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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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One of the keys to happiness is a bad memory.

Rita Mae Brown (b. 1944) American author, playwright
(Attributed)
Added on 14-May-18 | Last updated 14-May-18
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If you would understand your own age, read the works of fiction produced in it. People in disguise speak freely.

Arthur Helps (1813-1875) English writer and bureaucrat
Thoughts in the Cloister and the Cloud(1835)
Added on 15-Dec-16 | Last updated 15-Dec-16
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It’s a terrible thing, I think, in life to wait until you’re ready. I have this feeling now that actually no one is ever ready to do anything. There is almost no such thing as ready. There is only now. And you may as well do it now.

Hugh Laurie (b. 1959) English actor, writer, musician, singer
Interview with Sophie Harris, Time Out: New York (1 Sep 2012)
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Added on 5-Dec-16 | Last updated 5-Dec-16
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To be hopeful in bad times is not just foolishly romantic. It is based on the fact that human history is a history not only of cruelty, but also of compassion, sacrifice, courage, kindness.

What we choose to emphasize in this complex history will determine our lives. If we see only the worst, it destroys our capacity to do something. If we remember those times and places — and there are so many — where people have behaved magnificently, this gives us the energy to act, and at least the possibility of sending this spinning top of a world in a different direction.

And if we do act, in however small a way, we don’t have to wait for some grand utopian future. The future is an infinite succession of presents, and to live now as we think human beings should live, in defiance of all that is bad around us, is itself a marvelous victory.

zinn-itself-a-marvelous-victory-wist_info-quote

Howard Zinn (1922-2010) American historian, academic, author, social activist
“The Optimism of Uncertainty,” The Nation (2 Sep 2004)
    (Source)

Adopted from Zinn's essay of the same name in Paul Loeb (ed.), The Impossible Will Take a Little While (2004). See also Zinn, "A Marvelous Victory" (23 Feb 2004).
Added on 28-Nov-16 | Last updated 11-Dec-16
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Every old man complains of the growing depravity of the world, of the petulance and insolence of the rising generation. He recounts the decency and regularity of former times, and celebrates the discipline and sobriety of the age in which his youth was passed; a happy age which is now no more to be expected, since confusion has broken in upon the world, and thrown down all the boundaries of civility and reverence.

johnson-growing-depravity-of-the-world-wist_info-quote

Samuel Johnson (1709-1784) English writer, lexicographer, critic
The Rambler, #50 (8 Sep 1750)
Added on 6-Oct-16 | Last updated 6-Oct-16
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Rash indeed is he who reckons on the morrow, or haply on days beyond it; for tomorrow is not, until today is past.

Sophocles (496-406 BC) Greek tragic playwright
Trachiniae, l. 943
Added on 7-Sep-16 | Last updated 7-Sep-16
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Live now, believe me, wait not till tomorrow;
Gather the roses of life today.

[Vivez, si m’en croyez, n’attendez à demain;
Cueillez dés aujourd’huy les roses de la vie.]

De Ronsard - roses of life - wist_info quote

Pierre de Ronsard (1524-1585) French poet
“Quand vous serez bien vieille, au soir, à la chandelle,” l. 13, Sonnets pour Hélène (1578)
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Added on 3-Aug-16 | Last updated 3-Aug-16
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Our deeds still travel with us from afar.
And what we have been makes us what we are.

Eliot - deeds still travel with us - wist_info quote

George Eliot (1819-1880) English novelist [pseud. of Mary Ann Evans]
Middlemarch (1871-72)
Added on 22-Jun-16 | Last updated 22-Jun-16
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Remember that man’s life lies all within this present, as ’twere but a hair’s-breadth of time: as for the rest, the past is gone, the future yet unseen.

Marcus Aurelius (121-180) Roman emperor (161-180), Stoic philosopher
Meditations, Book 3, #10
Added on 15-Jun-16 | Last updated 15-Jun-16
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We are willing enough to praise freedom when she is safely tucked away in the past and cannot be a nuisance. In the present, amidst dangers whose outcome we cannot foresee, we get nervous about her, and admit censorship.

E. M. Forster (1879-1970) English novelist, essayist, critic, librettist [Edward Morgan Forster]
Two Cheers for Democracy, “The Tercentenary of the Areopagitica” (1951)
Added on 7-Jun-16 | Last updated 7-Jun-16
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We can draw lessons from the past, but we cannot live in it.

