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

Past (The)

Let the dead past bury its dead!


The past is dead, and has no resurrection.

H. Kirke White.

The eternal landscape of the past.


The best of prophets of the future is the past.


’Tis greatly wise to talk with our past hours.


Theirs is the present who can praise the past.


Study the past if you would divine the future.


So sad, so fresh, the days that are no more.


Gone, glimmering through the dream of things that were.


The past is the sepulchre of our dead emotions.


I desire no future that will break the ties of the past.

George Eliot.

Things without remedy should be without regard; what is done is done.


It is to live twice when we can enjoy the recollections of our former life.


The past is utterly indifferent to its worshipers.

William Winter.

The past and future are veiled; but the past wears the widow’s veil, the future, the virgin’s.


O’er the trackless past somewhere lie the lost days of our tropic youth.

Bret Harte.

What’s gone and what’s past help should be past grief.


The earth with its scarred face is the symbol of the past.


No hand can make the clock strike for me the hours that are passed.


Time past, even God is deprived of the power of recalling.


The tender grace of a day that is dead will never come back to me.


Let us not burthen our remembrance with a heaviness that’s gone.


Whose yesterdays look backward with a smile.


’Tis impotent to grieve for what is past, and unavailing to exclaim.


The present is only intelligible in the light of the past.


Well does Agathon say: “Of this alone is even God deprived—the power of making that which is past never to have been.”


Some are so very studious of learning what was done by the ancients that they know not how to live with the moderns.

William Penn.

  • Not heaven itself upon the past has power;
  • But what has been, has been, and I have had my hour.
  • Dryden.

    Not to know what happened before we were born is always to remain a child; to know, and blindly to adopt that knowledge as an implicit rule of life, is never to be a man.


  • Weep no more, lady, weep no more,
  • Thy sorrowe is in vaine,
  • For violets pluckt, the sweetest showers
  • Will ne’er make grow againe.
  • Thos. Percy.

    To him who has thought, or done, or suffered much, the level days of his childhood seem at an immeasureable distance, far off as the age of chivalry, or as the line of Sesostris.


    It is delightful to transport one’s self into the spirit of the past, to see how a wise man has thought before us, and to what a glorious height we have at last reached.


    How readily we wish time spent revoked, that we might try the ground again where once—through inexperience, as we now perceive—we missed that happiness we might have found!


    Nothing that was worthy in the past departs; no truth or goodness realized by man ever does or can die; but all is still here, and, recognized or not, lives and works through endless changes.


    But there have been human hearts, constituted just like ours, for six thousand years. The same stars rise and set upon this globe that rose upon the plains of Shinar or along the Egyptian Nile and the same sorrows rise and set in every age.


    Earth has scarcely an acre that does not remind us of actions that have long preceded our own, and its clustering tombstones loom up like reefs of the eternal shore, to show us where so many human barks have struck and gone down.


    Many classes are always praising the by-gone time, for it is natural that the old should extol the days of their youth; the weak, the era of their strength; the sick, the season of their vigor; and the disappointed, the springtime of their hopes!

    C. Bingham.

  • O there are Voices of the Past,
  • Links of a broken chain,
  • Wings that can bear me back to Times
  • Which cannot come again;
  • Yet God forbid that I should lose
  • The echoes that remain!
  • Adelaide A. Procter.

    There have been many men who left behind them that which hundreds of years have not worn out. The earth has Socrates and Plato to this day. The world is richer yet by Moses and the old prophets than by the wisest statesmen. We are indebted to the past. We stand in the greatness of ages that are gone rather than in that of our own. But of how many of us shall it be said that, being dead, we yet speak?