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They [the hours] pass by, and are put to our account.

[Nobis pereunt et imputantur.]

Martial (AD c.39-c.103) Spanish Roman poet, satirist, epigrammatist [Marcus Valerius Martialis]
Epigrams [Epigrammata], Book 5, #20, line 13

This phrase is often found as an inscription on sundials.

Alt. trans.:
  • "As it is, neither of us lives for himself, but sees his good days flee from him and vanish; days which are ever being lost to us, and set down to our account. Should any one, then, delay to live, when he knows how?" [tr. Bohn (1871)]
  • "Now to himself, alas! does neither live / But see good suns of which we are to give / A strict account, set and march thick away. / Knows a man how to live, and does he stay?" [tr. Cowley]
  • "To-day neither lives for himself, and he feels the good days are flitting and passing away, our days that perish and are scored to our account. Does any man, when he knows how to live, delay?" [tr. Ker (1919)]
  • "Each of us feels the good days speed and depart, and they are lost and counted against us. [bonosque soles effugere atque abire sentit, qui nobis pereunt et imputantur]" [Source]
  • "The hours perish to us, and are accounted also to us." [Source]

    Nunc vivit sibi euter,heu, bonosque Soles effugere atque abire sentit: Qui nobis pereunt et imputantur. Quisquan vive cum sciat, moratur?
Added on 25-May-18 | Last updated 25-May-18
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Whether we wake or we sleep,
Whether we carol or weep,
The Sun with his Planets in chime,
Marketh the going of Time.

Edward FitzGerald (1809-1883) English writer, poet, translator
“Chronomoros,” l. 33ff, Chambers’s Edinburgh Journal (5 Dec 1840)
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Added on 11-Sep-17 | Last updated 18-Sep-17
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Everything passes, everything breaks, everything palls, everything gets replaced.

[Tout passe, tout casse, tout lasse, et tout se remplace.]

Other Authors and Sources
French proverb

Sometimes given without the final clause. The second and third clauses are sometimes reversed.
Added on 18-Aug-17 | Last updated 18-Aug-17
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DEATH: You see. No shock. No engulfment. No tearing asunder. What you feared would come like an explosion is like a whisper. What you thought was the end is the beginning.

George Clayton Johnson (1929-2015) American writer
Twilight Zone, 3×16 “Nothing in the Dark” (5 Jan 1962)
Added on 17-Apr-17 | Last updated 17-Apr-17
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Life is not made up of dramatic incidents — even the life of a nation. It is made up of slowly evolving events and processes, which newspapers, by a score of different forms of emphasis, can reasonably attempt to explore from day to day. But television news jerks from incident to incident. For the real world of patient and familiar arrangements, it substitutes an unreal world of constant activity, and the effect is already apparent in the way which the world behaves. It is almost impossible, these days, to consider any problem or any event except as a crisis; and, by this very way of looking at it, it in fact becomes a crisis.

Henry Fairlie (1924-1990) British journalist and social critic
“Can You Believe Your Eyes?” Horizon (Spring 1967)
Added on 31-Mar-17 | Last updated 31-Mar-17
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I bid good-bye to the old century, may it rest in peace as it has lived in war. Of the new century I prophesy nothing except that it will see the decline of the British Empire. Other worse empires will rise perhaps in its place, but I shall not live to see the day. It all seems a very little matter here in Egypt, with the pyramids watching us as they watched Joseph, when, as a young man four thousand years ago, perhaps in this very garden, he walked and gazed at the sunset behind them, wondering about the future just as I did this evening. And so, poor wicked nineteenth century, farewell!

Wilfrid Scawen Blunt (1840-1922) English poet, critic, horse breeder
My Diaries, 1888-1914, 31 Dec 1900 (1921)
Added on 2-Jun-16 | Last updated 2-Jun-16
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Alas! There is no casting anchor in the stream of time!

Marguerite Gardiner, Countess of Blessington (1789-1849) Irish novelist [Lady Blessington, b. Margaret Power]
Country Quarters (1850)
Added on 19-May-16 | Last updated 19-May-16
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Because inside every old person is a young person wondering what happened.

Terry Pratchett (1948-2015) English author
Moving Pictures (1990)
Added on 5-Aug-15 | Last updated 5-Aug-15
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The world moves, and ideas that were good once are not always good.

Dwight David Eisenhower (1890-1969) American general, US President (1953-61)
News conference (31 Aug 1956)
Added on 11-Jun-15 | Last updated 11-Jun-15
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All things pass in time. We are far less significant than we imagine ourselves to be. All that we are, all that we have wrought, is but a shadow, no matter how durable it may seem. One day, when the last man has breathed his last breath, the sun will shine, the mountains will stand, the rain will fall, the streams will whisper — and they will not miss him.

Jim Butcher (b. 1971) American author
Princeps’ Fury, Epilogue [Gaius Sextus] (2008)
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Added on 20-Jan-15 | Last updated 20-Jan-15
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When the country goes temporarily to the dogs, cats must learn to be circumspect, walk on fences, sleep in trees, and have faith that all this woofing is not the last word.

Garrison Keillor (b. 1942) American entertainer, author
“The Meaning of Life,” We Are Still Married (1989)
Added on 30-Oct-14 | Last updated 30-Oct-14
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All things are in motion, and nothing is at rest. … You cannot step into the same [river] twice, for fresh waters are ever flowing in upon you.

[Πάντα ῥεῖ καὶ οὐδὲν μένει]

Heraclitus (c.540-c.480 BC) Greek philosopher [also Heracleitus]
(Attributed)

Paraphrased by Socrates in Plato, Cratylus, l. 402 [tr. B Jowett (1894)] and by Diogenes Laërtius in Lives of the Philosophers Bk 9, sec 8

Alt trans.:
  • Everything flows, nothing stays still
  • Everything flows and nothing stays.
  • Everything flows and nothing abides.
  • Everything gives way and nothing stays fixed.
  • Everything flows; nothing remains.
  • All is flux, nothing is stationary.
  • All is flux, nothing stays still.
  • You cannot step twice into the same river; for other waters are continually flowing in.
  • You cannot step twice into the same stream. For as you are stepping in, other waters are ever flowing on to you.
  • You cannot step twice into the same river.
  • It is impossible to step into the same river twice.
  • No man ever steps in the same river twice, for it's not the same river and he's not the same man.
Added on 23-Apr-09 | Last updated 14-Mar-17
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The world goes up and the world goes down,
The sunshine follows the rain,
And yesterday’s sneer and yesterday’s frown
Can never come over again.

Charles Kingsley (1819-1875) English clergyman, historian, essayist, novelist (pseud. "Parson Lot")
“Dolcino to Margaret” (1851)
Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 4-Sep-16
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