C.N. Douglas, comp. Forty Thousand Quotations: Prose and Poetical. 1917.


Good old age.

Genesis xv. 15.

Slow, consuming age.


Crabbed age and youth cannot live together.


Few people know how to be old.

La Rochefoucauld.

Age either transfigures or petrified.

Marie Ebner-Eschenbach.

It is difficult to grow old gracefully.

Madame de Staël.

Begin to patch up thine old body for heaven.


The clock of his age had struck fifty-eight.


An old man is twice a child.


When the age is in, the wit is out.


Mellowed by the stealing hours of time.


No wise man ever wished to be younger.


Old age is an incurable disease.


The evening of life brings with it its lamps.


’T is the sunset of life gives us mystical lore.


Age is suspicious, but is not itself often suspected.


Nor age so eat up my invention.


Men shut their doors against a setting sun.


O good gray head which all men knew.


Age and want sit smiling at the gate.


Thyself no more deceive, thy youth hath fled.


The silver livery of advised age.


They say women and music should never be dated.


The Grecian ladies counted their age from their marriage, not their birth.


As I approach a second childhood, I endeavor to enter into the pleasures of it.

Lady Montagu.

Age***is is a matter of feeling, not of years.

George William Curtis.

  • Stronger by weakness, wiser men become,
  • As they draw near to their eternal home.
  • Edmund Waller.

    His cheek the map of days outworn.


    Time’s chariot-wheels make their carriage-road in the fairest face.

    La Rochefoucauld.

    Age too, shines out, and garrulous recounts the feats of youth.


    Have a care lest the wrinkles in the face extend to the heart.

    Marguerite de Valois.

    White hairs are the crests of foam which cover the sea after the tempest.

    Elizabeth, Queen of Roumania.

    What makes old age so sad is, not that our joys, but that our hopes, cease.


    Old age is a tyrant, which forbids the pleasures of youth on pain of death.

    La Rochefoucauld.

    We are to seek wisdom and understanding only in the length of days.

    Robert Hall.

    The silver-leaved birch retains in its old age a soft bark; there are some such men.


    Some smack of age in you, some relish of the saltness of time.


    Your date is better in your pie and your porridge than in your cheek.


    The defects of the mind, like those of the face, grow worse as we grow old.

    La Rochefoucauld.

    Every man desires to live long; but, no man would be old.


    His hair just grizzled as in a green old age.


    Years steal fire from the mind as vigor from the limb.


    Years do not make sages; they only make old men.

    Madame Swetchine.

    As the evening twilight fades away, the sky is filled with stars, invisible by day.


    The enthusiasm of old men is singularly like that of infancy.

    Gerard de Nerval.

    As we grow old we become more foolish and more wise.

    La Rochefoucauld.

    Nature, as it grows again toward earth, is fashioned for the journey, dull and heavy.


    We do not count a man’s years until he has nothing else to count.


    As you are old and reverend, you should he wise.


    An old age serene and bright, and lovely as a Lapland night, shall lead thee to thy grave.


    A youthful age is desirable, but aged youth is troublesome and grievous.


    How many persons fancy they have experience simply because they have grown old!


    For my own part, I had rather be old only a short time than be old before I really am so.


    As we advance in life the circle of our pains enlarges, while that of our pleasures contracts.

    Madame Swetchine.

    We see time’s furrows on another’s brow; how few themselves, in that just mirror, see!


    What folly can be ranker? Like our shadows, our wishes lengthen as our sun declines.


    Cautious age suspects the flattering form, and only credits what experience tells.


    At twenty years of age, the will reigns; at thirty, the wit; and at forty, the judgment.


  • To the old, long life and treasure;
  • To the young, all health and pleasure.
  • Ben Jonson.

  • The best is yet to be,
  • The last of life, for which the first was made.
  • Browning.

    I love everything that’s old,—old friends, old times, old manners, old books, old wine.


