at least, I am no longer young, and everything I see reminds me of something else I’ve seen, such that I see nothing for the first time. A bonny girl, her hair fiery red, reminds me only of another hundred such lasses, and their mothers, and what they were as they grew, and what they looked like when they died. It is the curse of age, that all things are reflections of other things.

Neil Gaiman (b. 1960) British author, screenwriter, fabulist
“The Truth Is a Cave in the Black Mountains …”, Trigger Warning (2015)
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My days of love are over; me no more
The charms of maid, wife, and still less of widow,
Can make the fool of which they made before, —
In short, I must not lead the life I did do;
The credulous hope of mutual minds is o’er,
The copious use of claret is forbid too,
So for a good old-gentlemanly vice,
I think I must take up with avarice.

Lord Byron
George Gordon, Lord Byron (1788-1824) English poet
Don Juan, Canto 1, st. 216 (1818)
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LAZARUS: You’re so sentimental, Doctor. Maybe you are older than you look.

THE DOCTOR: I’m old enough to know that a longer life isn’t always a better one. In the end, you just get tired; tired of the struggle, tired of losing everyone that matters to you, tired of watching everything you love turn to dust. If you live long enough, Lazarus, the only certainty left is that you’ll end up alone.

LAZARUS: That’s a price worth paying.

THE DOCTOR: Is it?

stephen greenhorn
Stephen Greenhorn (b. 1964) Scottish playwright and screenwriter
Doctor Who, (2005) 03×06 “The Lazarus Experiment” (2007-05-05)
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Added on 26-Apr-24 | Last updated 26-Apr-24
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Youth is not a time of life; it is a state of mind; it is not a matter of rosy cheeks, red lips and supple knees; it is a matter of the will, a quality of the imagination, a vigor of the emotions; it is the freshness of the deep springs of life.

Youth means a temperamental predominance of courage over timidity of the appetite, for adventure over the love of ease. This often exists in a man of sixty more than a boy of twenty. Nobody grows old merely by a number of years. We grow old by deserting our ideals.

Years may wrinkle the skin, but to give up enthusiasm wrinkles the soul. Worry, fear, self-distrust bows the heart and turns the spirit back to dust.

Whether sixty or sixteen, there is in every human being’s heart the lure of wonder, the unfailing child-like appetite of what’s next, and the joy of the game of living.

When the aerials are down, and your spirit is covered with snows of cynicism and the ice of pessimism, then you are grown old, even at twenty, but as long as your aerials are up, to catch the waves of optimism, there is hope you may die young at eighty.

samuel ullman
Samuel Ullman (1840-1924) German-American businessman, poet, humanitarian, religious leader
“Youth” (1918)
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This poem was a favorite of Douglas MacArthur, who had a copy hung in his office in Tokyo, and was responsible for much of the author's subsequent fame in Japan.
 
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Alas, how right the ancient saying is:
We, who are old, are nothing else but noise
And shape. Like mimicries of dreams we go,
And have no wits, although we think us wise.
 
[φεῦ φεῦ, παλαιὸς αἶνος ὡς καλῶς ἔχει·
γέροντες οὐδέν ἐσμεν ἄλλο πλὴν ψόφος
καὶ σχῆμ’, ὀνείρων δ’ ἕρπομεν μιμήματα·
νοῦς δ’ οὐκ ἔνεστιν, οἰόμεσθα δ’ εὖ φρονεῖν.]

Euripides (485?-406? BC) Greek tragic dramatist
Æolus [Αἴολος], frag. 25 (TGF) [tr. Bowra (1938)]
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Nauck frag. 25, Barnes frag. 56, Musgrave frag. 18. (Source (Greek)). Alternate translations:

How true this antient saying; we old men
Are nought but trouble, and an empty shadow,
We crawl about, the semblances of dreams.
And of our mental faculties deprived.
Still fancy we with wisdom are endued.
[tr. Wodhull (1809)]

Oh, alas, how true the ancient saying is: we old men are nothing but noise and mere shapes, and we move as imitations of dreams; there is no intelligence in us, yet we think we have good sense.
[tr. Collard & Cropp (2008)]

Alas, the ancient proverb holds well:
We old men are nothing other than a sound
and an image, lurking imitations of dreams.
We have no mind and but we think we know how to think well.
[tr. @sentantiq (2014)]

 
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The first symptom is that hair grows on your ears. It’s very disconcerting.

edward g robinson
Edward G. Robinson (1893-1973) American stage and film actor [b. Emanuel Goldenberg]
All My Yesterdays: An Autobiography, “Epilogue” (1973) [with Leonard Spigelgass]
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On growing old.
 
Added on 12-Apr-24 | Last updated 12-Apr-24
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For the complete life, the perfect pattern, includes old age as well as youth and maturity. The beauty of the morning and the radiance of noon are good, but it would be a very silly person who drew the curtains and turned on the light in order to shut out the tranquility of the evening. Old age has its pleasures, which, though different, are not less than the pleasures of youth.

W. Somerset Maugham (1874-1965) English novelist and playwright [William Somerset Maugham]
The Summing Up, ch. 73 (1938)
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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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Old age isn’t so bad when you consider the alternative.

maurice chevalier
Maurice Chevalier (1888-1972) French singer, actor, entertainer
(Attributed)

Attributed in James B. Simpson, Contemporary Quotations (1964 ed.) (though not showing up in later editions), citing New York Times (1960-10-09). I could not find the reference in the Times online archives, and Respectfully Quoted: A Dictionary of Quotations (1989) treats it as "Unverified."

Quote Investigator finds evidence Chevalier used the line as of 1959, but finds evidence of anonymous / filler use of it or close variants as early as 1952. He tracks multiple references, including attributions to Chevalier.
 
Added on 15-Mar-24 | Last updated 15-Mar-24
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You and I are old;
Old age hath yet his honour and his toil;
Death closes all: but something ere the end,
Some work of noble note, may yet be done,
Not unbecoming men that strove with Gods.

Alfred, Lord Tennyson (1809-1892) English poet
“Ulysses,” ll. 49-53 (1842)
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When all sinnes grow old, coveteousnesse is young.

George Herbert (1593-1633) Welsh priest, orator, poet.
Jacula Prudentum, or Outlandish Proverbs, Sentences, &c. (compiler), # 18 (1640 ed.)
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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)
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Added on 23-Feb-24 | Last updated 23-Feb-24
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How dull it is to pause, to make an end,
To rust unburnish’d, not to shine in use!
As tho’ to breathe were life. Life piled on life
Were all too little, and of one to me
Little remains: but every hour is saved
From that eternal silence, something more,
A bringer of new things; and vile it were
For some three suns to store and hoard myself,
And this gray spirit yearning in desire
To follow knowledge, like a sinking star,
Beyond the utmost bound of human thought.

Alfred, Lord Tennyson (1809-1892) English poet
“Ulysses,” ll. 22-32 (1842)
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Old age is like an opium-dream. Nothing seems real except what is unreal.

Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr. (1809-1894) American poet, essayist, scholar
Over the Teacups, ch. 2 “To the Reader” (1891)
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The years swarm around me like midges, and though each tiny bite only costs me a single drop of blood, they are so thick I am nearly bled dry.

stephen l burns
Stephen L. Burns (b. 1953) American author
“Redeemer’s Riddle,” Sword and Sorceress IV (1987) [ed. Marion Zimmer Bradley]
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Nothing — so it seems to me — is more beautiful than the love that has weathered the storms of life. The sweet, tender blossom that flowers in the heart of the young — in hearts such as yours — that, too, is beautiful. The love of the young for the young, that is the beginning of life. But the love of the old for the old, that is the beginning of — of things longer.

Jerome K. Jerome (1859-1927) English writer, humorist [Jerome Klapka Jerome]
“Passing of the Third Floor Back” [The Stranger] (1908)
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Old age is like learning a new profession. And not one of your own choosing.

jacques barzun
Jacques Barzun (1907-2012) French-American historian, educator, polymath
In Arthur Krystal, “Age of Reason,” The New Yorker (2007-10-15)
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DAWN, n. The time when men of reason go to bed. Certain old men prefer to rise at about that time, taking a cold bath and a long walk, with an empty stomach, and otherwise mortifying the flesh. They then point with pride to these practices as the cause of their sturdy health and ripe years; the truth being that they are hearty and old, not because of their habits, but in spite of them. The reason we find only robust persons doing this thing is that it has killed all the others who have tried it.

Ambrose Bierce (1842-1914?) American writer and journalist
“Dawn,” The Cynic’s Word Book (1906)
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Included in The Devil's Dictionary (1911). Originally published in the "Devil's Dictionary" column in the San Francisco Wasp (1881-12-02).
 
Added on 23-Jan-24 | Last updated 23-Jan-24
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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)]
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(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

All wines don’t turn sour when they get old, and neither do all men or all personalities. I approve of sternness in the old, but a sternness that, like other things, is kept within limits; under no circumstances do I approve of bad temper.
 
[Ut enim non omne vinum, sic non omnis natura vetustate coacescit. Severitatem in senectute probo, sed eam, sicut alia, modicam; acerbitatem nullo modo.]

Marcus Tullius Cicero (106-43 BC) Roman orator, statesman, philosopher
De Senectute [Cato Maior; On Old Age], ch. 18 / sec. 65 (18.65) (44 BC) [tr. Copley (1967)]
    (Source)

(Source (Latin)). Alternate translations:

For as every wyne long kept and olde waxith not eagre of his owne propre nature, right so all mankynde is not aygre fell cruell ungracious chargyng nor inportune in olde age of their owne kynde though some men among many be fonde of that condicion. I approve & preyse in olde age the man which hath severitee & stidfast abydyng in hym. Seuerite is contynuance & perseverance of oon maner of lyvyng as wele in the thyngys within as in theym withoute. But I approve nat that in an olde man be egrenesse nor hardnesse & sharpnesse of maners of condicions.
[tr. Worcester/Worcester/Scrope (1481)]

For even as every wine being old and standing long is not converted into vineigre, so likewise is not every age sour, eigre, and unpleasant. Severity and sternness in old age I well allow and commend, so that a moderate mean therein (as in all other things) be observed; but bitterness and rigorous dealing I can in no wise brook nor away withal.
[tr. Newton (1569)]

For as all wines do not grow soure and tart in continuance, so not all age. I like severity in an old man, but not bitternesse.
[tr. Austin (1648), ch. 19]

Our nature here, is not unlike our wine,
Some sorts, when old, continue brisk, and fine.
So Age's gravity may seem severe,
But nothing harsh, or bitter ought to appear.
[tr. Denham (1669)]

In short, as it fares with Wines, so it does with Old Men: all are not equally apt to grow sour with Age. A serious and moderately grave Deportment well become us, but nothing of an austere Severity.
[tr. Hemming (1716)]

Thus it is, for as all Wines are not prick'd by Age, so neither is Human Life sower'd by Old Age; a Severity I approve of in Old Men, but with Moderation; Bitterness by no means.
[tr. J. D. (1744)]

Some Wines sour with Age, while others grow better and richer. A Gravity with some Severity is to be allowed; but by no means Ill nature.
[tr. Logan (1744)]

As it is not every kind of wine, so neither is it every sort of temper, that turns sour by age. But I must observe at the same time there is a certain gravity of deportment extremely becoming in advanced years, and which, as in other virtues, when it preserves its proper bounds, and does not degenerate into an acerbity of manners, I very much approve.
[tr. Melmoth (1773)]

