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CHILDHOOD
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[ Also see Ancestry Babyhood Boyhood Children Daughters Girlhood Innocence Love Matrimony Motherhood Simplicity Sons Wives Women Youth ]

Let nothing foul to either eye or ear reach those doors within which dwells a boy.
  [Lat., Nil dictu visuque haec limina tangat
    Intra quae puer est.]
      - Juvenal (Decimus Junius Juvenal), Satires
         (XIV, 44)

Children have neither past nor future; and that which seldom happens to us, they rejoice in the present.
  [Fr., Les enfants n'ont ni passe ni avenir; et, ce qui ne nous arrive guere, ils jouissent du present.]
      - Jean de la Bruyere, Les Caracteres (XI)

But a rascal of a child (that age is without pity).
  [Fr., Mais un pripon d'enfant (cet age est sans pitie).
      - Jean de la Fontaine, Fables (IX, 2)

A babe is fed with milk and praise.
      - Charles Lamb (used pseudonym Elia),
        The First Tooth,
        in Charles and Mary Lamb's "Poetry for Children"

Childhood, whose very happiness is love.
      - Letitia Elizabeth Landon (Mrs. George MacLean),
        Erinna

Oh, would I were a boy again,
  When life seemed formed of sunny years,
    And all the heart then knew of pain
      Was wept away in transient tears!
      - Mark Lemon, Oh, Would I Were a Boy Again

The least and most imperceptible impressions received in our infancy have consequences very important, and of a long duration. It is with these first impressions, as with a river whose waters we can easily turn, by different canals, in quite opposite courses, so that from the insensible direction the stream receives at its source, it takes different directions, and at last arrives at places far distant from each other; and with the same facility we may, I think, turn the minds of children to what direction we please.
      - John Locke (1)

There was a little girl,
  And she had a little curl,
    Right in the middle of her forehead;
      When she was good she was very, very good,
        When she was bad she was horrid.
      - Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Ah! what would the world be to us
  If the children were no more?
    We should dread the desert behind us
      Worse than the dark before.
      - Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Children
         (st. 4)

Perhaps there lives some dreamy boy, untaught
  In schools, some graduate of the field or street,
    Who shall become a master of art,
      An admiral sailing the high seas of thought
        Fearless and first, and steering with his fleet
          For lands not yet laid down in any chart.
      - Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Possibilities

Ay, these young things lie safe in our hearts just so long
  As their wings are in growing; and when these are strong
    They break it, and farewell! the bird flies!
      - Lord Edward Robert Bulwer Lytton, 1st Earl of Lytton ("Owen Meredith"),
        Lucile (canto VI, pt. II, st. 29)

A child is an angel dependent on man.
      - Joseph Marie De Maistre

When a child can be brought to tears, not from fear of punishment, but from repentance for his offence, he needs no chastisement. When the tears begin to flow from grief at one's own conduct, be sure there is an angel nestling in the bosom.
      - Horace Mann

Who can foretell for what high cause
  This daring of the gods was born?
      - Andrew Marvell, the Younger,
        Picture of T.C. in a Prospect of Flowers

Each one could be a Jesus mild,
  Each one has been a little child,
    A little child with laughing look,
      A lovely white unwritten book;
        A book that God will take, my friend,
          As each goes out at journey's end.
      - John Masefield, Everlasting Mercy (st. 27)

And he who gives a child a treat
  Makes Joy-bells ring in Heaven's street,
    And he who gives a child a home
      Builds palaces in Kingdom come,
        And she who gives a baby birth,
          Brings Saviour Christ again to Earth.
      - John Masefield, Everlasting Mercy (st. 50)

Lord, give to me who are old and rougher
  The things that little children suffer,
    And let keep bright and undefiled
      The young years of the little child.
      - John Masefield, Everlasting Mercy (st. 67)

The childhood shows the man,
  As morning shows the day.
      - John Milton, Paradise Regained
         (bk. IV, l. 220)

As children gath'ring pebbles on the shore.
      - John Milton, Paradise Regained
         (bk. IV, l. 330)

Ah, there are no children nowadays.
  [Fr., Ah, il n'y a plus d'enfant.]
      - Moliere (pseudonym of Jean Baptiste Poquelin),
        Le Malade Imaginaire (II, 2)

A person's maturity consists in having found again the seriousness one had as a child, at play.
      - Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche

A child's eyes, those clear wells of undefiled thought--what on earth can be more beautiful? Full of hope, love and curiosity, they meet your own. In prayer, how earnest; in joy, how sparkling; in sympathy, how tender! The man who never tried the companionship of a little child has carelessly passed by one of the great pleasures of life, as one passes a rare flower without plucking it or knowing its value.
      - Lady Caroline Sheridan Norton (Caroline Elizabeth Sarah Norton)

Parents deserve reproof when they refuse to benefit their children by severe discipline.
  [Lat., Parentes objurgatione digni sunt, qui nolunt liberos suos severa lege proficere.]
      - Petronius (Caius Petronius Arbiter),
        Satyricon (IV)

The wildest colts only make the best horses.
      - Plutarch, Life of Themistocles

Behold the child, by Nature's kindly law,
  Pleased with a rattle, tickled with a straw;
    Some livelier plaything gives his youth delight,
      A little louder, but as empty quite;
        Scarfs, garters, gold, amuse his riper stage,
          And beads and prayer-books are the toys of age;
            with this bauble still, as that before;
              Till tired he sleeps, and life's poor play is o'er._
      - Alexander Pope, Essay on Man
         (ep. II, l. 275)


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