    Forty is the old age of youth; fifty is the youth of old age.

    Victor Hugo.

    To be happy, we must be true to nature, and carry our age along with us.


    Men, like peaches and pears, grow sweet a little while before they begin to decay.


    Age, that lessens the enjoyment of life, increases our desire of living.


    When men once reach their autumn, sickly joys fall off apace, as yellow leaves from trees.


  • You see me here,—a poor old man,
  • As full of grief as age; wretched in both!
  • Shakespeare.

    Thou shalt go to thy fathers in peace, thou shalt be buried in a good old age.

    Genesis xv. 15.

    Youth changes its tastes by the warmth of its blood; age retains its tastes by habit.

    La Rochefoucauld.

    Age is rarely despised but when it is contemptible.


    As you are old and reverend, you should be wise.


    Age bears away with it all things, even the powers of the mind.


    Care keeps his watch in every old man’s eye.


    These are the effects of doting age,—vain doubts and idle cares and overcaution.


  • Borne on the swift, tho’ silent wings of time,
  • Old age comes on apace, to ravage all the clime.
  • Beattie.

    Childhood itself is scarcely more lovely than a cheerful, kindly, sunshiny old age.

    Mrs. L. M. Child.

    A healthy old fellow, who is not a fool, is the happiest creature living.


  • Whatever poet, orator, or sage
  • May say of it, old age is still old age.
  • Longfellow.

    Old wood best to burn, old wine to drink, old friends to trust, and aid authors to read.


    Youth is a blunder; Manhood a struggle; Old Age a regret.

    Disraeli (Earl Beaconsfield).

  • Why will you break the Sabbath of my days?
  • Now sick alike of envy and of praise.
  • Pope.

    Superfluity comes sooner by white hairs, but competency lives longer.


    Age is a tyrant, who forbids, at the penalty of life, all the pleasures of youth.

    La Rochefoucauld.

    A time there is when like a thrice-told tale long-rifled life of sweets can yield no more.


    Age makes us not childish, as some say; it finds us still true children.


  • Thirst of power and of riches now bear sway,
  • The passion and infirmity of age.
  • Frowde.

    Age is frequently beautiful, wisdom appearing like an aftermath.


    Old age has deformities enough of its own; do not add to it the deformity of vice.


  • Boys must not have th’ ambitious care of men,
  • Nor men the weak anxieties of age.
  • Horace.

    Gray hairs seem to my fancy like the light of a soft moon, silvering over the evening of life.


  • The sunshine falls, the shadows grow more dreary,
  • And I am near to fall, infirm and weary.
  • Longfellow.

    The most dangerous weakness of old people who have been amiable is to forget they are no longer so.

    La Rochefoucauld.

  • What should we speak of
  • When we are old as you? When we shall hear
  • The rain and wind beat dark December.
  • Shakespeare.

  • When he’s forsaken,
  • Wither’d and shaken,
  • What can an old man do but die?
  • Hood.

    Beauty and ugliness disappear equally under the wrinkles of age; one is lost in them; the other hidden.

    J. Petit-Senn.

    There is nothing more disgraceful than that an old man should have nothing to produce as a proof that he has lived long except his years.


    Nature is full of freaks, and now puts an old head on young shoulders, and then a young heart beating under fourscore winters.


  • And the bright faces of my young companions
  • Are wrinkled like my own, or are no more.
  • Longfellow.

    Tell me what you find better, or more honorable than age. Is not wisdom entailed upon it? Take the pre-eminence of it in everything; in an old friend, in old wine, in an old pedigree.

    Shakerly Marmion.

    Most long lives resemble those threads of gossamer, the nearest approach to nothing unmeaningly prolonged, scarce visible pathways of some worm from his cradle to his grave.


    Time has laid his hand upon my heart gently, not smiting it; but as a harper lays his open palm upon his harp, to deaden its vibrations.