For, as not every wine, so not every life, grows sour by age. Strictness in old age, I approve; but that, even as other things, in moderate degree: bitterness I nowise approve.
[Cornish Bros. ed. (1847)]

Neither every wine nor every life turns to vinegar with age.
[ed. Harbottle (1906)]

For as it is not every wine, so it is not every man's life, that grows sour from old age. I approve of gravity in old age, but this in a moderate degree, like everything else; harshness by no means.
[tr. Edmonds (1874)]

For as it is not wine of every vintage, so it is not every temper that grows sour with age. I approve of gravity in old age, so it be not excessive; for moderation in all things is becoming: but for bitterness I have no tolerance.
[tr. Peabody (1884)]

The fact is that, just as it is not every wine, so it is not every life, that turns sour from keeping. Serious gravity I approve of in old age, but, as in other things, it must be within due limits: bitterness I can in no case approve.
[tr. Shuckburgh (1895)]

Not every wine grows sour by growing old.
Severity in age is well enough:
But not too much, and naught of bitterness.
[tr. Allison (1916)]

As it is not every wine, so it is not every disposition, that grows sour with age. I approve of some austerity in the old, but I want it, as I do everything else, in moderation. Sourness of temper I like not at all.
[tr. Falconer (1923)]

Human nature is like wine: it does not invariably sour just because it is old. Some old men seem very stern, and rightly so -- although there must be, as I always say, moderation in all things. There is never any reason for ill temper.
[tr. Cobbold (2012)]

Certainly neither all wines go sour
Nor do all men because of agedness.
I approve of old men’s calm severity,
But I don’t put up with those who are dour.
[tr. Bozzi (2015)]

The truth is that a person's character, like wine, does not necessarily grow sour with age. Austerity in old age is proper enough, but like everything else it should be in moderation. Sourness of disposition is never a virtue.
[tr. Freeman (2016)]

 
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LEAR: Pray do not mock:
I am a very foolish fond old man,
Fourscore and upward, not an hour more nor less,
And to deal plainly,
I fear I am not in my perfect mind.

Shakespeare
William Shakespeare (1564-1616) English dramatist and poet
King Lear, Act 4, sc. 7, l. 68ff (4.7.68-72) (1606)
    (Source)
 
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Growing old is no more than a bad habit which a busy man has no time to form.

André Maurois (1885-1967) French author [b. Émile Salomon Wilhelm Herzog]
The Art of Living, ch. 8 “The Art of Growing Old” (1940) [tr. Whitall]
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Like our shadows,
Our wishes lengthen, as our sun declines.

Edward Young (1683-1765) English poet
The Complaint: Or, Night Thoughts, Vol. 1, No. 5 “Night the Fifth: The Relapse,” ll. 661-662 (1743-12) (1744)
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Age imprints more wrinkles in the mind than it does on the face; and souls are never, or very rarely seen, that, in growing old, do not smell sour and musty.
 
[Elle nous attache plus de rides en l’esprit qu’au visage : et ne se void point d’ames, ou fort rares, qui en vieillissant ne sentent l’aigre et le moisi.]

Michel de Montaigne (1533-1592) French essayist
Essays, Book 3, ch. 2 “Of Repentance [Du Repentir]” (1586) (3.2) (1595) [tr. Cotton/Hazlitt (1877)]
    (Source)

Montaigne wrote this around age 60.

(Source (French)). Alternate translations:

[Age] sets more wrinckles in our mindes, then on our foreheads: nor are there any spirits, or very rare ones, which in growing olde taste not sowrelie and mustilie.
[tr. Florio (1603)]

Age imprints more wrinkles in the Mind, than it does in the Face, and Souls are never, or very rarely seen, that in growing old do not smell sour and musty.
[tr. Cotton (1686)]

[Old age] imprints more wrinkles in our mind than on our face; and there are to be seen few souls which, as they grow old, do not become sour and peevish.
[tr. Ives (1925)]

Old age puts more wrinkles in our minds than on our faces; and we never, or rarely, see a soul that in growing old does not come to smell sour and musty.
[tr. Frame (1943)]

Age sets more wrinkles on our minds than on our faces. You can find no souls -- or very few -- which as they grow old do not stink of rankness and of rot.
[tr. Screech (1987)]

 
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One ov the most diffikult, and at the sametime one ov the most necessary, things for us old phellows to know, is that we aint ov so mutch ackount now az we waz.
 
[One of the most difficult, and at the same time one of the most necessary, things for us old fellows to know, is that we aren’t of so much account now as we were.]

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, ch. 131 “Affurisms: Plum Pits (1)” (1874)
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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)

(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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AGE, n. That period of life in which we compound for the vices that we still cherish by reviling those that we have no longer the enterprise to commit.

Ambrose Bierce (1842-1914?) American writer and journalist
“Age,” The Cynic’s Word Book (1906)
    (Source)

Included in The Devil's Dictionary (1911).

Originally published in the "Devil's Dictionary" column in the San Francisco Wasp (1881-02-12).
 
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A person who lacks the means, within himself, to live a good and happy life will find any period of his existence wearisome. But rely for life’s blessings on your own resources, and you will not take a gloomy view of any of the inevitable consequences of nature’s laws. Everyone hopes to attain an advanced age; yet when it comes they all complain! So foolishly inconsistent and perverse can people be.

[Quibus enim nihil est in ipsis opis ad bene beateque vivendum, eis omnis aetas gravis est; qui autem omnia bona a se ipsi petunt, eis nihil malum potest videri quod naturae necessitas adferat. Quo in genere est in primis senectus, quam ut adipiscantur omnes optant, eandem accusant adeptam; tanta est stultitiae inconstantia atque perversitas.]

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. Grant (1960, 1971 ed.)]
    (Source)

(Source (Latin)). Alternate translations:

For eche of thies ages which men name Childhode, adolescence, yongth, virilite, manhode & olde age semyn to be hevy & noxous to men the which in them silf have nothyng that may help & socoure them to lyve goodly & blessidly as bee, the which excercisen sciences & vertues & good werkis, but as to suche men which sechyn & fyndyn in themsilf alle the goods & thyngis which belongyn wele & blessidly for to lyve, ther is nothyng that comyth to them in age by the defaute of nature that may seme unto them evyll nor noxous. It is certayne that olde age is suche that it serchith & fyndyth in it self all the goodnesses whch longen to live wel & blyssidly, and yet is olde age such that alle men desyre to come untyll hit, And never the lesse the mutablenes & evyl dysposicion of men it is so grete in oure dayes that they blamyn olde age whan they be come therto by cause that then they may not use delectacions.
[tr. Worcester/Worcester/Scrope (1481)]

For they that have no power, pith of wit, help, way nor virtue in themselves to conduct and bring them to a good and blessed life, unto such as these be, all their age is cumbersome and unpleasant. But unto such as lead their lives virtuously, measuring all their actions by the square of reason, and have their minds with all good gifts of grace beautified and garnished, there is nothing thought nor deemed evil that cometh by necessity of nature. Of the which sort old age is principally to be considered, unto which all men wish to arrive, and yet when they have their desire, they accuse it as painful, sickly, unpleasant and tedious, such is the brainless unconstancy, foolish sottage, and perverse overthwartness of wayward people.
[tr. Newton (1569)]

For that age is only grievous to those that have no taste of wisdome and learning in themselves to make them live happily: but to them which see all perfection and consolation from their own experience, nothing can seem heavy which the necessity of nature bringeth: of which sort old age is chief, which all desire to obtain, and blame being obtained; such is their unconstancy, foolishnesse and perversity.
[tr. Austin (1648)]

For to those who have nothing within themselves capable of making Life happy, and satisfactory, no wonder if every Stage of it should prove irksome, and vexatious: but, to those who derive all their satisfaction from an easy mind, nothing can seem grievous and tormenting, that proceeds from the irreversible Laws of Nature; which certainly is the case of Old Age,, whereunto though 'tis the earnest desire of all men to arrive, yet such is their unaccountable folly, and perverseness, that they are never more uneasy than when they have arrived at it.
[tr. Hemming (1716)]

All Ages are grievous to those who have not in themselves the Means of living Holy and Happy; but those who expect all Happiness from their own Virtues, don't look up on the Decay of Nature as a Hardship, whereof Old Age is the chiefest, and which all desire to attain to; but is no sooner tasted than declaim'd against. Such are the Effects of Inconstancy, Folly, and the Want of Wisdom.
[tr. J. D. (1744)]

For know this, that those who have no Aid or Support within themselves, to render their Lives easy, will find every State irksome: While such as are convinced, they must owe their Happiness to themselves, and that if they cannot find it in their own Breasts, they will never meet with it from abroad; will never consider any thing as an Evil, that is but a necessary Effect of the established Order of Nature; which Old Age most undoubtedly is. 'Tis certainly strange, that while all Men hope they may live to attain it, any should find Fault with it, when it comes their Share. Yet such is the Levity, Folly, and Perverseness of Mankind, that we see there is nothing more common.
[tr. Logan (1744)]

Those indeed who have no internal resource of happiness, will find themselves uneasy in every stage of human life: but to him who is accustomed to derive all his felicity from within himself, no state will appear as a real evil into which he is conducted by the common and regular course of nature. Now this is peculiarly the case with respect to old age : yet such is the inconsistency of human folly, that the very period which at a distance is every man's warmest wish to attain, no sooner arrives than it is equally the object of his lamentations.
[tr. Melmoth (1773)]

For to those that have nought of resource in themselves for living well and happily, every stage of life is burthensome; while to those that seek all their goods from themselves, nothing can seem an evil, which the law of Nature may bring them. In which class foremost stands old age, which all desire to attain, but arraign the same when attained; so great is the inconsistency and perverseness of folly.
[Cornish Bros. ed. (1847)]

For to those who have no resource in themselves for living well and happily, every age is burdensome; but to those who seek all good things from themselves, nothing can appear evil which the necessity of nature entails; in which class particularly is old age, which all men wish to attain, and yet they complain of it when they have attained it; so great is the inconsistency and waywardness of folly.
[tr. Edmonds (1874)]

For those who have in themselves no resources for a good and happy life, every period of life is burdensome; but to those who seek all goods from within, nothing which comes in the course of nature can seem evil. Under this head a place especially belongs to old age, which all desire to attain, yet find fault with it when they have reached it. Such is the inconsistency and perverseness of human folly.
[tr. Peabody (1884)]

But those who look for all happiness from within can never think anything bad which nature makes inevitable. In that category before anything else comes old age, to which all wish to attain, and at which all grumble when attained. Such is Folly's inconsistency and unreasonableness!
[tr. Shuckburgh (1895)]

Of course
To those who've no resources in themselves
For a good and happy life, why, every age
Is hard to bear: but those who have within
All that is needful for a life well-spent,
Can never find misfortune in the lot
That nature's laws impose. And one such lot
Is that old age must come to each and all,
Old age so fondly hoped for, when it comes,
So Oft found to be irksome. Such, alas!
Is Folly's want of reason and resolve.
[tr. Allison (1916)]