Lyndon B. Johnson (1908-1973) American poltician, educator, US President (1963-69)
Speech, Consumer Advisory Council, Washington, DC (13 Dec 1963)
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Added on 6-Jun-16 | Last updated 6-Jun-16
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There are many fine things which you mean to do some day, under what you think will be more favorable circumstances. But the only time that is surely yours is the present, hence this is the time to speak the word of appreciation and sympathy, to do the generous deed, to forgive the fault of a thoughtless friend, to sacrifice self a little more for others. Today is the day in which to express your noblest qualities of mind and heart, to do at least one worthy thing which you have long postponed, and to use your God-given abilities for the enrichment of some less fortunate fellow traveler. Today you can make your life big, broad, significant and worthwhile. The present is yours to do with it as you will.

Kleiser - today is the day - wist_info quote

Grenville Kleiser (1868-1953) Canadian-American self-help author
Inspiration And Ideals: Thoughts For Every Day, “August Twenty-Eighth” (1918 ed.)
Added on 1-Jun-16 | Last updated 1-Jun-16
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Cease to inquire what the future has in store, and to take as a gift whatever the day brings forth.

Horace (65-8 BC) Roman poet and satirist [Quintus Horacius Flaccus]
Odes [Carmina], Book 1, Ode 9, l. 13 (c. 23 BC)
Added on 18-May-16 | Last updated 18-May-16
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The secret of health for both mind and body is not to mourn for the past, worry about the future, or anticipate troubles, but to live in the present moment wisely and earnestly.

Buddha (c.563-483 BC) Indian mystic, philosopher [b. Siddharta Gautama]
(Attributed)

In The Teaching of Buddha [The Buddhist Bible] (1934) by the Federation of All Young Buddhist Associations of Japan.
Added on 4-May-16 | Last updated 4-May-16
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Whether it’s the best of times or the worst of times, it’s the only time we’ve got.

Buchwald - only time weve got - wist_info quote

Art Buchwald (1925-2007) American humorist, columnist
(Attributed)
Added on 13-Apr-16 | Last updated 13-Apr-16
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The whole lesson of my life has been that no ‘methods of stimulation’ are of any lasting use. They are indeed like drugs — a stronger dose is needed each time and soon no possible dose is effective. We must not bother about thrills at all. Do the present duty — bear the present pain — enjoy the present pleasure — and leave emotions and ‘experiences’ to look after themselves.

C.S. Lewis (1898-1963) English writer and scholar [Clive Staples Lewis]
Letter to Mrs. Ray Garrett (12 Sep 1960)
Added on 14-Oct-15 | Last updated 14-Oct-15
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Philosophy easily triumphs over past ills and ills to come, but present ills triumph over philosophy.

François VI, duc de La Rochefoucauld (1613-1680) French epigrammist, memoirist, noble
Réflexions ou sentences et maximes morales [Maxims], # 22 (1665-1678) [tr. Tancock (1959)]
Added on 30-Jul-15 | Last updated 30-Jul-15
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Mary, my sweet, carpe that old diem! — it’s the only game in town.

Robert A. Heinlein (1907-1988) American writer
Methuselah’s Children [Lazarus Long] (1958)
Added on 28-Jul-15 | Last updated 28-Jul-15
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What a day-to-day affair life is.

Jules Laforgue (1860-1887) Franco-Uruguayan Symbolist poet
“Complainte sur certains ennuis,” Les Complaintes (1885)
Added on 31-Dec-14 | Last updated 31-Dec-14
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Great as our differences are, all of us — professors, politicians, preachers — would no doubt find that we had much in common after all if it were possible to meet in the flesh some distinguished representatives from a former age.

Carl L. Becker (1873-1945) American historian
The Heavenly City of the Eighteenth-century Philosophers (1932)
Added on 30-Dec-14 | Last updated 30-Dec-14
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But we live through the fine days without noticing them; only when we fall on evil ones do we wish to have back the former. With sour faces we let a thousand bright and pleasant hours slip by unenjoyed and afterwards vainly sigh for their return when times are trying and depressing. Instead of this, we should cherish every present moment that is bearable, even the most ordinary, which with such indifference we now let slip by, and even with impatience push on.

Arthur Schopenhauer (1788-1860) German philosopher
Parerga and Paralipomena (1861)
Added on 3-Nov-14 | Last updated 3-Nov-14
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The secret of health for both mind and body is not to mourn for the past, worry about the future, or anticipate troubles, but to live in the present moment wisely and earnestly.

Buddha (c.563-483 BC) Indian mystic, philosopher [b. Siddharta Gautama]
In Bukkyõ Dendõ Kyõkai, The Teaching of Buddha (1966)

Likely a paraphrase of a variety of the Buddha's teachings.
Added on 15-Sep-14 | Last updated 15-Sep-14
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The best time to plant a tree was twenty years ago. The second best time is now.