    The tendency of old age, say the physiologists, is to form bone. It is as rare as it is pleasant, to meet with an old man whose opinions are not ossified.

    J. F. Boyse.

    There are three classes into which all the women past seventy years of age, that ever I knew, were to be divided: 1. That dear old soul; 2. That old woman; 3. That old witch.


    O sir, you are old; nature in you stands on the very verge of her confine; you should be ruled and led by some discretion, that discerns your fate better than you yourself.


    Last scene of all, that ends this strange, eventful history, is second childishness, and mere oblivion; sans teeth, sans eyes, sans taste, sans everything.


  • ’Tis the sunset of life gives us mystical lore,
  • And coming events cast their shadows before.
  • Campbell.

    Thou shalt come to thy grave in a full age, like a shock of corn cometh in his season.

    Job v. 26.

    I feel I am growing old for want of somebody to tell me that I am looking as young as ever. Charming falsehood! There is a vast deal of vial air in loving words.


    The heart never grows better by age; I fear rather worse; always harder. A young liar will be an old one; and a young knave will only be a greater knave as he grows older.


  • On his bold visage middle age
  • Had slightly press’d its signet sage.
  • Scott.

  • At your age,
  • The hey-day in the blood is tame, it’s humble,
  • And waits upon the judgment.
  • Shakespeare.

    We hope to grow old and we dread old age; that is to say, we love life and we flee from death.

    La Bruyère.

    The tree that bears no fruit deserves no name; the man of wisdom is the man of years.


    We must not take the faults of our youth into our old age; for old age brings with it its own defects.


    It is only necessary to grow old to become more indulgent. I see no fault committed that I have not committed myself.


  • Set is the sun of my years;
  • And over a few poor ashes,
  • I sit in my darkness and tears.
  • Gerald Massey.

  • And his big manly voice,
  • Turning again toward childish treble, pipes
  • And whistles in his sound.
  • Shakespeare.

  • How far the gulf-stream of our youth
  • May flow into the Arctic region of our lives,
  • Where little else than life itself survives.
  • Longfellow.

    Some one has said of a fine and honorable old age, that it was the childhood of immortality.


    When a noble life has, prepared old age, it is not the decline that it reveals, but the first days of immortality.

    Madame de Staël.

    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.

    H. W. Shaw.

    There is nothing against which an old man should be so much upon his guard as putting himself to nurse.

    Dr. Johnson.

    In an aged man appears ripeness of wisdom: it is the oldest sandal-tree which emits the most fragrance.


    Old men’s lives are lengthened shadows; their evening sun falls coldly on the earth, but the shadows all point to the morning.


    Age and youth look upon life from the opposite ends of the telescope; it is exceedingly long, it is exceedingly short.


    Old age was naturally more honored in times when people could not know much more than what they had seen.


    Only when the sap is dried up, only when age comes on, does the sun shine in vain for man and for the tree.


    Age is not all decay; it is the ripening, the swelling, of the fresh life within, that withers and bursts the husk.

    George MacDonald.

    The Disappointment of Manhood succeeds to the delusion of Youth; let us hope that the heritage of Old Age is not Despair.


  • For we are old, and on our quick’st decrees
  • The inaudible and noiseless foot of Time
  • Steals ere we can effect them.
  • Shakespeare.

    That which is usually called dotage is not the weak point of all old men, but only of such as are distinguished by their levity.


    Next to the very young, I suppose the very old are the most selfish. Alas! the heart hardens as the blood ceases to run.


    An aged Christian, with the snow of time on his head, may remind us that those points of earth are whitest which are nearest heaven.


    If wrinkles must be written upon our brows, let them not be written upon the heart. The spirit should not grow old.

    James A. Garfield.

  • In age to wish for youth is full as vain
  • As for a youth to turn a child again.
  • Denham.

    The surest sign of age is loneliness. While one finds company in himself and his pursuits, he cannot be old, whatever his years may be.


    Old age takes from the man of intellect no qualities save those that are useless to wisdom.