For to those who have not the means within themselves of a virtuous and happy life every age is burdensome; and, on the other hand, to those who seek all good from themselves nothing can seem evil that the laws of nature inevitably impose. To this class old age especially belongs, which all men wish to attain and yet reproach when attained; such is the inconsistency and perversity of Folly!
[tr. Falconer (1923)]

People, you see, who have no inner resources for living the good and happy life, find every age a burden. But men who seek all good from within themselves are simply unable to view as evil anything that comes about through nature’s law. Now old age, as much as anything else in this world, is such a thing. All men hope and pray to attain it; once they have attained it, they start finding fault with it.
[tr. Copley (1967)]

Some people just do not possess the optimism that would allow them to live contentedly under any circumstances: for them every stage of life is a burden. But if only they expected nothing but good for themselves, nothing that the natural passage of time brought them could seem bad. This is especially true of old age. Everybody wants to live for a long time, but when they have attained their goal, they grumble. It makes no sense -- but that’s what life is: perverse and inconsistent.
[tr. Cobbold (2012)]

Someone who doesn't have much in the way of inner resources will find all stages of life irksome, but someone whose character is in order will accept what nature brings and not complain about something perfectly natural, calling it evil. There is much nonsense bandied about old age, something which everyone wishes to reach, but which most complain about once they get there. That seems more than slightly inconsistent and perverse, doesn't it?
[tr. Gerberding (2014)]

They find every age oppressive, of course,
Who in their inner selves have no resource
To live an easy life in happiness,
But they who in themselves only find
Their own contentment and peace of mind
See no harm in nature’s due process
Whose termination inevitably
May lead to that state of senility
To which they keenly lay claim,
But once attained rather foolishly,
With malice and incongruity,
Promptly find reasons to blame.
[tr. Bozzi (2015)]

Those who lack within themselves the means for living a blessed and happy life will find any age painful. But for those who seek good things within themselves, nothing imposed on them by nature will seem troublesome. Growing older is a prime example of this. Everyone hopes to reach old age, but when it comes, most of us complain about it. People can be so foolish and inconsistent.
[tr. Freeman (2016)]

Every age is burdensome to those who have no means of living well and happily. But to those who seek all good from themselves, nothing which the necessity of nature offers can appear bad. Old age is a prime example of this sort of thing -- everyone wishes to attain it, but they always complain about it once it is attained. Such is the inconstancy and perversity of stupidity.
[tr. Robinson [@sentantiq] (2017)]

 
Added on 15-Dec-23 | Last updated 15-Dec-23
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“Pooh, promise you won’t forget about me, ever. Not even when I’m a hundred.”
Pooh thought for a little.
“How old shall I  be then?”
“Ninety-nine.”
Pooh nodded.
“I promise,” he said.

A. A. Milne (1882-1956) English poet and playwright [Alan Alexander Milne]
The House at Pooh Corner, ch. 10 [Christopher Robin and Pooh] (1928)
    (Source)

Possibly the inspiration of the spurious Pooh quotation:

If you live to be a hundred, I want to live to be a hundred minus one day, so I never have to live without you.

For more discussion about this and related quotes, see May You All Live Forever. May I Live Forever Less A Day – Quote Investigator®.

 
Added on 13-Dec-23 | Last updated 13-Dec-23
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Old Age is not so fiery as Youth; but when once provoked cannot be appeased.

Thomas Fuller (1654-1734) English physician, preacher, aphorist, writer
Gnomologia: Adages and Proverbs, #3704 (1732)
    (Source)
 
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Let others, then, have their weapons, their horses and their spears, their fencing-foils, and games of ball, their swimming contests and foot-races, and out of many sports leave us old fellows our dice and knuckle-bones. Or take away the dice-box, too, if you will, since old age can be happy without it.

[Sibi habeant igitur arma, sibi equos, sibi hastas, sibi clavam et pilam, sibi natationes atque cursus; nobis senibus ex lusionibus multis talos relinquant et tesseras; id ipsum ut lubebit, quoniam sine eis beata esse senectus potest.]

Marcus Tullius Cicero (106-43 BC) Roman orator, statesman, philosopher
De Senectute [Cato Maior; On Old Age], ch. 16 / sec. 58 (16.58) (44 BC) [tr. Falconer (1923)]
    (Source)

The actual gaming objects for old folk that Cicero refers to were the talus (a long four-sided die) and the tessera (a six-sided die). Various games were played rolling these, on their own or together.

(Source (Latin)). Alternate translations:

Yong men have for them for theyr solas & worship, their armours, their horsys, their speris, pollaxis mallys, and Instrumentys of iren, or of leed, and launcegayes for to fyght. And also maryners in vsyng the see and yong men deliten in shippys bargys of dyvers fassions and in rowynges and in sayllyng in watirs and ryvers and in the sees, and som yong men usen the cours of voyages in gooyng rydyng and iourneyeng from one counttre to anothir, and emong many othir labours of playes sportys and of dyvers solacys. The yong men also levyn to the use of olde men the playe at the tablis and chesse and the philosophers playe by nombre of arsmetrike as is made mencion in the boke of O∣vide de vetula callid the reformacion of his life. But we demaunde the Caton, if the olde men may goodly use and when we be olde of thies two said playes of the tablis and chesse, I answere you nay, for withoute thies two playes ol̄de age may wele be stuffid and fulfillyd of alle othir goodnes perteynyng to felicite and to blessidnesse. Now it is so that olde age and yche othir age usyng of discression ought not to doo any thyng, but that it drawe and be longe to vertues and to blessidnesse in stede of playes at tables and at chesses.
[tr. Worcester/Worcester/Scrope (1481)]

Let us therefore bid adieu to all such youthly pranks and exercises as lusty and green-headed gallants, agitated and pricked with the fervent heat of unadvised adolescence, do enure themselves withal: God speed them well with their usual disports and dalliance; let them take to themselves their armour, weapons, and artillery; let us permit and give them good leave to daunt fierce horses and with spears in rest to mount on courageous coursers; let them handle the pike, toss the javelin and club daily, and play at the tennis, exercise themselves with running, swimming, and such-like deeds of activity and nimbleness. To us old men among all their other games and pastimes, let them leave the tables, the chance-bone or dice, and the chess, which without any danger or sore straining of the body may be practiced. And yet I will not seem to allow these last-named games further than every man himself is disposed, because they be not necessary, and old age may without them be blessed and fortunate.
[tr. Newton (1569)]

Therefore young men have their weapons, their horses, their speares, their swimming, the ball, the club, and their races, and they leave to us old men the cards and the tables which we sometimes use when we list; for age may be right happy without them.
[tr. Austin (1648)]

Let those of younger Years take to themselves all the Diversions of their several sorts of Gaming, Fencing, Racing, or Bathing can afford them: leave us to our Chesse-boards, and our Tables; and yet we are not solicitous even for those, since the Happiness of old Age does not depend on them.
[tr. Hemming (1716)]

Let therefore the young have their Arms, Horse, Spears, Lances, Balls, Baths, and Races; and of their many Diversions, leave to us the Cards and the Tables, to make use of just when we please; for Old Age can be happy without them.
[tr. J. D. (1744)]

To others therefore we can freely resign all other Diversions, in Arms and Horses, with their military Exercises, and all their Accoutrements, their Tennis, and every other Sport; only, if they please, they may leave us Checquers and Tables; or even these also we can give up; since Old Age can be very easy and very happy without any such trifling Amusements.
[tr. Logan (1744)]

In respect to the peculiar articles of rural diversions, let those of a more firm and vigorous age enjoy the robust sports which are suitable to that season of life; let them exert their manly strength and address in darting the javelin, or contending in the race; in wielding the bat, or throwing the ball; in riding, or in swimming; but let them, out of the abundance of their many other recreations, resign to us old fellows the sedentary games of chance. Yet if they think proper even in these to reserve to themselves an exckisive right, I shall not controvert their claim; they are amusements by no means essential to a philosophic old age.
[tr. Melmoth (1773)]

Therefore let them keep to themselves their arms, horses, spears, cudgel, ball, swimming, and running; and let them leave to us old men, out of so many sports, our astragals and dice; and that very thing whether it shall be to our mind, since old age can be happy without these things.
[Cornish Bros. ed. (1847)]

Let the young, therefore, keep to themselves their arms, horses, spears, clubs, tennis-ball, swimmings, and races: to us old men let them leave out of many amusements the tali and tessera; and even in that matter it may be as they please, since old age can be happy without these amusements.
[tr. Edmonds (1874)]

Let others take for their own delight arms, horses, spears, clubs, balls, swimming-bouts, and foot-races. From their many diversions let them leave for us old men knuckle-bones and dice. Either will serve our turn; but without them old age can hardly be contented.
[tr. Peabody (1884)]

Let the young keep their arms then to themselves, their horses, spears, their foils and ball, their swimming baths and running path. To us old men let them, out of the many forms of sport, leave dice and counters; but even that as they choose, since old age can be quite happy without them.
[tr. Shuckburgh (1895)]

Let who will keep their arms, their steeds, their spears,
Their club and ball, and let them swim and run,
But let them leave from many forms of sport
The dice to us old men, or take them too
If so they will: old age can do without
These trifles, and enjoy full happiness.
[tr. Allison (1916)]

No, let young people keep their equipment, their horses, their spears, their foils, their ball-games, their swimming and running, and out of all their amusements let them leave to us old fellows just the knuckle-bones and dice -- and then only if it strikes their fancy, for old age can be quite happy without them.
[tr. Copley (1967)]

You won't find us [old men] in armor or on horseback throwing spears; we don't fence with sticks or play catch; we'll let other people compete with each other in running or swimming races. Maybe we'll gamble a little with dice or knucklebones, or maybe not -- but, in any case, we'll be perfectly content.
[tr. Cobbold (2012)]

Therefore let others keep their fast cars, speed boats, fitness centers, bats, rackets, and balls, and leave us our checkers and bridge cards. But you know, they can take those too if we have a nice garden.
[tr. Gerberding (2014)]

Let the young have arm and mount
Let them have ball and stick and pike
Let them swim and scurry too,
To the old are paramount
Only dice games and the like.
Should they deem those games undue
We’ll comply without ado.
[tr. Bozzi (2015)]

Let others have their weapons, their horses, their spears and fencing foils, their balls, their swimming contests and food traces. Just leave old men like me our dice and knucklebones. Or take away those too if you want. Old age can be happy without them.
[tr. Freeman (2016)]

Let others have weapons, horses, spears, fencing-foils, ball games, swimming competitions, races, and leave to the old men dice and knucklebones for games. Or let that go too since old age can be happy without it.
[tr. @sentantiq (2018)]

 
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This thing of being a hero, about the main thing to it is to know when to die. Prolonged life has ruined more men that it ever made.

Will Rogers (1879-1935) American humorist
“Daily Telegrams” column (1928-07-17)
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Maturity is a bitter disappointment for which no remedy exists, unless laughter can be said to remedy anything.

Kurt Vonnegut, Jr. (1922-2007) American novelist, journalist
Cat’s Cradle, ch. 88 [Bokonon] (1963)
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Why then do I spend so many words on the subject of pleasure? Why, because, far from being a charge against old age, that it does not much feel the want of any pleasures, it is its highest praise. But, you will say, it is deprived of the pleasures of the table, the heaped up board, the rapid passing of the wine-cup. Well, then, it is also free from headache, disordered digestion, broken sleep. But if we must grant pleasure something, since we do not find it easy to resist its charms, — for Plato, with happy inspiration, calls pleasure “vice’s bait,” because of course men are caught by it as fish by a hook, — yet, although old age has to abstain from extravagant banquets, it is still capable of enjoying modest festivities.
 
