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

Old Age

They say, an old man is twice a child.


Old age is an incurable disease.


The fears of old age disturb us, yet how few attain it?

La Bruyère.

Age, like woman, requires fit surroundings.


  • A good old man, sir. He will be talking; as they say,
  • When the age is in, the wit is out.
  • Shakespeare.

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


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

    La Rochefoucauld.

    We hope to grow old, and yet we fear old age; that is, we are willing to live, and afraid to die.

    La Bruyère.

    It is indeed the boundary of life, beyond which we are not to pass; which the law of nature has pitched for a limit not to be exceeded.


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

    George MacDonald.

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

    E. H. Chapin.

    Old age is the repose of life; the rest that precedes the rest that remains.

    Robert Collyer.

  • When he is forsaken,
  • Withered and shaken,
  • What can an old man do but die?
  • Hood.

    It is a characteristic of old age to find the progress of time accelerated. The less one accomplishes in a given time, the shorter does the retrospect appear.

    Wilhelm von Humboldt.

    Old age, especially an honored old age, has so great authority that this is of more value than all the pleasures of youth.


    The happiest end of life is this: when the mind and the other senses being unimpaired, the same nature which put it together takes asunder her own work.


    The second childhood of a saint is the early infancy of a happy immortality, as we believe.

    Wm. Mountford.

    The day of life spent in honest and benevolent labor comes in hope to an evening calm and lovely; and though the sun declines, the shadows that he leaves behind are only to curtain the spirit unto rest.

    Henry Giles.

  • ’Tis our fast intent
  • To shake all cares and business from our age,
  • Conferring them on younger strengths, while we
  • Unburden’d crawl toward death.
  • Shakespeare.

  • 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.

  • Old Age, a second child, by nature curst
  • With more and greater evils than the first,
  • Weak, sickly, full of pains: in ev’ry breath
  • Railing at life, and yet afraid of death.
  • Churchill.

    My God! my time is in Thine hands. Should it please Thee to lengthen my life, and complete, as Thou hast begun, the work of blanching my locks, grant me grace to wear them as a crown of unsullied honor.

    Christian Scriver.

  • Though I look old, yet I am strong and lusty;
  • For in my youth I never did apply
  • Hot and rebellious liquors in my blood;
  • Nor did not with unbashful forehead woo
  • The means of weakness and debility:
  • Therefore my age is as a lusty winter,
  • Frosty, but kindly.
  • Shakespeare.

    At length weariness succeeds to labor, and the mind lies at ease in the contemplation of her own attainments without any desire of new conquests or excursions. This is the age of recollection and narrative; the opinions are settled, and the avenues of apprehension shut against any new intelligence; the days that are to follow must pass in the inculcation of precepts already collected, and assertion of tenets already received; nothing is henceforward so odious as opposition, so insolent as doubt, or so dangerous as novelty.


    Much has been said of the wisdom of old age. Old age is wise, I grant, for itself, but not wise for the community. It is wise in declining new enterprises, for it has not the power nor the time to execute them; wise in shrinking from difficulty, for it has not the strength to overcome it; wise in avoiding danger, for it lacks the faculty of ready and swift action, by which dangers are parried and converted into advantages. But this is not wisdom for mankind at large, by whom new enterprises must be undertaken, dangers met, and difficulties surmounted.