  • Thus pleasures fade away;
  • Youth, talents, beauty, thus decay,
  • And leave us dark, forlorn, and gray.
  • Scott.

  • Superfluous lags the veteran on the stage,
  • Till pitying Nature signs the last release,
  • And bids afflicted worth retire to peace.
  • Dr. Johnson.

  • ***Years steal
  • Fire from the mind, as vigor from the limb;
  • And life’s enchanted cup but sparkles near the brim.
  • Byron.

    Each departed friend is a magnet that attracts us to the next world, and the old man lives among graves.


    Up to forty a woman has only forty springs in her heart. After that age she has only forty winters.

    Arsène Houssaye.

    When men grow virtuous in their old age, they are merely making a sacrifice to God of the devil’s leavings.


    We grizzle every day. I see no need of it. Whilst we converse with what is above us, we do not grow old, but grow young.


  • Down his neck his reverend lockes
  • In comelye curles did wave;
  • And on his aged temples grewe
  • The blossomes of the grave.
  • Old Ballad.

    Depend upon it, a man never experiences such pleasure or grief after fourteen years as he does before, unless in some cases, in his first love-making, when the sensation is new to him.

    Charles Kingsley.

    To resist with success the frigidity of old age, one must combine the body, the mind, and the heart; to keep these in parallel vigor, one must exercise, study, and love.


    As sailing into port is a happier thing than the voyage, so is age happier than youth; that is, when the voyage from youth is made with Christ at the helm.

    Rev. J. Pulsford.

  • Thus fares it still in our decay,
  • And yet the wiser mind
  • Mourns less for what age takes away
  • Than what it leaves behind.
  • Wordsworth.

    The vine produces more grapes when it is young, but better grapes for wine when it is old, because its juices are more perfectly concocted.


  • My days are in the yellow leaf;
  • The flowers and fruits of love are gone;
  • The worm, the canker, and the grief
  • Are mine alone!
  • Byron.

    Natures that have much heat, and great and violent desires and perturbations, are not ripe for action till they have passed the meridian of their years.


  • Backward, flow backward, O tide of the years!
  • I am so weary of toil and of tears,—
  • Toil without recompense, tears all in vain—
  • Take them and give me my childhood again!
  • Elizabeth Akers Allen.

    The vices of old age have the stiffness of it, too; and as it is the unfittest time to learn in, so the unfitness of it to unlearn will be found much greater.


    I am much beholden to old age, which has increased my eagerness for conversation in proportion as it has lessened my appetites of hunger and thirst.


    Throughout the whole vegetable, sensible, and rational world, whatever makes progress towards maturity, as soon as it has passed that point, begins to verge towards decay.


    He who would pass the declining years of his life with honor and comfort, should when young, consider that he may one day become old, and remember, when he is old, that he has once been young.


    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. Man moves all together, both towards his perfection and decay.


  • 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.
  • Moore.

  • Though now this grained face of mine be hid
  • In sap-consuming winter’s drizzled snow,
  • And all the conduits of my blood froze up,
  • Yet hath my night of life some memory.
  • Shakespeare.

  • For age is opportunity no less
  • Than youth itself, though in another dress,
  • And as the evening twilight fades away
  • The sky is filled with stars, invisible by day.
  • Longfellow.

    Though sinking in decrepit age, he prematurely falls whose memory records no benefit conferred on him by man. They only have lived long who have lived virtuously.


    Old age is never honored among us, but only indulged, as childhood is; and old men lose one of the most precious rights of man,—that of being judged by their peers.


  • Remote from cities liv’d a Swain,
  • Unvex’d with all the cares of gain;
  • His head was silver’d o’er with age,
  • And long experience made him sage.
  • Gay.

    Our life much resembles wine: when there is only a little remaining, it becomes vinegar; for all the ills of human nature crowd to old age as if it were a workshop.