[Quorsum igitur tam multa de voluptate? Quia non modo vituperatio nulla, sed etiam summa laus senectutis est, quod ea voluptates nullas magno opere desiderat. Caret epulis exstructisque mensis et frequentibus poculis. Caret ergo etiam vinulentia et cruditate et insomniis. Sed si aliquid dandum est voluptati, quoniam eius blanditiis non facile obsistimus, divine enim Plato “escam malorum” appellat voluptatem quod ea videlicet homines capiantur ut pisces, quamquam immoderatis epulis caret senectus, modicis tamen conviviis delectari potest.]

Marcus Tullius Cicero (106-43 BC) Roman orator, statesman, philosopher
De Senectute [Cato Maior; On Old Age], ch. 13 / sec. 44 (13.44) (44 BC) [tr. Shuckburgh (1895)]
    (Source)

The reference to Plato is to Timaeus, 69D: "κακοῦ δέλεαρ".

(Source (Latin)). Alternate translations:

Therfor thene ye may aske and demaunde why I haue said so many thynges of flesshely delyte and of lecherye, wherfor I answere you that the blame and the shame is not onely ynoughe. But namely it is the grete lawde and praysyng of olde age that it desyreth but lytle flesshely delectacyons. Olde age chargith nevir of dyetes nor of dyvers deynty metys nor of tables richely and dyversly arrayde nor of many dyners drynkys. Olde age wille not be fulle of wyn often for doubte of sekenes. Olde age wille not suffre the akyng of the bely as is the colyk or of the stone or costyfnes whiche comyth of takyng so muche mete and so often that it abideth rawe within the stomake. Olde age desyrith not wakyng in the tyme that nature hath ordeyned to slepe. Albeit an aged man is gretly disposed to wake ayenst his will forsoth the philosopher Platon whiche spake dyversly in a mater that delectacyon at∣tempted by euill disposed men that leyen the baite & the snare to delite aged men in repleccion of lustis & metys not helefull to them & bycause that men be taken & decevued by the baite sett in the hoke or angle as the bird is taken in the snare how be it that olde age wolde have no metys ne his etyngys excessiuely. Algatys they may delite in deynte metys and in smale feedyngys and temperate dyete.
[tr. Worcester/Worcester/Scrope (1481)]

But to what purpose do we speak so much of pleasure? Verily, to the intent that hereby it may be seen and proved, how that it cannot only not be objected to old age for any vituperation and dispraise, but rather for a singular praise and commendation; because old-age doth not esteem nor care for these pleasures. But some other will say: It lacketh sumptuous fare, costly dishes, delicate viands, and drinks of all sorts. Hereto I answer tihat, therefore, it lacketh also drunkenness, crudity, or indigestion, fantastical dreams, and ridiculous apparitions. But if we must any whit yield to to pleasure because we cannot easily resist the blandishments and allurements thereof (for the divine philosopher Plato calleth pleasure the bait of all mischief, because men therewith are caught and snared even as fishes are with the hook), I say, that although old age be not endangered nor given to superfluous and immoderate banqueting, and at unseasonable hours, yet in temperate and moderate feasting it may be solaced and comfortably recreated.
[tr. Newton (1569)]

But to what end speak we so much of pleasure? because that you may see that no blame, but much praise is to be given to age, because it doth not lust after pleasure, which is so dangerous a thing. Age wanteth banquetting, gluttony, and quaffing; it is also without surfeting, drunkennesse, or dreaming; but yet if we may any wayes take some pleasure, because we do not easily resist her flatteries (for divine Plato calleth pleasure the bait of evils, because men are caught ther∣with as fishes with a hook) tho age despiseth immoderate banquets, yet may it be delighted with moderate meetings.
[tr. Austin (1648), ch. 12-13]

Then to our age (when not to pleasures bent)
This seems an honour, not disparagement.
We, not all pleasures like the Stoicks hate;
But love and seek those which are moderate.
(Though Divine Plato thus of pleasures thought,
They us, with hooks and baits, like fishes caught.)
[tr. Denham (1669)]

I have dwelt the longer on this Topick of bodily Pleasures, to shew, it is so far from being a Disparagement to our Age, to be deprived of these Enjoyments, that it is its greatest Praise and Commendation, that it even takes off our Inclinations from the violent Pursuit of them. Though we may not indulge our selves so freely in our Cups, though we do not relish the Pleasures of the most luxurious Provisions, will not our being freed from the fatal Consequences of Indigestion, and a disordered Imagination, make us ample amends? But if we must make some Allowances for Pleasure, and submit to its Blandishments (which Plato calls the Bait of humane Miseries, with which like Fishes we are tempted to the Hook). Though we are deprived of the Pleasure of immoderate Feasting, yet can we still relish the Charms of an agreeable and chearful Entertainment; which arises not from the Delicacy or Variety of Courses, but from the Conversation of the Company.
[tr. Hemming (1716)]

And why all this of Pleasure? Because not only to over-rule the Objection, but to shew that it is the greatest Encomium on Old Age, that he never ardently desires what we call Pleasure. Doth Age want Banquets, great Tables, and frequent Use of Wine? Confequently it is free from Drunkenness, Surfeits, and watchful Nights. But if we are any ways to give ourselves up to Pleasure, because we cannot altogether attend her Invitations, as Plato says, who calls it "a Bait for Evil, and that Men are taken with it as Fishes with a Hook," yet Old Age will abstain from Revelling, and take Delight only in moderate Entertainments.
[tr. J. D. (1744)]

Thus I judged it necessary to be the more full on this Head of Pleasure, and shew the Dangers of it, to the end you might clearly see, it is so far from being a Disadvantage to Old-Age, its Palling our Inclinations to Pleasure, that on the contrary it is rather a great and valuable Blessing. For if it is in a good Measure dead to the Enjoyments others find in Banqueting, sumptuous Feasts and Carousings, it is freed at the same time from all the troublesome Effects of these; as Fumes, Crudities, uneasy Sleep, or the want of it; with divers other such like Disorders. Yet as Nature has so ordered it, that Pleasure should have a very strong Hold of us, and the Inclination to it appears deeply founded in our very Composition, (and 'tis with too much Justice that the divine Plato calls it the Bait of Evil, by which Men are caught as Fish with a Hook) therefore, though Age is not taken, nor can well bear, with those splendid sumptuous Feastings and Revels, yet we are not so insensible to the Pleasures of Life, but that we can indulge ourselves, and take a real Delight in sober and temperate Entertainments with our Friends.
[tr. Logan (1744)]

I have dwelt the longer upon this article, in order to convince you, that the little relish which old age leaves us for enjoyments of the sensual kind, is so far from being a just imputation on this period of life, that on the contrary it very considerably raises its value. If age render us incapable of taking an equal share in the flowing cups, and luxuriant dishes of splendid tables, it secures us too from their unhappy consequences -- from painful indigestions, restless nights, and disordered reason. Accordingly, the divine Plato justly represents pleasure as the bait by which vice ensnares and captivates her deluded votaries. But if this enticement cannot always be resisted, if the palate must sometimes be indulged, I do not scruple to say that an old man, although his years will guard him from excess, is by no means excluded from enjoying, in a moderate degree, the convivial gratifications.
[tr. Melmoth (1773)]

With what view then do I say so much about pleasure? Because not only is it no ground of censure, but even the highest praise of old age, that it desires no pleasures very much. But is old age without feasts, and loaded tables, and frequent cups? Therefore it is without drunkenness, and indigestion and troubled sleep. But if something must be given to pleasure, since we do not easily withstand its blandishments, (for divinely Plato calls pleasure the bait of evils, because evidently men are taken by it as fishes by a hook,) though old age is debarred immoderate feasts, yet, it may be gratified with temperate socialities.
[Cornish Bros. ed. (1847)]

To what end then have I said so many things about pleasure? Because it is so far from being any disparagement, that it is even the highest praise to old age, that it has no great desire for any pleasures. It lacks banquets, and piled up boards, and fast-coming goblets; it is therefore also free from drunkenness and indigestion and sleeplessness. But if something must be conceded to pleasure (since we do not easily withstand its allurements, for Plato beautifully calls pleasure the bait of evils, inasmuch as, by it, in fact, men are caught as fishes with a hook), although old age has nothing to do with extravagant banquets, yet in reasonable entertainments it can experience pleasure.
[tr. Edmonds (1874)]

But to what purpose am I saying so much about pleasure? Because it is not only no reproach to old age, but even its highest merit, that it does not severely feel the loss of bodily pleasures. But, you may say, it must dispense with sumptuous feasts, and loaded tables, and oft-drained cups. True, but it equally dispenses with sottishness, and indigestion, and troubled dreams. But if any license is to be given to pleasure, seeing that we do not easily resist its allurements, -- insomuch that Plato calls pleasure the bait of evil, because, forsooth, men are caught by it as fishes by the hook, -- old age, while it dispenses with excessive feasting, yet can find delight in moderate conviviality.
[tr. Peabody (1884)]

But why so much of pleasure? Why, you see,
Not only is it no disgrace to age,
But ev'n its greatest merit that it longs
No more for pleasure, cares no more for feasts
With loaded tables and o'er-flowing wine.
It misses too the headache, and the night
Of sickness and of sleeplessness that comes.
If something we must grant to pleasure's claim:
(It is not easy to resist its charm:
The godlike Plato thinks it is a bait
To catch the foolish, just as fish are caught:)
Though we cannot indulge in gorgeous feasts,
A modest dinner we can still enjoy.
[tr. Allison (1916)]

Why then, do I dwell at such length on pleasure? Because the fact that old age feels little longing for sensual pleasures not only is no cause for reproach, but rather is ground for the highest praise. Old age lacks the heavy banquet, the loaded table, and the oft-filled cup; therefore it also lacks drunkenness, indigestion, and loss of sleep. But if some concession must be made to pleasure, since her allurements are difficult to resist, and she is, as Plato happily says, “the bait of sin,” -- evidently because men are caught therewith like fish -- then I admit that old age, though it lacks immoderate banquets, may find delight in temperate repasts.
[tr. Falconer (1923)]

Why then do I have so much to say about pleasures of this kind? Because the weakening of temptation to indulge in them, far from supplying a pretext to reproach old age, is a reason for offering it the most cordial complements. Age has no banquets, no tables piled high, no cups filled again and again. So it avoids drunkenness, and indigestion, and sleepless nights! However, the allurements of pleasure are admittedly hard to resist; they are "the bait of sin," as Plato brilliantly calls them, which catch men like fish. If, then, we have to make them some concession, there is no reason why old age, though spared extravagant feasting, should not gratify itself with entertainments of a more modest nature.
[tr. Grant (1960, 1971 ed.)]

