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


Mutability is written upon all things.


I sorrow that all fair things must decay.


A gilded halo hovering round decay.


Ruins in some countries indicate prosperity, in others decay.

H. Anderson.

  • In the sweetest bud
  • The eating canker dwells.
  • Shakespeare.

  • An age that melts with unperceiv’d decay,
  • And glides in modest innocence away.
  • Samuel Johnson.

  • Nature strips her garment gay,
  • And wears the vesture of decay.
  • Logan.

  • A worm is in the bud of youth,
  • And at the root of age.
  • Cowper.

    Man passes away; his name perishes from record and recollection; his history is as a tale that is told, and his very monument becomes a ruin.

    Washington Irving.

  • My way of life
  • Is fall’n into the sear and yellow leaf.
  • Shakespeare.

  • Before decay’s effacing fingers
  • Have swept the lines where beauty lingers.
  • Byron.

    Can we wonder that men perish and are forgotten when their noblest and most enduring works decay?


    Devouring Time and envious Age, all things yield to you; and with lingering death you destroy, step by step, with venomed tooth whatever you attack.


  • All that’s bright must fade,—
  • The brightest still the fleetest;
  • All that’s sweet was made
  • But to be lost when sweetest.
  • Moore.

  • He that loves a rosy cheek,
  • Or a coral lip admires,
  • Or from star-like eyes doth seek
  • Fuel to maintain his fires;—
  • As old Time makes these decay,
  • So his flames must waste away.
  • Thomas Carew.

    There seems to be a constant decay of all our ideas; even of those which are struck deepest, and in minds the most retentive, so that if they be not sometimes renewed by repeated exercises of the senses, or reflection on those kinds of objects which at first occasioned them, the print wears out, and at last there remains nothing to be seen.


  • It is sad
  • To see the light of beauty wane away,
  • Know eyes are dimming, bosoms shrivelling, feet
  • Losing their springs, and limbs their lily roundness;
  • But it is worse to feel the heart-spring gone,
  • To lose hope, care not for the coming thing,
  • And feel all things go to decay within us.
  • Bailey.

    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?