    Life grows darker as we go on, till only one pure light is left shining on it; and that is faith. Old age, like solitude and sorrow, has its revelations.

    Madame Swetchine.

  • O, roses for the flush of youth,
  • And laurel for the perfect prime;
  • But pluck an ivy branch for me
  • Grown old before my time.
  • Christina G. Rossetti.

  • Thus aged men, full loth and slow,
  • The vanities of life forego,
  • And count their youthful follies o’er,
  • Till memory lends her light no more.
  • Scott.

    Venerable men! you have come down to us from a former generation. Heaven has bounteously lengthened out your lives, that you might behold this joyous day.

    Daniel Webster.

    There cannot live a more unhappy creature than an ill-natured old man, who is neither capable of receiving pleasures nor sensible of doing them to others.

    Sir W. Temple.

    The mental powers acquire their full robustness when the cheek loses its ruddy hue, and the limbs their elastic step; and pale thought sits on manly brows, and the watchman, as he walks his rounds, sees the student’s lamp burning far into the silent night.

    Dr. Guthrie.

    The damps of autumn sink into the leaves and prepare them for the necessity of their fall; and thus insensibly are we, as years close round us, detached from our tenacity of life by the gentle pressure of recorded sorrow.


    Like a morning dream, life becomes more and more bright the longer we live, and the reason of everything appears more clear. What has puzzled us before seems less mysterious, and the crooked paths look straighter as we approach the end.


    A comfortable old age is the reward of a well-spent youth; therefore instead of its introducing dismal and melancholy prospects of decay, it should give us hopes of eternal youth in a better world.


    Age and sufferings had already marked out the first incisions for death, so that he required but little effort to cut her down; for it is with men as with trees, they are notched long before felling, that their life-sap may flow out.


    Old age is a lease nature only signs as a particular favor, and it may be, to one only in the space of two or three ages; and then with a pass to boot, to carry him through all the traverses and difficulties she has strewed in the way of his long career.


  • What is it to grow old?
  • Is it to lose the glory of the form,
  • The lustre of the eye?
  • Is it for Beauty to forego her wreath?
  • Yes; but not this alone.
  • Matthew Arnold.

    Winter, which strips the leaves from around us, makes us see the distant regions they formerly concealed; so does old age rob us of our enjoyments, only to enlarge the prospect of eternity before us.


    We should provide for our age, in order that our age may have no urgent wants of this world to absorb it from the meditation of the nest. It is awful to see the lean hands of dotage making a coffer of the grave!


  • Alike all ages; dames of ancient days
  • Have led their children thro’ the mirthful maze.
  • And the gay grandsire, skill’d in gestic lore,
  • Has frisk’d beneath the burthen of threescore.
  • Goldsmith.

  • Fate seem’d to wind him up for fourscore years;
  • Yet freshly ran he on ten winters more;
  • Till like a clock worn out with eating time,
  • The wheels of weary life at last stood still.
  • Dryden.

    One’s age should be tranquil, as one’s childhood should be playful; hard work, at either extremity of human existence, seems to me out of place; the morning and the evening should be alike cool and peaceful; at midday the sun may burn, and men may labor under it.

    Dr. Arnold.

  • O blest retirement! friend to life’s decline—
  • Retreats from care, that never must be mine
  • How blest is he who crowns, in shades like these,
  • A youth of labour with an age of ease.
  • Goldsmith.

    I think that to have known one good old man—one man, who, through the chances and mischances of a long life, has carried his heart in his hand, like a palm-branch, waving all discords into peace—helps our faith in God, in ourselves, and in each other more than many sermons.

    G. W. Curtis.

    I venerate old age; and I love not the man who can look without emotion upon the sunset of life, when the dusk of evening begins to gather over the watery eye, and the shadows of twilight grow broader and deeper upon the understanding.


  • Come forth, old man,—thy daughter’s side
  • Is now the fitting place for thee:
  • When time has quell’d the oak’s bold pride,
  • The youthful tendril yet may hide.
  • The ruins of the parent tree.
  • Scott.