Why am I dwelling at such length on pleasure? Because it is not only no condemnation of old age, but rather its highest recommendation, that it feels no overwhelming desire for pleasure. The old do not share in banquets, in tables piled high with food, and in endless toasts; as a consequence, they do not share in drunkenness, in indigestion, and in sleeplessness. But if we must make some concession to pleasure, since we do not easily resist its blandishments (in a moment of inspiration Plato called pleasure “the bait of evil” -- obviously because men are caught by it like fish) -- even though the old do not share in unrestrained high life, still they can derive pleasure from moderate conviviality.
[tr. Copley (1967)]

Why do I go on so much about pleasure? As old men, we should not so much resent our age as praise it in the most glowing terms, because now we cannot feel any more interest in sensual temptations. As old men, we no longer attend formal banquets at tables loaded down with delicious food and wine; but on the other hand we no longer suffer from hangovers and indigestion and insomnia. But even so it may be hard to resist temptation completely. Plato cleverly referred to pleasure as “sin-bait,” because men are caught by it like fishes. There is, then, in our old age, nothing wrong with spending a convivial evening with friends, although we will not indulge ourselves to excess.
[tr. Cobbold (2012)]

So why am I going on and on about pleasure? Because I want to impress upon you how the fact that old age is less subject to the passions for pleasure is not an indictment of this stage of life, but actually one of its greatest advantages. If it lacks allnight parties, or tables heaped hy with rich food and powerful dirnk, it also lacks drunkenness, indigestion, insomnia, and "the morning after." It is not that old age lacks pleasures, it is that they change. And they are healthier. Gone are the overindulgent feasts and in their place we take pleasure in delightful dinner parties.
[tr. Gerberding (2014)]

So why do I tarry on pleasure’s enticement?
The fact that old age has no longing for it
Not only can’t be taken as a demerit,
But on the contrary is the best of credits.
Freedom from decked tables, from banquets
And also from frequent potations
Means freedom from drunkenness,
From insomnia and indigestions.
But we’re bound to make some concessions
To better resist pleasure’s alluring snares
Which Plato calls the bait of transgressions,
By which like fish men are caught unawares.
Although old age sumptuous banquets must shun
In light repasts it finds indeed some fun.
[tr. Bozzi (2015)]

 
Added on 17-Nov-23 | Last updated 17-Nov-23
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The eazyest thing for our freinds to diskover in us, and the hardest thing for us to diskover in ourselfs, is that we are growing old.

[The easiest thing for our friends to discover in us, and the hardest thing for us to discover in ourselves, is that we are growing old.]

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, ch. 131 “Affurisms: Plum Pits (1)” (1874)
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If life is a play, then old age is its last act — and we ought to leave the theater when we are weary or, even better, when we are satisfied.
 
[Senectus autem aetatis est peractio tamquam fabulae, cuius defetigationem fugere debemus, praesertim adiuncta satietate.]

Marcus Tullius Cicero (106-43 BC) Roman orator, statesman, philosopher
De Senectute [Cato Maior; On Old Age], ch. 23 / sec. 85 (23.85) (44 BC) [tr. Cobbold (2012)]
    (Source)

(Source (Latin)). Alternate translations:

The poete whiche rehercith in the Scene in some fable owght to beware that he make not werye and that he noye not his heerers by ouer long rehercyng the fable. So that men owght not desire to lyve ouir olde age seeyng pryncypally that in that age or nevir he is fulle weerye for to lyve.
[tr. Worcester/Worcester/Scrope (1481)]

And old age is, as it were, the peroration or final end of a man's time in this world, much like to the epilogue or catastrophe of an interlude, the wearisome repetition or defatigation whereof we ought to avoid and eschew, and especially when we are fully cloyed with satiety.
[tr. Newton (1569)]

But old age is the last act of our life as of a play, of which there ought to be an end, especially when there is satiety and fulnesse of time joyned with it.
[tr. Austin (1648)]

Good Acts (if long) seem tedious, so is Age
Acting too long upon this Earth her Stage.
[tr. Denham (1669)]

For in Old Age we are as in the last Act of a Play, in which we ought to take our Leave when fully satisfied with the Enjoyment.
[tr. J. D. (1744)]

And as the whole Course of Life but too much resembles a Farce, of which Old-Age is the last Act; when we have enough of it, 'tis most prudent to retire, and not to make a Fatigue of what we should endeavour to make only an Entertainment.
[tr. Logan (1744)]

In fine, old age may be considered as the last scene in the great drama of life, and one would not, surely, wish to lengthen out his part till he sunk down sated with repetition and exhausted with fatigue.
[tr. Melmoth (1773)]

Now old age is the completion of life, as of a play, weariness of which we ought to avoid, especially when satiety is added.
[Cornish Bros. ed. (1847)]

Now old age is the consummation of life, just as of a play; from the fatigue of which we ought to escape, especially when satiety is superadded.
[tr. Edmonds (1874)]

Old age is the closing act of life, as of a drama, and we ought in this to avoid utter weariness, especially if the act has been prolonged beyond its due length.
[tr. Peabody (1884)]

Now, old age is as it were the playing out of the drama, the full fatigue of which we should shun, especially when we also feel that we have had more than enough of it.
[tr. Shuckburgh (1895)]

Age; is; the end; of life, as of a play:
We should avoid the weariness that comes,
The more, if we've enjoyed it to the full.
[tr. Allison (1916)]

Moreover, old age is the final scene, as it were, in life's drama, from which we ought to escape when it grows wearisome and, certainly, when we have had our fill.
[tr. Falconer (1923)]

When life's last act, old age, has become wearisome, when we have had enough, the time has come to go.
[tr. Grant (1960, 1971 ed.)]

Yes, old age is, so to speak, the last scene in the play; when we find it beginning to be tiresome we should beat a hasty retreat from it, especially when we feel as if we had seen all this before, entirely too many times.
[tr. Copley (1967)]

Old age is the last act of the drama of life and when it is over we ought to leave it, especially if we have achieved a good fullness in it.
[tr. Gerberding (2014)]

Old age is but life’s drama’s final curtain.
[tr. Bozzi (2015)]

Old age is the final act in the play of life. When we have had enough and are weary, it is time to go.
[tr. Freeman (2016)]

 
Added on 26-Oct-23 | Last updated 2-Nov-23
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When you’re forty, half of you belongs to the past — and when you’re seventy, nearly all of you —

Jean Anouilh (1910-1987) French dramatist
Léocadia [Time Remembered], Act 2, sc. 2 [Duchess] (1939) [tr. Moyes (1955)]
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Added on 2-Oct-23 | Last updated 2-Oct-23
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Great artists say that the most beautiful thing in the world is a little baby. Well, the next most beautiful thing is an old lady, for every wrinkle is a picture.

Will Rogers (1879-1935) American humorist
Radio broadcast (1930-05-11)
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I am still learning.

[Ancora imparo.]

Michelangelo (1475-1564) Italian artist, architect, poet [Michelangelo di Lodovico Buonarroti Simoni]
(Attributed)

Also rendered Anchora imparo. This is often described as a daily mantra of Michelangelo's. This association can be traced to Richard Duppa, The Lives and Works of Michael Angelo and Raphael (1806) [tr. Hazlitt]. Duppa misattributed to Michelangelo a drawing by Domenico Giuntalodi, which included the saying. The phrase itself was popular during the 16th Century.

While there's no indication that Michelangelo did not say this, or agree with the sentiment, it does not seem to have been solidly cited to him, or shown to be a personal motto, let alone being original to him.

More discussion: Michelangelo - Wikiquote.
 
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More quotes by Michelangelo

We come now to the third ground for abusing old age, and that is, that it is devoid of sensual pleasures. O glorious boon of age, if it does indeed free us from youth’s most vicious fault! Now listen, most noble young men, to what that remarkably great and distinguished man, Archytas of Tarentum, said in an ancient speech repeated to me when I was a young man serving with Quintus Maximus at Tarentum: “No more deadly curse,” said he, “has been given by nature to man than carnal pleasure, through eagerness for which the passions are driven recklessly and uncontrollably to its gratification. From it come treason and the overthrow of states; and from it spring secret and corrupt conferences with public foes. In short, there is no criminal purpose and no evil deed which the lust for pleasure will not drive men to undertake. Indeed, rape, adultery, and every like offence are set in motion by the enticements of pleasure and by nothing else; and since nature — or some god, perhaps — has given to man nothing more excellent than his intellect, therefore this divine gift has no deadlier foe than pleasure; for where lust holds despotic sway self-control has no place, and in pleasure’s realm there is not a single spot where virtue can put her foot.”

[Sequitur tertia vituperatio senectutis, quod eam carere dicunt voluptatibus. O praeclarum munus aetatis, si quidem id aufert a nobis, quod est in adulescentia vitiosissimum! Accipite enim, optimi adulescentes, veterem orationem Archytae Tarentini, magni in primis et praeclari viri, quae mihi tradita est cum essem adulescens Tarenti cum Q. Maximo. Nullam capitaliorem pestem quam voluptatem corporis hominibus dicebat a natura datam, cuius voluptatis avidae libidines temere et effrenate ad potiendum incitarentur. Hinc patriae proditiones, hinc rerum publicarum eversiones, hinc cum hostibus clandestina colloquia nasci; nullum denique scelus, nullum malum facinus esse, ad quod suscipiendum non libido voluptatis impelleret; stupra vero et adulteria et omne tale flagitium nullis excitari aliis illecebris nisi voluptatis; cumque homini sive natura sive quis deus nihil mente praestabilius dedisset, huic divino muneri ac dono nihil tam esse inimicum quam voluptatem. Nec enim lubidine dominante temperantiae locum esse, neque omnino in voluptatis regno virtutem posse consistere.]

Marcus Tullius Cicero (106-43 BC) Roman orator, statesman, philosopher
De Senectute [Cato Maior; On Old Age], ch. 12 / sec. 39ff (12.39-41) (44 BC) [tr. Falconer (1923)]
    (Source)

(Source (Latin)). Alternate translations:

Nowe folowith the iij vituperacion & defaute by the which yong men seyne that olde age is noiouse myschaunte & wretchid by cause it hath almost no flesshely delectacyons or sensualitees as for to gete with childeren and yssue to encrece and multiplie the world. To whom I answere forwith that it is right a noble gyfte rewarde & the right grete worship of olde age that it be sequestred depryved and dischargid of the delectacyons of sensualitee of the body or flesshely lustis for ys it be so that olde age be pryved and sequestred of such delectacyons It had takin awey from us olde men that thyng whiche is right vicious & right foule in the age of adolescence & yongthe.
And neverthelesshe my right good and lovyng yong men Scipion and Lelius an auncyent senatour purposid an oracion that a philosopher callid Archites made whiche was takyn of Haniballe duc of Cartage when he werrid in Ytaile. He was recoverde by Quintus Fabius the noble senatour when he recoverd Tarente, takyn by the said Haniballe. Archites was pryncypally a grete man connyngly lernyd in sciences and in vertues and was right famous and noble. This oracion purposid which Archites made was yeven to me when I adolescent and yong of age was at Tarente with the seid Fabius, and by this oracyon seid Archites that nature which ordeyned to men complexions gave nevir no pestelence peyne nor turment more damageable to yong men than is flesshely delectacyon. The coveitous playsirs of delectacyon moven tyce and steeren men over boldely and withoute bridell of reason or shame or any restraynt to execute and make an ende of their foule lustys. For thought delectacy∣ons ben made and conspired treasons divisions and dissencyons of countrees & the destruccions of their comon profite, and the secretes of parlementys disclosed to our ennemyes and adversarye partye there is noon untrou∣the there is noon evyll werke but pleasyre of delectacyon which shall constrayne men to encline therto, by cause that they enioyen owt of mesure of spousehode brekyng & that so fervently the cause of defoulyng of maydens virgins the anontry of weddyd women & all such corrupte untrew werkys, whiche ben nevir mevid nor undirtakyn but by the insolence & wantownes & wenlacys of flesshely delectacyon. Archites also saide that as nature by power of which god hath yeven to men noth̄yng bettir than is the soule by the which they have undirstondyng & mynde, also to that soule which is an office & a gift dyvine nothyng is so grete ennemye nor so contrary as ben flesshely delectacyons, for sith delectacyon & flesshely pleasir have dominacyon in the regyon of man. That is to witt in the courage of his body, the vertue of attemperance may not be lodgid therin & wthin the regyon of man which is yeven to delectacyon may not abyde any wisedome nor vertue.
[tr. Worcester/Worcester/Scrope (1481)]

