Quotations about:
    pastime


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Who does not take pleasure in childish toys?

[τίς δ᾽ οὐχὶ χαίρει νηπίοις ἀθύρμασιν]

Euripides (485?-406? BC) Greek tragic dramatist
Auge [Αὐγῃ], fr. 272 [Heracles] (c. 408 BC) [tr. Collard/Cropp (2008)]
    (Source)

Nauck frag. 272, Barnes frag. 20, Musgrave frag. 5. (Source (Greek)). Alternate translations:

Who is not pleas'd with children's harmless sports?
[tr. Wodhall (1809)]

Who does not find delight in childish amusements?
[Source]

 
Added on 16-Jan-24 | Last updated 16-Jan-24
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Where other powers of entertainment are wanting, the true philosopher will derive benefit from such as are given.

Jane Austen
Jane Austen (1775-1817) English novelist
Pride and Prejudice, ch. 42 (1813)
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Added on 20-Dec-23 | Last updated 20-Dec-23
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The only way to forget time is to make use of it.

[On ne peut oublier le temps qu’en s’en servant.]

Charles Baudelaire
Charles Baudelaire (1821-1867) French poet, essayist, art critic
Journaux Intimes [Intimate Journals], “Mon cœur mis à nu [My Heart Laid Bare],” § 111 (1864–1867; pub. 1887) [tr. Sieburth (2022)]
    (Source)

(Source (French)). Alternate translations:

One can only forget Time by making use of it.
[tr. Isherwood (1930)]

One can only forget about time by making use of it.
[Common, e.g.]

 
Added on 4-Dec-23 | Last updated 4-Dec-23
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One of the saddest things is that the only thing that a man can do for eight hours a day, day after day, is work. You can’t eat eight hours a day nor drink for eight hours a day nor make love for eight hours — all you can do for eight hours is work. Which is the reason why man makes himself and everybody else so miserable and unhappy.

William Faulkner (1897-1962) American novelist
“The Art of Fiction,” Interview by Jean Stein, Paris Review #12 (Spring 1956)
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Added on 31-Jul-23 | Last updated 31-Jul-23
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Most people, when they are left free to fill their own time according to their own choice, are at a loss to think of anything sufficiently pleasant to be worth doing. And whatever they decide on, they are troubled by the feeling that something else would have been pleasanter. To be able to fill leisure intelligently is the last product of civilization, and at present very few people have reached this level.

Bertrand Russell
Bertrand Russell (1872-1970) English mathematician and philosopher
The Conquest of Happiness, ch. 14 (1930)
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Added on 6-Oct-21 | Last updated 6-Oct-21
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Ordinary men are intent merely on how to spend their time; a man with any talent is interested in how to use his time.

[Die gewöhnlichen Leute sind bloß darauf bedacht, die Zeit zuzubringen; wer irgend ein Talent hat, — sie zu benutzen.]

Arthur Schopenhauer
Arthur Schopenhauer (1788-1860) German philosopher
Parerga and Paralipomena, Vol. 1, “Aphorisms on the Wisdom of Life [Aphorismen zur Lebensweisheit],” ch. 2 “Of What One Is” [Von dem, was einer ist]” (1851) [tr. Payne (1974)]
    (Source)

(Source (German)). Alternate translation:

Ordinary people think merely how they shall spend their time; a man of any talent tries to use it.
[tr. Saunders (1890)]

 
Added on 27-Sep-21 | Last updated 8-Mar-23
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Do something every day that makes you feel guilty for wasting your time.

Robert Brault (b. c. 1945) American aphorist, programmer
(Attributed)
 
Added on 6-Oct-20 | Last updated 6-Oct-20
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Dreams, books, are each a world; and books we know,
Are a substantial world, both pure and good:
Round these, with tendrils strong as flesh and blood,
Our pastime and our happiness will grow.

William Wordsworth (1770-1850) English poet
“Personal Talk,” st. 3 (1846)
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Added on 16-Sep-20 | Last updated 16-Sep-20
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The pleasantest of all diversions is to sit alone under the lamp, a book spread out before you, and to make friends with people of a distant past you have never known.

Yoshida Kenkō (1284-1350) Japanese author and Buddhist monk [吉田 兼好]
Essays in Idleness [Tsurezuregusa] (c. 1330)
 
Added on 2-Feb-17 | Last updated 2-Feb-17
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Every age has its pleasures, its style of wit, and its own ways.

Nicolas Boileau-Despréaux (1636-1711) French poet and critic
The Art of Poetry [L’Art Poétique], Canto 3 (1674)
 
Added on 7-Jul-16 | Last updated 7-Jul-16
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Now when an American has an idea, he directly seeks a second American to share it. If there be three, they elect a president and two secretaries. Given four, they name a keeper of records, and the office is ready for work; five, they convene a general meeting, and the club is fully constituted.

[Or, quand un Américain a une idée, il cherche un second Américain qui la partage. Sont-ils trois, ils élisent un président et deux secrétaires. Quatre, ils nomment un archiviste, et le bureau fonctionne. Cinq, ils se convoquent en assemblée générale, et le club est constitué.]

Jules Verne (1828-1905) French novelist, poet, playwright
From the Earth to the Moon, ch. 1 “The Gun Club” (1865)
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Added on 11-Mar-16 | Last updated 11-Mar-16
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You do not play then at whist, sir! Alas, what a sad old age you are preparing for yourself!

[Vous ne jouez donc pas le whist, monsieur? Hélas! quelle triste vieilesse vous vous préparez!]

Charles Maurice, Prince de Talleyrand-Périgord (1754-1838) French statesman
(Attributed)

In Amédée Pichot, Souvenirs Intimes sur M. de Talleyrand, "Le Pour et le Contre" (1870).
 