  • So may’st thou live, till like ripe fruit thou drop
  • Into thy mother’s lap, or be with ease
  • Gather’d, not harshly pluck’d, for death mature.
  • Milton.

  • Learn to live well, or fairly make your will;
  • You’ve play’d, and lov’d, and ate, and drank your fill;
  • Walk sober off, before a sprightlier age
  • Comes titt’ring on, and shoves you from the stage.
  • Pope.

  • What is the worst of woes that wait on age?
  • What stamps the wrinkle deeper on the brow?
  • To view each loved one blotted from life’s page,
  • And be alone on earth as I am now.
  • Byron.

    Vanity in an old man is charming. It is a proof of an open nature. Eighty winters have not frozen him up, or taught him concealments. In a young person it is simply allowable; we do not expect him to be above it.


    The smile upon the old man’s lip, like the last rays of the setting sun, pierces the heart with a sweet and sad emotion. There is still a ray, there is still a smile; but they may be the last.

    Madame Swetchine.

    Is it that Nature, attentive to the preservation of mankind, increases our wishes to live, while she lessens our enjoyments, and as she robs the senses of every pleasure, equips imagination in the spoil?


    If the memory is more flexible in childhood, it is more tenacious in mature age; if childhood has sometimes the memory of words, old age has that of things, which impress themselves according to the clearness of the conception of the thought which we wish to retain.

    De Bonstetten.

  • An age that melts with unperceived decay,
  • And glides in modest innocence away;
  • Whose peaceful Day benevolence endears,
  • Whose Night congratulating conscience cheers;
  • The general favourite as the general friend:
  • Such age there is, and who shall wish its end?
  • Dr. Johnson.

    True wisdom, indeed, springs from the wide brain which is fed from the deep heart; and it is only when age warms its withering conceptions at the memory of its youthful fire, when it makes experience serve aspiration, and knowledge illumine the difficult paths through which thoughts thread their way into facts,—it is only then that age becomes broadly and nobly wise.


    Age, when it does not harden the heart and sour the temper, naturally returns to the milky disposition of infancy. Time has the same effect upon the mind as on the face. The predominant passion, the strongest feature, becomes more conspicuous from the others retiring.

    Lady Montagu.

    Some persons resemble certain trees, such as the nut, which flowers in February and ripens its fruit in September; or the juniper and the arbutus; which take a whole year or more to perfect their fruit; and others, the cherry, which takes between two and three months.


    Old age brings us to know the value of the blessings which we have enjoyed, and it brings us also to a very thankful perception of those which yet remain. Is a man advanced in life? The ease of a single day, the rest of a single night, are gifts which may be subjects of gratitude to God.


    Old age is not one of the beauties of creation, but it is one of its harmonies. The law of contrasts is one of the laws of beauty. Under the conditions of our climate, shadow gives light its worth; sternness enhances mildness; solemnity, splendor. Varying proportions of size support and subserve one another.

    Madame Swetchine.

    Remember that some of the brightest drops in the chalice of life may still remain for us in old age. The last draught which a kind Providence gives us to drink, though near the bottom of the cup, may, as is said of the draught of the Roman of old, have at the very bottom, instead of dregs, most costly pearls.

    W. A. Newman.

  • Behold where age’s wretched victim lies,
  • See his head trembling, and his half clos’d eyes,
  • Frequent for breath his panting bosom heaves;
  • To broken sleep his remnant sense he gives,
  • And only by his pains, awaking, finds he lives.
  • Prior.

  • The course of my long life hath reached at last,
  • In fragile bark o’er a tempestuous sea,
  • The common harbor, where must rendered be,
  • Account of all the actions of the past.
  • Longfellow.

  • Weak withering age no rigid law forbids,
  • With frugal nectar, smooth and slow with balm,
  • The sapless habit daily to bedew,
  • And give the hesitating wheels of life
  • Gliblier to play.
  • John Armstrong.