Now followeth the third dispraise and fault which is laid in old age, because (say they) it is without pleasure, and must forego voluptuous appetites. O noble and excellent gift, wherewith old age is so blessed, if it take from us that thing, which is in youth most vicious and detestable. But you (noble and virtuous gentlemen, Scipio and Laelius) hear what Archytas, the famous philosopher of Tarentum, was wont to say, whose oration touching on the same matter was lent and delivered to me, when I was a young man and served under Quintus Maximus at the siege of Tarentum. He said that no plague was given by nature so great and pernicious unto men, as the bestial pleasures and voluptuousness of the body: which which pleasures the dissolute and libidinous lusts of men do so much affect and desire, that with all licentious profanation and outrage, their minds be incited and stirred to pursue the same, thinking all things lawful for their unbridled appetites, so that they may enjoy their beastly desires and still wallow in the filthy puddle of their hellish sensuality. Hence (said he_ as from a fountain do spring out all kinds of mischief, as treason, betraying of countries, the ruin and subversion of commonwealths, secret conventicles, and privy conferences with the enemies; finally (he said), there was none so great a villainy, nor any so flagitious and horrible an enormity, which the inordinate desire of pleasure would not egg and prick forward men's froward wills to enterprise: furthermore, that whoredom, adultery, and all such like heinous facts of carnal concupiscency were by none other lures or enticements provoked but by pleasure. And whereas either nature or God hath given unto man nothing of so noble excellency as the mind or reasonable soul, there is nothing so great an enemy until this inestimable and divine gift as pleasure.
For where pleasure beareth away and ruleth the roast, there is no mansion or dwelling-place left for temperance and sobriety, and, to be short, virtue cannot remain where pleasure reigneth.
[tr. Newton (1569)]

There followeth the third Objection to age; they say that it wanteth pleasures. Oh excellent gift of age, if it take away that which makes our youth vitious; therefore hear now, O yee excellent young men, the old oration of Architas the Tarentine, a singular and worthy man, which was delivered me when I was a young man with Q. Maximus at Tarentum. He said that there was no deadlier plague given by nature to men, then the pleasure of the body, the greedy lusts whereof are rash and unbrideledly, stirred up to get and gain. From hence are derived treasons, from hence arise the overthrowes of Commonwealths, and the privy conspiracies and whisperings with the enemies. That to conclude, there was no wickednesse, nor no evill deed, to the undertaking of which, the lust of pleasure did not incite a man; and that whoredome, adultery, and all such evill was stirred up by no other bait then pleasure. And forasmuch as nature, or some God, hath given nothing more excellent to a man, then his minde; to this divine gift, there is no greater enemy then pleasure. For lust bearing rule, there is no place for temperance, neither in the Kingdome of pleasure can virtue consist.
[tr. Austin (1648)]

Now must I draw my forces 'gainst that Host
Of Pleasures, which i'th' Sea of age are lost.
Oh, thou most high transcendent gift of age!
Youth from its folly thus to disengage.
And now receive from me that most divine
Oration of that noble Tarentine,
Which at Tarentum I long since did hear;
When I attended the great Fabius there.
Yee Gods, was it man's Nature? or his Fate?
Betray'd him with sweet pleasures poyson'd bait?
Which he, with all designs of art, or power,
Doth with unbridled appetite devour;
And as all poysons seek the noblest part,
Pleasure possesses first the head and heart;
Intoxicating both, by them, she finds,
And burns the Sacred Temples of our Minds.
Furies, which Reasons divine chains had bound,
(That being broken) all the World confound.
Lust, Murder, Treason, Avarice, and Hell
It self broke loose; in Reason's Pallace dwell,
Truth, Honour, Justice, Temperance, are fled,
All her attendants into darkness led.
But why all this discourse? when pleasure's rage
Hath conquer'd reason, we must treat with age.
Age undermines, and will in time surprize
Her strongest Forts, and cut off all supplies.
And joyn'd in league with strong necessity,
Pleasure must flie, or else by famine die.v [tr. Denham (1669)]

The third Accusation against Old Age is, that it deprives us of the Enjoyments of Pleasure. O glorious Priviledge of Age, if through thy means we can get rid of the most pernicious Bane, to which our You is liable! Give me leave to repeat to you, what a great Orator has said upon this Subject.
"Nature has not implanted in Man any more execrable Curse, than that of bodily Pleasures; to the gratification of which we are hurried on, wich such unbounded and licentious Appetites. For to what else is oweing the Subversion of so many States and Kingdoms? What Villainy too daring, what Undertaking too hazardous, which the Desire of satisfying our unbounded Lusts will not instigate us to attempt? To what are Rapes, Adulteries, or such like abominable Enormities owing, but to the gratification of our Appetites? And since the Faculties of Reason, and Judgment, are the most excellent Qualities, which Nature, or Providence, has conferred upon us; it is certain that nothing can be more destructive, more pernicious to this divine Gift, than the Indulging bodily Pleasures? For it is impossible to observe an Degrees of Temperance, while we are under the Dominion of our unruly Passions, nor can Virtue consiste with the pursuit of such Enjoyments."
[tr. Hemming (1716)]

We come now to the Third Objection, which is, That Old Age is deprived of Pleasure. O excellent State! if it deprives us of what is most vitious in You! For, hear ye well-disposed young Men, the old Remark of Architas the Tarentine, a most ingenious Man, which was given to me when I was a young Fellow at Tarentum, with Q. Maximus. He said, "That Nature had not given Mankind a greater Plague than the Pleasure of the body, whose eager Desires for the Enjoyment of it, are altogether loose and unbridled: That from hence arise Conspiracies against our Country, Subversions of the Commonwealth, and treasonable Conferences with the Enemy. In short, that there was no Wickedness nor Capital Crime, but this Lust after Pleasure would put a man upon undertaking; that Whoredom, Adultery, and all such Vices, were excited by no other Allurements than those of Pleasure. That as Nature, or some God, had given to Man nothing more valuable than his Mind, so to that Gift was joined nothing so much its Enemy as Pleasure; for when Lust is predominant, there is no Room for Temperance; nor can Virtue possibly consist in Pleasure's Throne."
[tr. J. D. (1744)]

The third Charge against Old-Age was, That it is (they say) insensible to Pleasure, and the Enjoyments arising from the Gratifications of the Senses. And a most blessed and heavenly Effect it truly is, if it eases of what in Youth was the sorest and cruellest Plague of Life. Pray listen, my good Friends, to an old Discourse of Archytas the Tarentine, a great and excellent Man in his Time, which I learned when I was but young myself, at Tarentum, under Fabius Maximus, at the Time he recovered that Place. The greatest Curse, the heaviest Plague, said he, derived on Man from Nature, is bodily Pleasure, when the Passions are indulged, and strong inordinate Desires are raised and set in Motion for obtaining it. For this have Men betray'd their Country; for this have States and Governments been plunged in Ruin; for this have treacherous Correspondences been held with publick Enemies: In short, there is no Mischief so horrid, no Villany so execrable, that this will not prompt to perpetrate. And as Adultery, and all the Crimes of that Tribe, are the natural Effects of it; so of course are all the fatal Consequences that ensue on them. 'Tis owned, that the most noble and excellent Gift of Heaven to Man, is his Reason: And 'tis as sure, that of all the Enemies Reason has to engage with, Pleasure is the most capital, and the most pernicious: For where its great Incentive, Lust, prevails, Temperance can have no Place; nor under the Dominion of Pleasure, can Virtue possibly subsist.
[tr. Logan (1750)]

Let us now proceed to examine the third article of complaint against old age, as "bereaving us," it seems, "of the sensual gratifications." Happy effect indeed, if it deliver us from those snares which allure youth into some of the worst vices to which that age is addicted. Suffer me upon this occasion, my excellent young friends, to acquaint vou with the substance of a discourse which was held many years since by that illustrious philosopher Archytas, of Tarentum, as it was related to me when I was a young man in the army of Quintus Maximus, at the siege of that city. "Nature," said this illustrious sage, "has not conferred on mankind a more dangerous present than those pleasures which attend the sensual indulgences; as the passions they excite are too apt to run away with reason, in a lawless and unbridled pursuit of their respective enjoyments. It is in order to gratify inclinations of this ensnaring kind that men are tempted to hold clandestine correspondence with the enemies of the state, to subvert governments, and turn traitors to their country. In short, there is no sort of crimes that afiect the public welfare to which an inordinate love of the sensual pleasures may not directly lead. And as to vices of a more private tendency -- rapes, adulteries and every other flagitious violation of the moral duties -- are they not perpetrated solely from this single motive? Reason, on the other hand," continued Archytas," is the noblest gift which God, or nature, has bestowed on the sons of men. Now nothing is so great an enemy to that divine endowment, as the pleasures of sense. For neither temperance, nor any other of the more exalted virtues, can find a place in that breast which is under the dominion of the voluptuous passions."
[tr. Melmoth (1773)]

The third charge against old age comes next, namely, that they say that it is without pleasures. O glorious privilege of old age, if indeed it takes away from us that which in youth is most faulty! For listen, excellent young men, to an ancient discourse of Archytas of Tarentum, a singularly great and renowned man, which was delivered to me when I was a young man with Quintus Maximus: He said, that no deadlier plague than the pleasure of the body was given to men by Nature; of which pleasure the passions being excessively fond, impelled men to enjoy them rashly and precipitously. That hence rose betrayals of country, hence subversions of states, hence clandestine correspondence with enemies. In a word, that there is no atrocity, no wicked deed, to the undertaking of which the lust of pleasure did not incite; and that seductions and adulteries, and every such crime, are called into existence by no other allurements but pleasure; and whereas, whether Nature or some deity had given nothing to man more excellent than the understanding, nothing was more hostile to this divine gift and endowment than pleasure. For neither, when lust bore sway, was there room for temperance, nor could virtue hold any place at all in the reign of pleasure.
[Cornish Bros. ed. (1847)]

