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Four seasons fill the measure of the year;
  There are four seasons in the mind of man;
    He has his lusty Spring, when fancy clear
      Takes in all beauty with an easy span;
        He has his Summer, when luxuriously
          Spring's honey'd-cud of youthful thought he loves
            To ruminate, and by such dreaming high
              Is nearest unto heaven; quiet coves
                His soul hath in its Autumn, when his wings
                  He furleth close; contented so to look
                    On mists in idleness--to let fair things
                      Pass by unheeded as a threshold brook.
                        He has his Winter, too, of pale misfeature,
                          Or else he would forego his mortal nature.
      - John Keats (1)

Life is either a daring adventure or nothing.
      - Helen Adams Keller

A sacred burden is this life ye bear,
  Look on it, lift it, bear it solemnly,
    Stand up and walk beneath it steadfastly;
      Fail not for sorrow, falter not for sin,
        But onward, upward, till the goal ye win.
      - Frances Anne "Fanny" Kemble (Mrs. Butler),
        Lines to the Young Gentlemen leaving the Lennox Academy, Massachusetts

Let those who thoughtfully consider the brevity of life remember the length of eternity.
      - Bishop Thomas Ken (Kenn)

And fear not lest Existence closing your
  Account should lose or know the type no more:
    The Eternal Saki from that Bowl has poured
      Millions of Bubbles like us and will pour.
      - Omar Khayyam ("The Tent-Maker"),
        The Rubaiyat,
        (FitzGerald's trans.) 1889 ed. l. 2 reads "Account and mine, should know the like no more"

You know how little while we have to stay,
  And, once departed, may return no more.
      - Omar Khayyam ("The Tent-Maker"),
        The Rubaiyat (st. III),
        (FitzGerald's translation)

Ah Love! could you and I with him conspire
  To grasp this sorry Scheme of Things entire
    Would we not shatter it to bits--and then
      Re-mould it nearer to the Heart's Desire?
      - Omar Khayyam ("The Tent-Maker"),
        The Rubaiyat (st. IX),
        (FitzGerald's translation)

But helpless Pieces of the Game He plays
  Upon this Checker-board of Nights and Days;
    Hither and thither moves, and checks, and slays,
      And one by one back in the Closet lays.
      - Omar Khayyam ("The Tent-Maker"),
        The Rubaiyat (st. LXIX),
        (FitzGerald's translation)

A Moment's Halt--a momentary taste
  Of Being from the Well amid the Waste--
    And, Lo! the phantom Caravan has reach'd
      The Nothing it set our from. Oh, make haste!
      - Omar Khayyam ("The Tent-Maker"),
        The Rubaiyat (st. XLVIII),
        (FitzGerald's translation)

Think, in this battered Caravanserai,
  Whose Portals are alternate Night and Day,
    How Sultan after Sultan with his Pomp
      Abode his destined Hour, and went his way.
      - Omar Khayyam ("The Tent-Maker"),
        The Rubaiyat (st. XVII),
        (FitzGerald's translation)

I came like Water, and like Wind I go.
      - Omar Khayyam ("The Tent-Maker"),
        The Rubaiyat (st. XXVIII)

Life is a weary interlude--
  Which doth short joys, long woes include:
    The world the stage, the prologue tears;
      The acts vain hopes and varied fears;
        The scene shuts up with loss of breath,
          And leaves no epilogue but death.
      - Henry King

Like to the falling of a star;
  Or as the flights of eagles are;
    Or like the fresh springs gaudy hue,
      Or silver drops of morning dew;
        Or like a wind that chafes the flood,
          Or bubbles which on water stood;
            Ev'n such is man whose borrow'd light
              Is straight call'd in, and paid to-night.
                The wind blows out, the bubble dies;
                  The spring entombed in autumn lies;
                    The dew dries up; the star is shot;
                      The flight is past; and man forgot.
      - Henry King

I have fought my fight, I have lived my life,
  I have drunk my share of wine;
    From Trier to Colin there was never a knight
      Let a merrier life than mine.
      - Charles Kingsley, The Knight's Leap

There are days when I am envious of my hens:
  when I hunger for a purpose as perfect and sure
    as a single daily egg.
      - Barbara Kingsolver, Another America,

If this life is unhappy, it is a burden to us, which it is difficult to bear; if it is in every respect happy, it is dreadful to be deprived of it; so that in either case the result is the same, for we must exist in anxiety and apprehension.
      - Jean de la Bruyere

Life is a kind of sleep: old men sleep longest, nor begin to wake but when they are to die.
      - Jean de la Bruyere

Most men employ the first part of life to make the other part miserable.
  [Fr., La plupart des hommes emploient la premiere part vie a rendre l'autre miserable.]
      - Jean de la Bruyere, Les Caracteres (XI)

My theory is to enjoy life, but the practice is against it.
      - Charles Lamb (used pseudonym Elia)

What is life? A gulf of troubled waters, where the soul, like a vexed bark, is tossed upon the waves of pain and pleasure by the wavering breath of passions.
      - Letitia Elizabeth Landon (Mrs. George MacLean)

Life's more amusing than we thought.
      - Andrew Lang

But better die than live mechanically a life that is a repetition of repetitions.
      - David Herbert Lawrence

For man, as for flower and beast and bird, the supreme triumph is to be most vividly, most perfectly alive.
      - David Herbert Lawrence

Life is ours to be spent, not to be saved.
      - David Herbert Lawrence

Life will be lengthened while growing, for
  Thought is the measure of life.
      - Charles Godfrey Leland,
        The Return of the Gods (l. 85)

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