    Old age likes to dwell in the recollections of the past, and, mistaking the speedy march of years, often is inclined to take the prudence of the winter time far a fit wisdom of midsummer days. Manhood is bent to the passing cares of the passing moment, and holds so closely to his eyes the sheet of “to-day,” that it screens the “to-morrow” from his sight.


    There is a quiet repose and steadiness about the happiness of age, if the life has been well spent. Its feebleness is not painful. The nervous system has lost its acuteness. But, in mature years we feel that a burn, a scald, a cut, is more tolerable than it was in the sensitive period of youth.


  • Me let the tender office long engage
  • To rock the cradle of reposing age;
  • With lenient arts extend a mother’s breath,
  • Make languor smile, and smooth the bed of death;
  • Explore the thought, explain the asking eye!
  • And keep awhile one parent from the sky.
  • Pope.

  • Old age is courteous—no one more:
  • For time after time he knocks at the door,
  • But nobody says, “Walk in, sir, pray!”
  • Yet turns he not from the door away,
  • But lifts the latch, and enters with speed,
  • And then they cry, “A cool one, indeed.”
  • Goethe.

  • I’m growing fonder of my staff;
  • I’m growing dimmer in the eyes;
  • I’m growing fainter in my laugh;
  • I’m growing deeper in my sighs;
  • I’m growing careless of my dress;
  • I’m growing frugal of my gold;
  • I’m growing wise; I’m growing,—yes,—
  • I’m growing old.
  • Saxe.

  • The careful cold hath nipt my rugged rind,
  • And in my face deep furrows eld hath plight;
  • My head bespren with hoary frost I find,
  • And by mine eye the crow his claw doth bright;
  • Delight is laid abed, and pleasure past;
  • No sun now shines, clouds have all overcast.
  • Spenser.

    Can man be so age-stricken that no faintest sunshine of his youth may revisit him once a year? It is impossible. The moss on our time-worn mansion brightens into beauty; the good old pastor, who once dwelt here, renewed his prime and regained his boyhood in the genial breeze of his ninetieth spring. Alas for the worn and heavy soul, if, whether in youth or age, it has outlived its privilege of springtime sprightliness!


  • Old age doth in sharp pains abound;
  • We are belabored by the gout,
  • Our blindness is a dark profound,
  • Our deafness each one laughs about.
  • Then reason’s light with falling ray
  • Doth but a trembling flicker cast.
  • Honor to age, ye children pay!
  • Alas! my fifty years are past!
  • Béranger.

  • My way of life
  • Is fallen into the sear, the yellow leaf
  • And that which should accompany old age,
  • As honor, love, obedience, troops of friends,
  • I must not look to have; but, in their stead,
  • Curses not loud, but deep, mouth-honor, breath,
  • Which the poor heart would fain deny, and dare not.
  • Shakespeare.

  • His silver hairs
  • Will purchase us a good opinion,
  • And buy men’s voices to commend our deeds;
  • It shall be said his judgment rul’d our hands;
  • Our youths and wildness shall no whit appear,
  • But all be buried in his gravity.
  • Shakespeare.

  • Those old fellows have
  • Their ingratitude in them hereditary;
  • Their blood is caked, ’tis cold, it seldom flows;
  • ’Tis lack of kindly warmth, they are not kind,
  • And nature, as it grows toward earth,
  • Is fashion’d for the journey—dull and heavy.
  • Shakespeare.

    It is noticeable how intuitively in age we go back with strange fondness to all that is fresh in the earliest dawn of youth. If we never cared for little children before, we delight to see them roll in the grass over which we hobble on crutches. The grandsire turns wearily from his middle-aged, care-worn son, to listen with infant laugh to the prattle of an infant grandchild. It is the old who plant young trees; it is the old who are most saddened by the autumn, and feel most delight in the returning spring.