Then follows the third topic of blame against old age, that they say it has no pleasures. Oh, noble privilege of age! if indeed it takes from us that which is in youth the greatest defect. For listen, most excellent young men, to the ancient speech of Archytas of Tarentum, a man eminently great and illustrious, which was reported to me when I, a young man, was at Tarentum with Quintus Maximus. He said that no more deadly plague than the pleasure of the body was inflicted on men by nature; for the passions, greedy of that pleasure, were in a rash and unbridled manner incited to possess it; that hence arose treasons against one's country, hence the ruining of states, hence clandestine conferences with enemies: in short, that there was no crime, no wicked act, to the undertaking of which the lust of pleasure did not impel; but that fornications and adulteries and every such crime, were provoked by no other allurements than those of pleasure. And whereas either nature or some god had given to man nothing more excellent than his mind; that to this divine function and gift, nothing was so hostile as pleasure: since where lust bore sway, there was no room for self-restraint; and in the realm of pleasure, virtue could by no possibility exist.
[tr. Edmonds (1874)]

I come now to the third charge against old age, that, as it is alleged, it lacks the pleasures of sense. O admirable service of old age, if indeed it takes from us what in youth is more harmful than all things else! For I would have you hear, young men, an ancient discourse of Archytas of Tarentum, a man of great distinction and celebrity, as it was repeated to me when in my youth I was at Tarentum with Quintus Maximus. "Man has received from nature," said he, "no more fatal scourge than bodily pleasure, by which the passions in their eagerness for gratification are made reckless and are released from all restraint. Hence spring treasons against one's country; hence, overthrows of states; hence, clandestine plottings with enemies. In fine, there is no form of guilt, no atrocity of evil, to the accomplishment of which men are not driven by lust for pleasure. Debaucheries, adulteries, and all enormities of that kind have no other inducing cause than the allurements of pleasure. Still more, while neither Nature nor any god has bestowed upon man aught more noble than mind, nothing is so hostile as pleasure to this divine endowment and gift. Nor while lust bears sway can self-restraint find place, nor under the reign of pleasure can virtue have any foothold whatever."
[tr. Peabody (1884)]

The third charge against old age is that it LACKS SENSUAL PLEASURES. What a splendid service does old age render, if it takes from us the greatest blot of youth! Listen, my dear young friends, to a speech of Archytas of Tarentum, among the greatest and most illustrious of men, which was put into my hands when as a young man I was at Tarentum with Q. Maximus. "No more deadly curse than sensual pleasure has been inflicted on mankind by nature, to gratify which our wanton appetites are roused beyond all prudence or restraint. Fornications and adulteries, and every abomination of that kind, are brought about by the enticements of pleasure and by them alone. Intellect is the best gift of nature or God: to this divine gift and endowment there is nothing so inimical as pleasure. For when appetite is our master, there is no place for self-control; nor where pleasure reigns supreme can virtue hold its ground."
[tr. Shuckburgh (1895)]

Thirdly, it is alleged against old age,
It has no sensual pleasures to enjoy.
Divinest gift of age, to take away sensual pleasures.
What is the greatest blot on youthful years!
Hear, my dear friends, a speech Archytas made
(Who was a very old and famous man),
And told me at Tarentum, where I was
With Quintus Maximus, when quite a youth:
'No greater curse than sensuality
Has Nature given to man: its foul desires
To feed, lust grows unbridled and unwise;
Hence countries are betrayed, states overthrown,
Secret arrangements with our foes are made.
There is no crime, no ill deed to which lust
Cannot entice : abominable vice
Of every kind is due to this alone.
Nature herself, or some kind deity
Has given to man no greater gift than mind:
But to this gift, this faculty divine,
No greater enemy can be than lust.
When that bears sway, all moderation's gone,
And 'neath its rule virtue cannot survive.
[tr. Allison (1916)]

Next we come to the third allegation against old age. This was its deficiency in sensual pleasures. But if age really frees us from youth's most dangerous failing, then we are receiving a most blessed gift.
Let me tell you, my dear friends, what was said years ago by that outstandingly distinguished thinker, Archytas of Tarentum, the city at which I heard of his words when I was a young soldier serving under Fabius. "The most fatal curse given by nature to mankind," said Archytas, "is sensual greed: this incites men to gratify their lusts heedlessly and uncontrollably, thus bringing about national betrayals, revolutions, and secret negotiations with the enemy. Lust will drive men to every sin and crime under the sun. Mere lust, without any additiona impulse, is the cause of rape, adultery, and every other sexual outrage. Nature, or a god, has given human beings a mind as their outstanding possession, and this divine gift and endowment has no worse foe than sensuality. For in the realm of the physical passions there can be no room for self-control; where self-indulgence reigns, decent behavior is excluded.
[tr. Grant (1960, 1971 ed.)]

I turn now to the third charge against old age -- one commonly leveled with vehemence: men say that it is cut off from pleasures. What a glorious blessing the years confer if they take away from us the greatest weakness that afflicts our younger days! Let me repeat to you, my dear young friends, what Archytas of Tarentum said many, many years ago. (He was one of the truly great -- a distinguished man -- and his discourse was reported to me when as a young man I visited Tarentum in the company of Quintus Maximus.) Archytas declared that nature had afflicted man with no plague more deadly than physical pleasure, since the hope of pleasure roused men’s desires to fever-pitch and spurred them on, like wild, unbridled beasts, to attainment.
Pleasure, he said, was the ultimate source of treason, of riot and rebellion, of clandestine negotiations with an enemy; to sum it up, there was no crime, no foul perversion, which men were not led to commit by the desire for pleasure. As for crimes of passion, adultery, and the like, he declared that pleasure and its blandishments were the sole cause of them "Here is man," said he. "Nature, or if you will, God, has given him nothing more precious and distinctive than his mind, yet nothing is so hostile to this blessing -- this godlike power -- as pleasure."
Further, he asserted that when the appetites had the upper hand there was no room left for self-discipline -- in fact, to put it generally, virtue could find no foothold anywhere in the kingdom of pleasure.
[tr. Copley (1967)]

Now I come to the third reason why old age is so strenuously condemned: that when we are old we can’t enjoy sensual pleasures. On the contrary, what a gift it is that age takes away from us the most objectionable vices of the young! When I was a young man in the army, someone quoted to me from a speech -- and it is well worth listening to it today -- that was delivered long ago by a distinguished philosopher, Archytas of Tarentum. “Nature,” he said, “has never visited on man a more virulent pestilence than sex. There is nothing we will not do, however rash and ill-considered, in order to satisfy our desires. Sex has impelled men to treason, to revolution, to collusion with the enemy. Under the influence of sex, there is no criminal enterprise they will not undertake, no sin they will not commit. Infidelity, of course, and then any kind of depraved perversion you can think of -- all are driven by the search for sexual pleasure. Nature -- or perhaps some god -- has given us nothing more valuable than the power to reason; but there is nothing more inimical to reason than sex. Lust will always overcome self-control; there is no moral value that can stand up to the attacks of unbridled desire.”
[tr. Cobbold (2012)]

THEY SAY OLD AGE DEPRIVES US OF ALMOST ALL OF THE PLEASURES. Oh, this is a wonderful gift of old age, if it does indeed relieve us of most of the reasons youth gets itself into trouble. Remember, you young folks, the famous warning from Dr. Johnson, the especially great and famous eighteenth century savant. I came to admire him when I was a young man at Oxford. He said that the body is all vice. The body's avid desire for the pleasures makes it seek them rashly and without control until it finds gratification. Oh the trouble! These things often create traitors of their countries: they ruin governments and cause secret dealings with enemies. The desire for bodily pleasure drives people to commit debauchery, adultery, and crimes of all sorts. Since nature's (or God's) greatest gift to mankind is our reason, nothing is so harmful to God's gift than the desire for pleasure because it makes us act so irrationally. By golly, when we are in hot pursuit of pleasure, there is no place for modration or good sense. If the pleasure is too great and lasts too long, it will blot out any trace of rational thinking.
[tr. Gerberding (2014)]

Again old age is given a third censure.
It is devoid, they say, of sensual pleasure,
But that’s also a wonderful gift without price
Taking from us youth’s most wicked vice!
Listen, my good lads, to the time-honoured advice
Of Archytas from Tarentum, great and blessed,
Who in my young days his thoughts expressed,
While I was in Tarentum with Q. Maximus:
No evildoing can be worse than the voluptuous
Pleasure of the senses was his complaint
Which makes men blind and act with no restraint.
From it descend treason, revolution and
Pacts with the enemies of the Fatherland.
All evil actions and crimes combined
Have an urge for lust not far behind,
And then adultery and lewdness
Are set on fire by voluptuousness.
There must have been some god who gave mankind,
Or maybe it wasn’t a god but nature,
The divine privilege of the mind
Which is the enemy of pleasure.
Indeed under the rule of passion
Temperance has no place at all,
And virtue can be kept in thrall
By sensuality’s enticing coils.
[tr. Bozzi (2015)]

We come now to the third objection to growing older -- that the pleasures of the flesh fade away. But if this is true, I say it is indeed a glorious gift that age frees us from youth's most destructive failing. Now listen, my most noble young friends, to the ancient words of that excellent and most distinguished young man, Archytas of Tarentum, repeated to me when I was serving as a young soldier in that very city with Quintus Maximus. He said the most fatal curse given to men by nature is sexual desire. From it spring passions of uncontrollable and reckless lust seeking gratification. From it come secret plotting with enemies, betrayals of one's country, and teh voer throw of governments. Indeed, there is no evil act, no unscrupulous deed that a man driven by lust will not perform. Uncontrolled sensuality will drive men to rape, adultery, and every other sexual outrage. And since nature -- or perhaps some god -- has given men no finer gift than human intelligence, this divine endowment has no greater foe than naked sensuality. Where lust rules, there is no place for self-control. And in the kingdom of self-indulgence, there is no room for decent behavior.
[tr. Freeman (2016)]

The third typical criticism of old age follows this, and that is that people complain that it lacks [sexual] pleasures. Oh! Glorious wealth of age, if it takes that from us, the most criminal part of youth! Take this from me, most noble young men, this is the ancient speech of Archytas of Tarentum, which was repeated to me when I was a young man working for Quintus Maximus there: “Nature has given man no deadlier a curse than sexual desire.”
[tr. @sentantiq (2019)]

 
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More quotes by Cicero, Marcus Tullius

The more the pleasures of the body fade away, the greater to me is the pleasure and charm of conversation.

Plato (c.428-347 BC) Greek philosopher
The Republic [Πολιτεία], Book 1 (c. 375 BC) [tr. Jowett (1871)]
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Socrates recounting something said to him by Cephalus.
 
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Old age is a special problem for me because I’ve never been able to shed the mental image I have of myself — a lad of about nineteen.

White - Old age is a special problem for me because Ive never been able to shed the mental image I have of myself - a lad of about nineteen - wist.info quote

E. B. White (1899-1985) American author, critic, humorist [Elwyn Brooks White]
“E. B. White: Notes and Comment by Author,” interview by Israel Shenker, New York Times (1969-07-11)
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On his 70th birthday.
 
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Approaching eighty I sometimes see myself from a little distance, as a man I know, but not intimately.

John Updike (1932-2009) American writer
“The Full Glass,” The New Yorker (2008-05-19)
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Collected in My Father's Tears and Other Stories (2009).
 
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More quotes by Updike, John

The course of a man’s life is certain. The path that we follow goes in only one direction. Every mile is distinctly marked with its own peculiar characteristic — the vulnerability of infants, the animal high spirits of adolescents, the seriousness of adults, the maturity of old men — and at each of these stages we must accept gracefully what Nature grants us.

