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[ Also see Age Antiquity Beginnings Contemplation Forgetfulness Future History Memory Present Reflection Regret Remembrance Retrospection Ruins Time Today Tomorrow Yesterday Youth ]

Enjoy the spring of love and youth,
  To some good angel leave the rest,
    For time will teach thee soon the truth,
      "There are no birds in last year's nest."
      - Henry Wadsworth Longfellow,
        It is not always May

We remain
  Safe in the hallowed quiets of the past.
      - James Russell Lowell, The Cathedral
         (l. 234)

It is to live twice when we can enjoy the recollections of our former life.
      - Martial (Marcus Valerius Martialis)

One cannot and must not try to erase the past merely because it does not fit the present.
      - Golda Meir

They spend their time mostly looking forward to the past.
      - John Osborne

The good of other times let people state;
  I think it lucky I was born so late.
    [Lat., Prisca juvent alios; ego me nunc denique natum Gratulor.]
      - Ovid (Publius Ovidius Naso), Ars Amatoria
         (III, 121), (translation by Sydney Smith)

The reason people find it so hard to be happy is that they always see the past better than it was, the present worse than it is, and the future less resolved than it will be.
      - Marcel Pagnol

Weep no more, lady, weep no more,
  Thy sorrowe is in vaine,
    For violets pluckt, the sweetest showers
      Will ne'er make grow againe.
      - Thomas Percy,
        Reliques--The Friar of Order Gray

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 Anne Procter, Voices of the Past

The past and future are veiled; but the past wears the widow's veil; the future, the virgin's.
      - Jean Paul Friedrich Richter (Johann Paul Richter) (used ps. Jean Paul)

I would not say that the future is necessarily less predictable than the past. I think the past was not predictable when it started.
      - Donald Rumsfeld

In the great inconstancy and crowd of events, nothing is certain except the past.
  [Lat., In tanta inconstantia turbaque rerum nihil nisi quod preteriit certum est.]
      - Seneca (Lucius Annaeus Seneca),
        De Consolatione ad Marciam (XXII)

Let us not burthen our remembrance with a heaviness that's gone.
      - William Shakespeare

Things without remedy,
  Should be without regard: what's done is done.
      - William Shakespeare

She that is Queen of Tunis; she that dwells
  Ten leagues beyond man's life; she that from Naples
    Can have no note, unless the sun were post--
      The man i' th' moon 's too slow--till new-born chins
        Be rough and razorable; she that from whom
          We all were sea-swallowed, though some cast again,
            And, by that destiny, to perform an act
              Whereof what's past is prologue, what to come,
                In yours and my discharge.
      - William Shakespeare, The Tempest
         (Antonio at II, i)

What's past is prologue.
      - William Shakespeare, The Tempest
         (Antonio at II, i)

The world is weary of the past, oh, might it die or rest at last.
      - Percy Bysshe Shelley

The past Hours weak and gray
  With the spoil which their toil
    Raked together
      From the conquest but One could foil.
      - Percy Bysshe Shelley, Prometheus Unbound
         (act IV, sc. 1)

Theirs is the present who can praise the past.
      - William Shenstone

I need not ask thee if that hand, now calmed,
  Has any Roman soldier mauled and knuckled,
    For thou wert dead, and buried and embalmed,
      Ere Romulus and Remus had been suckled:
        Antiquity appears to have begun
          Long after that primeval race was run.
      - Horace (Horatio) Smith (a/k/a Paul Chatfield),
        Address to the Mummy in Belzoni's Exhibition

The good of olden times let others state.
  I think it lucky I was born so late.
      - Rev. Samuel Francis Smith

Oh, had I but Aladdin's lamp
  Tho' only for a day,
    I'd try to find a link to bind
      The joys that pass away.
      - Charles Swain,
        Oh, Had I but Aladdin's Lamp

A young man with a very good past.
  [Fr., Un jeune homme d'un bien beau passe.]
      - Algernon Charles Swinburne, Miscellanies
         (p. 233)

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.
      - Sir Thomas Noon Talfourd (Talford)

So sad, so fresh, the days that are no more.
      - Lord Alfred Tennyson


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