Other Authors and Sources
Chinese proverb
Added on 9-Jul-14 | Last updated 9-Jul-14
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TURHAN: The past tempts us, the present confuses us, and the future frightens us. And our lives slip away, moment by moment, lost in that vast, terrible in-between.

J. Michael (Joe) Straczynski (b. 1954) American screenwriter, producer, author [a/k/a "JMS"]
Babylon 5, “The Coming of Shadows” (1 Feb 1995)
Added on 23-May-14 | Last updated 29-May-14
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Therefore, two bad habits must be forbidden, both the fear of the future and the memory of by-gone trouble; the latter no longer belongs to me, the former, not yet.

Seneca the Younger (c. 4 BC-AD 65) Roman statesman, philosopher, playwright [Lucius Annaeus Seneca]
Moral Letters to Lucilius [Epistulae morales ad Lucilium], letter 78, sec. 14
Added on 10-Sep-13 | Last updated 16-Jun-14
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Happiness is the only good.
The place to be happy is here.
The time to be happy is now.
The way to be happy is to make others so.

Robert Green Ingersoll (1833-1899) American lawyer, agnostic, orator
Note to a fan (26 Mar 1897)
Added on 4-Jan-12 | Last updated 4-Feb-16
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Ask counsel of both times — of the ancient time what is best, and of the latter time what is fittest.

Francis Bacon (1561-1626) English philosopher, scientist, author, statesman
“Of Great Place,” Essays, No. 11 (1625)
Added on 17-Sep-10 | Last updated 16-May-16
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Who are you, reader, reading my poems an hundred years hence?

I cannot send you one single flower from this wealth of the spring, one single streak of gold from yonder clouds.

Open your doors and look abroad.

From your blossoming garden gather fragrant memories of the vanished flowers of an hundred years before.

In the joy of your heart may you feel the living joy that sang one spring morning, sending its glad voice across a hundred years.

Rabindranath Tagore (1861-1941) Indian Bengali poet, philosopher [a.k.a. Rabi Thakur, Kabiguru]
The Gardener, #85 (1915)
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Added on 7-Jun-10 | Last updated 8-Oct-15
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To complain of the age we live in, to murmur at the present possessors of power, to lament for the past, to conceive extravagant hopes of the future, are the common dispositions of the greatest part of mankind.

Edmund Burke (1729-1797) Anglo-Irish statesman, orator, philosopher
“Thoughts on the Cause of the Present Discontents” (23 Apr 1770)
Added on 6-May-08 | Last updated 7-Jul-16
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If the Party could thrust its hand into the past and say of this or that event, it never happened — that, surely, was more terrifying than mere torture and death? The Party said that Oceania had never been in alliance with Eurasia. He, Winston Smith, knew that Oceania had been in alliance with Eurasia as short a time as four years ago. But where did that knowledge exist? Only in his own consciousness, which in any case must soon be annihilated. And if all others accepted the lie which the Party imposed — if all records told the same tale — then the lie passed into history and became truth. “Who controls the past,” ran the Party slogan, “controls the future: who controls the present controls the past.”

George Orwell (1903-1950) English writer [pseud. of Eric Arthur Blair]
Nineteen Eighty-Four (1949)
    (Source)

Sometimes paraphrased, "He who controls the past controls the future. He who controls the present controls the past."
Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 28-Oct-19
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Th’ past always looks better thin it was. It’s only pleasant because it isn’t here.

[The past always looks better than it was. It’s only pleasant because it isn’t here.]

Finley Peter Dunne (1867-1936) American humorist and journalist
A Family Union, “Mr. Dooley”
Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 4-Mar-16
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As we speak, cruel time is fleeing.  Seize the day, leave as little as possible to tomorrow.

[… dum loquimur, fugerit invida
aetas: carpe diem, quam minimum credula postero
.]

Horace (65-8 BC) Roman poet and satirist [Quintus Horacius Flaccus]
Odes [Carmina], Book 1, Ode 11, l. 8 (c. 23 BC)

Alt trans. "... believing as little as possible in the morrow."
Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 13-Apr-16
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“When you wake up in the morning, Pooh, what’s the first thing you say to yourself?”
“What’s for breakfast?” said Pooh. “What do you say, Piglet?”
“I say, I wonder what’s going to happen exciting today?” said Piglet.
Pooh nodded thoughtfully.
“It’s the same thing,” he said.

A. A. Milne (1882-1956) English poet and playwright [Alan Alexander Milne]
Winnie-the-Pooh (1926)
Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 3-Nov-15
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