Great Throughts Treasury

A database of quotes

Old age

"Dissimulation in youth is the forerunner of perfidy in old age; its first appearance is the fatal omen of growing depravity and future shame. It degrades parts and learning obscures the luster of every accomplishment and sinks us into contempt. The path of falsehood is a perplexing maze. After the first departure from sincerity, it is not in our power to stop; one artifice unavoidably leads on to another, till, as the intricacy of the labyrinth increases, we are left entangled in our snare." - Hugh Blair

"To resist the frigidity of old age one must combine the body, the mind, and the heart. And to keep these in parallel vigor one must exercise, study and love." - Charles Victor de Bonstetten

"We hope to grow old, and yet we fear old age; that is, we are willing to live, and afraid to die." - Jean de La Bruyère

"This spectacle of old age would be unendurable if we did not know that our psyche reaches into a region held captive neither by change in time nor by limitation of place. In that form of being our birth is a death and our death is a birth. The scales of the whole hang balanced." - Carl Jung, fully Carl Gustav Jung

"He who dies without being corrupted enjoys a good old age." -

"Old age has its pleasures, which, though different, are not less than pleasures of youth." -

"Every period of life has its peculiar prejudice; whoever saw old age that did not applaud the past, and condemn the present times?" - Michel de Montaigne, fully Lord Michel Eyquem de Montaigne

"Old age puts more wrinkles in our minds than on our faces; and we never, or rarely, see a soul that in growing old does not come to smell sour and musty. Man grows and dwindles in his entirety." - Michel de Montaigne, fully Lord Michel Eyquem de Montaigne

"Observation, not old age, brings wisdom." - Publius Syrus

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

"Solitary we must be in life's great hours of moral decisions; solitary in pain and sorrow; solitary in old age and in our going forth at death. Fortunate the man who has learned what to do in solitude and brought himself to see what companionship he may discover in it, what fortitude, what content." - William L. Sullivan

"If a man would register all his opinions upon love, politics, religion, learning, etc., beginning from his youth, and so go to old age, what a bundle of inconsistencies and contradictions would appear at last!" - Jonathan Swift, pen names, M.B. Drapier, Lemuel Gulliver, Isaac Bickerstaff

"We can't reach old age by another man's road." - Mark Twain, pen name of Samuel Langhorne Clemens

"Let not anxiety enter your heart, for it has killed many strong men... Anxiety brings on old age prematurely." - Apocrypha NULL

"Extreme old age is childhood; extreme wisdom is ignorance, for so it may be called, since the man whom the oracle pronounced the wisest of men professed that he knew nothing; yea, push a coward to the extreme and he will show courage; oppress a man to the last, and he will rise above oppression." - J. Beaumont

"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 tot he clearness of the conception of the thought which we wish to retain." - Carl Victor de Bonstetten

"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." - Carl Victor de Bonstetten

"Youth is too tumultuous for felicity; old age too insecure for happiness. The period most favorable to enjoyment, in a vigorous, fortunate, and generous life, is that between forty and sixty." - Christian Nestell Bovee

"We hope to grow old, yet we fear old age; that is, we are willing to live, and afraid to die." - Jean de La Bruyère

"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." - William Cullen Bryant

"Old age isn't so bad when you consider the alternative." - Maurice Chevalier, fully Maurice Auguste Chevalier

"Make wisdom your provision for the journey from youth to old age, for it is a more certain support than all other possessions." - Diogenes Laërtius, aka "Diogenes the Cynic"

"For works of the mind really great there is no old age, no decrepitude. It is inconceivable that a time should come when Homer, Dante, Shakespeare, should not ring in the ears of civilized man." - William Ewart Gladstone

"We must not take the faults of our youth into our old age, for old age brings with it its own defects." - Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

"Forty is the old age of youth; fifty is the youth of old age." - Victor Hugo

"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." -

"A generation without a cause in its youth has no legacy in its old age." - Ted Kennedy, fully Edward Moore "Ted" Kennedy

"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 for 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." - Louis Kossuth, also Lajos Kossuth, fully Lajos Kossuth de Udvard et Kossuthfalva

"Memory tempers prosperity, mitigates adversity, controls youth, and delights old age." - Lactantius, fully Lucius Caecilius Firmianus Lactantius NULL

"Study is the bane of boyhood, the oil of youth, the indulgence of manhood, and restorative of old age." - Edwin Herbert Land

"Old age, to the unlearned, is winter; to the learned, it is harvest time." - Judah Lazerov, fully Judah Leib Lazerov

"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." - William Paley, Archdeacon of Saragossa

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

"In youth the days are short and the years are long; in old age the years are short and the days long." - Nikita Ivanovich Panin

"Sickness is a sort of early old age; it teaches us a diffidence in our earthly state." - Alexander Pope

"He has existed only, not lived, who lacks wisdom in old age." - Publius Syrus

"No school is more necessary to children than patience, because either the will must be broken in childhood or the heart in old age." -

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

"Man has other enemies more formidable, against which he is not provided with such means of defense: these are the natural infirmities of infancy, old age, and illness of every kind, melancholy proofs of our weakness, of which the two first are common to all animals, and the last belongs chiefly to man in a; state of society." - Jean-Jacques Rousseau

"Old age is an incurable disease." -

"We should cherish old age and enjoy it... Every pleasure defers till its last its greatest delights... How nice it is to have outworn one’s desires and left them behind." -

"If the body is only the vehicle by which the soul can access the experience of physical living, then there is no real physical me. The soul (or life force) is the only real me. If you and I (the souls) want to achieve the most from this earthly lifetime, the more varied the experiences we should seek. That said, it’s too easy for you and me to fall into a comfort zone and try to avoid change. To keep this from happening, the experiences change rapidly as a result of the body moving from infancy though old age. The physical changes help to enhance our learning curve, our ability to serve, and our chance to evolve." - Richard Smolowe, fully Richard Edward Smolowe

"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, fully Anne Sophie Swetchine née Sophia Petrovna Soïmonov or Soymanof

"Old age brings this one vice to mankind, that we all think too much of money." - Terence, full Latin name Publius Terentius Afer NULL

"Old age is the most unexpected of all things that happen to man." - Leon Trotsky, born Lev Davidovich Bronshtein

"There is no such thing as old age, there is only sorrow." - Edith Wharton

"To keep the heart unwrinkled, to be hopeful, kindly, cheerful, reverent - that is to triumph over old age." - Thomas Bailey Aldrich

"The greatest comfort of any old age, and that which gives me the highest satisfaction, is the pleasing remembrance of the many benefits and friendly offices I have done to others." - Cato the Younger, formally Marcus Porcius Cato Uticensis NULL

"I am old enough to tell the truth. It is one of the privileges of old age." - Georges Clemenceau, fully Georges Benjamin Clemenceau

"In youth we learn, in old age we understand." -