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


Rich with the spoils of time.


The rubbish of the past.

Mme. Louise Colet.

Antiquity is the aristocracy of history.

Dumas, Père.

The great men of antiquity were poor.


Antiquity! I like its ruins better than its reconstructions.


The sacred rust of twice ten hundred years.


It is one proof of a good education, and of true refinement of feeling, to respect antiquity.

Mrs. Sigourney.

Time consecrates; and what is gray with age becomes religion.


Those we call the ancients were really new in everything.


Age shakes Athena’s tower, but spares gray Marathon.


Antiquity is a species of aristocracy with which it is not easy to be on visiting terms.

Madame Swetchine.

  • Nor rough, nor barren, are the winding ways
  • Of hoar Antiquity, but strewn with flowers.
  • Thomas Warton.

    The pyramids, doting with age, have forgotten the names of their founders.


    Cities, unlike human creatures, may grow to be so old that at last they will become new.

    William Winter.

    Those old ages are like the landscape that shows best in purple distance, all verdant and smooth, and bathed in mellow light.


    How cunningly Nature hides every wrinkle of her inconceivable antiquity under roses and violets and morning dew!


    We have a mistaken notion of antiquity, calling that so which in truth is the world’s nonage.


    Some persons can never relish the full moon, out of respect for that venerable institution, the old one.

    Douglas Jerrold.

    It is with antiquity as with ancestry; nations are proud of the one, and individuals of the other.


    It is looked upon as insolence for a man to adhere to his own opinion against the current stream of antiquity.


    Time’s gradual touch has mouldered into beauty many a tower, which when it frowned with all its battlements was only terrible.


    All those things that are now held to be of the greatest antiquity were at one time new; what we to-day hold up by example will rank hereafter as precedent.


    We have a maxim in the House of Commons, and written on the walls of our houses, that old ways are the safest and surest ways.

    Sir E. Coke.

    If the seal of time were to be the signet of truth, there is no absurdity, oppression, or falsehood that might not be revived as gospel; while the gospel itself would want the more ancient warrant of paganism.


    A thorough-paced antiquary not only remembers what all other people have thought proper to forget, but he also forgets what all other people think is proper to remember.


    When ancient opinions and rules of life are taken away, the loss cannot possibly be estimated. From that moment we have no compass to govern us; nor can we know distinctly to what port to steer.


    What subsists to-day by violence continues to-morrow by acquiescence, and is perpetuated by tradition; till at last the hoary abuse shakes the gray hairs of antiquity at us, and gives itself out as the wisdom of ages.

    Edward Everett.

    The volumes of antiquity, like medals, may very well serve to amuse the curious; but the works of the moderns, like the current coin of a kingdom, are much better for immediate use.


    I do by no means advise you to throw away your time in ransacking, like a dull antiquarian, the minute and unimportant parts of remote and fabulous times. Let blockheads read what blockheads wrote.


    History fades into fable; fact becomes clouded with doubt and controversy; the inscription moulders from the tablet; the statue falls from the pedestal. Columns, arches, pyramids,—what are they but heaps of sand; and their epitaphs but characters written in the dust?

    Washington Irving.

    Consider, for example, and you will find that almost all the transactions in the time of Vespasian differed little from those of the present day. You there find marrying and giving in marriage, educating children, sickness, death, war, joyous holidays, traffic, agriculture, flatterers, insolent pride, suspicions, laying of plots, longing for the death of others, newsmongers, lovers, misers, men canvassing for the consulship and for the kingdom; yet all these passed away, and are nowhere.

    Marcus Antoninus.

    Those were good old times, it may be thought, when baron and peasant feasted together. But the one could not read, and made his mark with a sword-pommel, and the other was held as dear as a favorite dog. Pure and simple times were those of our grandfathers, it may be. Possibly not so pure as we may think, however, and with a simplicity ingrained with some bigotry and a good deal of conceit.


    Antiquity, what is it else (God only excepted) but man’s authority born some ages before us? Now for the truth of things time makes no alteration; things are still the same they are, let the time be past, present, or to come.
    Those things which we reverence for antiquity what were they at their first birth? Were they false?—time cannot make them true. Were they true?—time cannot make them more true. The circumstances therefore of time in respect of truth and error is merely impertinent.

    John Hales.

    Antiquity! thou wondrous charm, what art thou? that, being nothing, art everything! When thou wert, thou wert not antiquity,—then thou wert nothing, but hadst a remoter antiquity, as thou calledst it to look back to with blind veneration; thou thyself being to thyself flat, jejune, modern! What mystery lurks in this retroversion? or what half Januses are we, that cannot look forward with the same idolatry with which we forever revert! The mighty future is as nothing, being everything! The past is everything, being nothing!