Added on 17-Dec-15 | Last updated 17-Dec-15
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Endeavor to make thy own Company pleasant to thee.

Thomas Fuller (1654-1734) English physician, preacher, aphorist, writer
Introductio ad Prudentiam, Vol. 1, # 99 (1725)
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Added on 17-Feb-14 | Last updated 14-Feb-24
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Let us go singing as far as we go: the road will be less tedious.

[Cantantes licet usque (minus via laedit) eamus.]

Virgil the Poet
Virgil (70-19 BC) Roman poet [b. Publius Vergilius Maro; also Vergil]
Eclogues [Eclogae, Bucolics, Pastorals], No. 9 “Lycidas and Moeris,” l. 64ff (9.64) [Lycidas] (42-38 BC)
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(Source (Latin)). Alternate translations:

Singing lets goe, the way shall better please.
[tr. Ogilby (1649)]

A Song will help the beating Storm to bear.
[tr. Dryden (1709), l. 89]

Light song will ease the road of half its care.
[tr. Wrangham (1830), l. 76]

Yet we may still go on singing; the way will be less tedious.
[tr. Davidson (1854)]

Singing let us journey on --
(The way will seem less tedious).
[tr. Calverley (c. 1871)]

We may as well sing -- it makes the journey less irksome.
[tr. Wilkins (1873)]

Move on, and should the way seem long,
Shorten the distance with a song.
[tr. King (1882), ll. 915-916]

Walk on, and make
The road less tedious with our verse.
[tr. Palmer (1883)]

Then singing let us go,
our way to lighten.
[tr. Greenough (1895)]

Let us go on still singing; the way is less tedious.
[tr. Bryce (1897)]

We may go singing all the way, and the road weary us the less.
[tr. Mackail (1899)]

Let us go singing to beguile our way.
[tr. Mackail/Cardew (1908)]

Let us go forward singing, for the path
Tires us less so.
[tr. Williams (1915)]

We may yet go singing on our way -- it makes the road less irksome.
[tr. Fairclough (Loeb) (1916)]

Let us sing carols all the way: 'twill be
Less tedious.
[tr. Royds (1922)]

Why not go forward singing all the way? It makes the going easier.
[tr. Rieu (1949)]

We still may sing as we go and lighten the journey.
[tr. Johnson (1960)]

We can press on,
Singing as we go: a song lightens a long road.
[tr. Day Lewis (1963), ll. 63-64]

Let's keep on going, but singing as we go.
Sing makes the journey easier.
[tr. Ferry (1999)]

We might go along singing (the road will be less tedious).
[tr. Kline (2001)]

 
Added on 26-Nov-12 | Last updated 27-Dec-23
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PROSPERO:Me, poor man, my library
Was dukedom large enough.

Shakespeare
William Shakespeare (1564-1616) English dramatist and poet
Tempest, Act 1, sc. 2, l. 130ff (1.2.130-131) (1611)
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Added on 23-Jun-11 | Last updated 8-Feb-24
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The time you enjoy wasting is not wasted time.

Bertrand Russell
Bertrand Russell (1872-1970) English mathematician and philosopher
(Misattributed)

Misattributed to many modern authors besides Russell, including John Lennon, T. S. Elliot, and Soren Kierkegaard.

The frequent misattribution to Russell is from the phrase being used by Lawrence J. Peter in Peter's Quotations (1977) about a different Russell quote ("The thing that I should wish to obtain from money would be leisure with security"). In turn, the words were not original with Peter: the earliest citation for this quote is Marthe Troly-Curtin, Phyrnette Married, ch. 29 (1912).

More information on the history of this quotation: Time You Enjoy Wasting Is Not Wasted Time – Quote Investigator®.
 
Added on 25-May-11 | Last updated 7-Jun-23
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When I play with my cat, who can say that it is not she amusing herself with me more than I with her?

[Quand je me jouë à ma chatte, qui sçait, si elle passe son temps de moy plus que je ne fay d’elle?]

Montaigne - When I play with my cat, who can say that it is not she amusing herself with me more than I with her - wist.info quote

Michel de Montaigne (1533-1592) French essayist
“Apology for Raymond Sebond [Apologie de Raimond de Sebonde]” (1588–1592), Essays, Book 2, ch. 12 (1595) [tr. Ives (1925)]
    (Source)

(Source (French)). Alternate translations:

When I am playing with my Cat, who knowes whether she have more sporte in dallying with me, then I have in gaming with hir?
[tr. Florio (1603)]

When I play with my cat, who knows whether puss is not more diverted with me than I am with puss?
[tr. Cotton (1686)]

When I play with my cat who knows whether I do not make her more sport than she makes me?
[tr. Cotton/Hazlitt (1877)]

When I play with my cat, who knows if I am not a pastime to her more than she is to me.
[tr. Frame (1943)]

When I play with my cat, how do I know that she is not passing time with me rather than I with her?
[tr. Screech (1987)]

 
Added on 16-Jan-09 | Last updated 3-Jan-24
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“I wish life was not so short,” he thought. “Languages take such a time, and so do all the things one wants to know about.”

J.R.R. Tolkien (1892-1973) English writer, fabulist, philologist, academic [John Ronald Reuel Tolkien]
The Lost Road, ch. 1 [Alboin] (1987) [ed. C. Tolkien]
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Added on 28-Aug-07 | Last updated 6-Apr-23
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There is a very fine line between “hobby” and “mental illness.”

Dave Barry (b. 1947) American humorist
“25 Things I Have Learned In 50 Years,” #11 (1997)
 
Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 20-Oct-14
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