[Cursus est certus aetatis et una via naturae eaque simplex, suaque cuique parti aetatis tempestivitas est data, ut et infirmitas puerorum et ferocitas iuvenum et gravitas iam constantis aetatis et senectutis maturitas naturale quiddam habet, quod suo tempore percipi debeat.]

Marcus Tullius Cicero (106-43 BC) Roman orator, statesman, philosopher
De Senectute [Cato Maior; On Old Age], ch. 10 / sec. 33 (10.33) (44 BC) [tr. Cobbold (2012)]
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(Source (Latin)). Alternate translations:

The cours and the weye of age is certeyne and determyned by nature, whiche hathe onely awey which is symple & is nothyng different more in the one than in the othir. But each go by that symple and determyned wey aftir the degrees in their cours from the one age in to that other. And yet nature had given to every part of age his owne propre season and tyme, and hir pertynent cours of usage in kynde. That is to witt, that sekenesse and maladye is appropryd to the age of puerice in childhode, & cruelte is appropryd to the age of yongth, worshipfulnesse and sadnesse of maners be appropryd to the age of virilite whiche is the fyfthe age. Moderaunce and temperaunce be appropryd to olde age. Eueriche oweth to have sumwhat naturelly and appropryd unto that whiche may be gadird in his tyme.
[tr. Worcester/Worcester/Scrope (1481), Part 3]

The race and course of age is certain; and there is but one way of nature and the same simple; and to every part of a man's life and age are given his convenient times and proper tempestivities. For even as weakness and infirmity is incident to young children, lustiness and bravery to young men, and gravity when they come to ripe years; so, likewise the maturity or ripeness of old age have a certain special gift given and attributed to it by nature, which ought not to be neglected, but to be taken in his own time and season when it cometh.
[tr. Newton (1569)]

There is but one course of age, and one way of nature, and the same simple, and to every part of age its own timelines is given; for as infirmity belongs to child-hood, fiercenesse to youth, and gravity to age, so the true ripenesse of age hath a certaine natural gravity in it, which ought to be used in it own time.
[tr. Austin (1648)]

Simple, and certain Nature's wayes appear,
As she sets forth the seasons of the year.
So in all parts of life we find her truth,
Weakness to childhood, rashness to our youth:
To elder years to be discreet and grave,
Then to old age maturity she gave.
[tr. Denham (1669)]

Every Age has something in it, peculiar to it self: as Weakness to our Infancy, an unguided Warmth to Youth, Seriousness to Manhood, and a certain Maturity of Judgment to Old Age, which we may expect to reap the Fruits of, when advanced to it.
[tr. Hemming (1716)]

Life has a sure Course, and Nature but one Way, that that too simple and plain. And to every Part of Man's Age a peculiar Propriety of Temper is given: Thus Weakness in Children, a Boldness in Youth, and a Gravity in Manhood appears; and a full Ripeness of Years has always something which seems natural to it, and which ought to be made use of at a proper Time.
[tr. J. D. (1744)]

The Stages of Life are fixed; Nature is the same in all, and goes on in a plain and steady Course: Every Part of Life, like the Year, has its peculiar Season: As Children are by Nature weak, Youth is rash and bold; staid Manhood more solid and grave; and so Old-Age in its Maturity, has something natural to itself, that ought particularly to recommend it.
[tr. Logan (1750)]

Nature conducts us, by a regular and insensible progression through the different seasons of human life; to each of which she has annexed its proper and distinguishing characteristic. As imbecility is the attribute of infancy, ardour of youth, and gravity of manhood; so declining age has its essential properties, which gradually disclose themselves as years increase.
[tr. Melmoth (1773)]

The course of life is fixed, and the path of nature is one, and that simple. And its own proper seasonableness has been given to each division of life; so that both the feebleness of boys and the proud spirit of young men, and the gravity of a now settle period of life, and the maturity of old age, has something natural to it, which ought to be gathered in its own season.
[Cornish Bros. ed. (1847)]

There is a definite career in life, and one way of nature, and that a simple one; and to every part ot life its own peculiar period has been assigned: so that both the feebleness of boys, and the high spirit of young men, and the steadiness of now fixed manhood, and the maturity of old age, have something natural, which ought to be enjoyed in their own time.
[tr. Edmonds (1874)]

Life has its fixed course, and nature one unvarying way; each age has assigned to it what best suits it, so that the fickleness of boyhood, the sanguine temper of youth, the soberness of riper years, and the maturity of old age, equally have something in harmony with nature, which ought to be made availing in its season.
[tr. Peabody (1884)]

The course of life is fixed, and nature admits of its being run but in one way, and only once; and to each part of our life there is something specially seasonable; so that the feebleness of children, as well as the high spirit of youth, the soberness of maturer years, and the ripe wisdom of old age -- all have a certain natural advantage which should be secured in its proper season.
[tr. Shuckburgh (1895)]

One only way
Nature pursues, and that a simple one:
To each is given what is fit for him.
The boy is weak: youth is more full of fire:
Increasing years have more of soberness:
And as in age there is a ripeness too.
Each should be garnered at its proper time,
And made the most of.
[tr. Allison (1916)]

Life's race-course is fixed; Nature has only a single path and that path is run but once, and to each stage of existence has been allotted its own appropriate quality; so that the weakness of childhood, the impetuosity of youth, the seriousness of middle life, the maturity of old age -- each bears some of Nature's fruit, which must be garnered in its own season.
[tr. Falconer (1923)]

The course of life is clear to see; nature has only one path, and it has no turnings. Each season of life has an advantage peculiarly its own; the innocence of children, the hot blood of youth, the gravity of the prime of life, and the mellowness of age all possess advantages that are theirs by nature, and that should be garnered each at its proper time.
[tr. Copley (1967)]

Life and nature have but one direction
Easy to take, without correction.
Each of life’s rite of passage dates
Has its own distinguishing traits:
A child’s weakness
A youth’s boldness
An adult’s authority
An old man’s maturity
And each with a certain natural zest
To be reaped when it’s time for its harvest.
[tr. Bozzi (2015)]

The course of life cannot change. Nature has but a single path and you travel it only once. Each stage of life has its own appropriate qualities -- weakness in childhood, boldness in youth, seriousness in middle age, and maturity in old age. These are fruits that must be harvested in due season.
[tr. Freeman (2016)]

 
Added on 27-Jul-23 | Last updated 2-Nov-23
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More quotes by Cicero, Marcus Tullius

The country of the aged is a land few people think very hard and seriously about before the time of life when they sense they’re arriving there.

Maggie Scarf
Maggie Scarf (b. 1932) American writer, journalist, lecturer
Unfinished Business, ch. 18 (1980)
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You can be young without money but you can’t be old without it. You’ve got to be old with money because to be old without it is just too awful, you’ve got to be one or the other, either young or with money, you can’t be old and without it.

Tennessee Williams (1911-1983) American playwright
Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, Act 1 [Margaret] (1955)
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More quotes by Williams, Tennessee

You know growing old is like being increasingly penalized for a crime you haven’t committed.

Anthony Powell
Anthony Powell (1905-2000) English novelist
Temporary Kings, ch. 1 [Umfraville] (1973)
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More quotes by Powell, Anthony

Then Old Age said again, — Come, let us walk down the street together, — and offered me a cane, an eyeglass, a tippet, and a pair of over-shoes. — No, much obliged to you, said I. I don’t want those things, and I had a little rather talk with you here, privately, in my study. So I dressed myself up in a jaunty way and walked out alone; — got a fall, caught a cold, was laid up with a lumbago, and had time to think over this whole matter.

Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr. (1809-1894) American poet, essayist, scholar
“The Autocrat of the Breakfast Table,” Atlantic Monthly (1858-05)
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Collected in The Autocrat of the Breakfast Table, ch. 7 (1858).
 
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When I was young I was amazed at Plutarch’s statement that the elder Cato began at the age of eighty to learn Greek. I am amazed no longer. Old age is ready to undertake tasks that youth shirked because they would take too long.

W. Somerset Maugham (1874-1965) English novelist and playwright [William Somerset Maugham]
The Summing Up, ch. 73 (1934)
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More quotes by Maugham, W. Somerset

O misery! misery! Time eats our lives,
And that dark Enemy who gnaws our hearts
Grows by the blood he sucks from us, and thrives.

[Ô douleur ! ô douleur ! Le Temps mange la vie,
Et l’obscur Ennemi qui nous ronge le cœur
Du sang que nous perdons croît et se fortifie!]

Charles Baudelaire
Charles Baudelaire (1821-1867) French poet, essayist, art critic
Les Fleurs du Mal [The Flowers of Evil], # 10 “L’Ennemi [The Enemy],” st. 4 (1857) [tr. Squire (1909)]
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Also in 1861, 1868 eds. (Source (French)). Alternate translations:

Oh misery! -- Time devours our lives,
And the enemy black, which consumeth our hearts
On the blood of our bodies, increases and thrives!
[tr. Scott (1909)]

o grief! o grief! time eats away our lives,
and the dark Enemy gnawing at our hearts
sucks from our blood the strength whereon he thrives!
[tr. Shanks (1931)]

Oh, anguish, anguish! Time eats up all things alive;
And that unseen, dark Enemy, upon the spilled
Bright blood we could not spare, battens, and is fulfilled.
[tr. Millay (1936)]

Time swallows up our life, O ruthless rigour!
And the dark foe that nibbles our heart's root,
Grows on our blood the stronger and the bigger!
[tr. Campbell (1952)]

Alas! Alas! Time eats away our lives,
And the hidden Enemy who gnaws at our hearts
Grows by drawing strength from the blood we lose!
[tr. Aggeler (1954)]

Time and nature sluice away our lives.
A virus eats the heart out of our sides,
digs in and multiplies on our lost blood.
[tr. Lowell (1963), "The Ruined Garden"]

О grief! О grief! Time eats away life,
And the dark Enemy who gnaws the heart
Grows and thrives on the blood we lose.
[tr. Fowlie (1964)]

Time consumes existence pain by pain,
and the hidden enemy that gnaws our heart
feeds on the blood we lose, and flourishes!
[tr. Howard (1982)]

I cry! I cry! Life feeds the seasons' maw
And that dark Enemy who gnaws our hearts
Battens on blood that drips into his jaws!
[tr. McGowan (1993)]

Time eats at life: no wonder we despair.
Our enemy feeds on the blood we lose.
He gnaws our heart, and look how strong he grows.
[tr. Lerner (1999)]

O pain! pain! Time devours life and the dark Enemy that gnaws our heart grows, and grows strong, from the blood we let.
[tr. Waldrop (2006)]

 
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More quotes by Baudelaire, Charles

Old age was growing inside me. It kept catching my eye from the depths of the mirror. I was paralyzed sometimes as I saw it make its way for me so steadily when nothing inside me was ready for it.

Simone de Beauvoir (1908-1986) French author, existentialist philosopher, feminist theorist
Force of Circumstance [La Force de Choses], Part 1 ch. 4 (1963) [tr. Howard (1965)]
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At age 41.
 
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More quotes by Beauvoir, Simone de

Neither lemonade nor anything else can prevent the inroads of old age. At present, I am stoical under its advances, and hope I shall remain so. I have but one prayer at heart; and that is, to have my faculties so far preserved that I can be useful, in some way or other, to the last.

Lydia Maria Child (1802-1880) American abolitionist, activist, journalist, suffragist
Letter to Harriet Seward (1869)
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