Youth

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Popular use of the word Youth refers to a person who is neither an adult nor a child, but somewhere in between, scientifically referred to as an adolescent and, in most English speaking countries, commonly referred to as a teen or teenager. It is used to identify a particular mindset of attitude, as in "He is very youthful". In various social, political, cultural, and legal contexts, the word "youth" refers to a pre-determined set of experiences, ideals, and perspectives.

Quotes[edit]

  • Young men soon give and soon forget affronts;
    Old age is slow in both.
  • I pray for no more youth
    perish before its prime;
    That Revenge and iron-heated War
    May fade with all that has gone before
    Into the night of time.
    • Aeschylus, reported in John Lewin, The House of Atreus (1966), p. 110. Adapted from Oresteia; the lines above are from Eumenides (The Furies). Senator Edward Kennedy quoted this passage in testimony before the Commission on Campus Unrest (July 15, 1970); Congressional Record, vol. 116, p. 24309.
  • Young people are in a condition like permanent intoxication, because youth is sweet and they are growing.
  • Young men are fitter to invent, than to judge; fitter for execution than for counsel; and fitter for new projects than for settled business;… Young men, in the conduct and manage of actions, embrace more than they can hold; stir more than they can quiet; fly to the end, without consideration of the means and degrees; pursue some few principles which they have chanced upon absurdly; care not to innovate, which draws unknown inconveniences; use extreme remedies at first; and that, which doubleth all errors, will not acknowledge or retract them, like an unruly horse, that will neither stop nor turn. Men of age object too much, consult too long, adventure too little, repent too soon, and seldom drive business home to the full period, but content themselves with a mediocrity of success.
    • Francis Bacon, "Of Youth and Age", essay 42, in Basil Montagu, ed., The Works of Francis Bacon (1844), vol. 1, p. 48. Based on the 1625 edition but with modernized spelling.
  • Society cares about the individual only in so far as he is profitable. The young know this. Their anxiety as they enter in upon social life matches the anguish of the old as they are excluded from it.
  • They shall not grow old, as we that are left grow old;
    Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
    At the going down of the sun, and in the morning,
    We will remember them.
  • Blow out, you bugles, over the rich Dead!
    There's none of these so lonely and poor of old,
    But, dying, has made us rarer gifts than gold.
    These laid the world away: poured out the red
    Sweet wine of youth; gave up the years to be
    Of work and joy, and that unhoped serene
    That men call age, and those who would have been
    Their sons, they gave their immortality.
  • Every street has two sides, the shady side and the sunny. When two men shake hands and part, mark which of the two takes the sunny side; he will be the younger man of the two.
  • Her years
    Were ripe, they might make six-and-twenty springs;
    But there are forms which Time to touch forbears,
    And turns aside his scythe to vulgar things.
  • Prima commendiato proficiscitur a modestia tum pietate in parentes, tum in suos benevolentia.
    • The chief recommendation [in a young man] is modesty, then dutiful conduct toward parents, then affection for kindred.
    • Cicero, De Officiis (44 B.C.), II. 13.
  • Jugend ist Trunkenheit ohne Wein.
    • Youth is intoxication without wine.
    • Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, West-östlicher Diwan - Saki Nameh: Book of the Cupbearer, 1819-1827.
  • It is an illusion that youth is happy, an illusion of those who have lost it; but the young know they are wretched, for they are full of the truthless ideals which have been instilled into them, and each time they come in contact with the real they are bruised and wounded.
  • For the more paart, youthe is rebel,
    Un-to reson & hatith her doctryne.
    • As for the moré part Youth is rebél
      Unto Reasón, and hateth her doctrine.
    • Thomas Occleve, from Frederick Furnivall and Israel Gollancz's three-volume edition of Hoccleve's Works (Early English Text Society, 1892-1925), Line 65, vol. 1, p. 27; modern spelling from Henry Morley (ed.) Shorter English Poems (London: Cassell, 1883), p. 58.
  • Generations do not age. Every youth of any period, any civilization, has the same possibilities as always.
  • "Nature has done well and wisely, in not permitting a man to live forever and in bringing into the world ever new generations. An old person is a used-up machine [... He] has too many dogmas to [...] easily [...] believe in a new truth [...]; too many sympathies and antipathies [...] for him to come to love something unfamiliar; [...] too many habits to be able to settle on new ways. Let us add suspiciousness — the fruit of bitter experiences; a pessimism inseparable from all manner of disappointments; and finally, a general decline of powers from exhaustion [...]."
  • The chariest maid is prodigal enough,
    If she unmask her beauty to the moon;
    Virtue itself 'scapes not calumnious strokes.
    The canker galls the infants of the spring,
    Too oft before their buttons be disclosed;
    And in the morn and liquid dew of youth,
    Contagious blastments are most imminent.
    • William Shakespeare, Hamlet (1600-02), Act I, scene 3, line 36. "Infants of the spring" found also in Love's Labour's Lost, Act I, scene 1, line 100.
  • For youth no less becomes
    The light and careless livery that it wears,
    Than settled age his sables, and his weeds
    Importing health and graveness.
  • Is in the very May-morn of his youth,
    Ripe for exploits and mighty enterprises.
  • Youth, which is forgiven everything, forgives itself nothing: age, which forgives itself everything, is forgiven nothing.
    • George Bernard Shaw, "Maxims for Revolutionists", appendix 2 to Man and Superman, in his Selected Plays with Prefaces (1948), vol. 3, p. 742.
  • At first it had been youth's ideal of what youth should be, a pattern woven of fanatical loyalty, irresponsible gaiety, comradeship, physical gusto, and not a little pure devilry.
  • The pleasure and sadness of youth is that the speed of its passing is never thought about; and so you say that you will do this or that in a year, in five years, only to wake up one morning to realize that what you thought was infinitely prolonged has ended.
    • Derek Tangye, British author. From his autobiography, The Way to Minak (1968), Ch XV, p. 157.
  • What is that to him that reaps not harvest of his youthful joys,
    Though the deep heart of existence beat forever like a boy's?
  • Youth is not a time of life—it is a state of mind. It is not a matter of red cheeks, red lips and supple knees. It is a temper of the will; a quality of the imagination; a vigor of the emotions; it is a freshness of the deep springs of life. Youth means a tempermental predominance of courage over timidity, of the appetite for adventure over a life of ease. This often exists in a man of fifty, more than in a boy of twenty. Nobody grows old by merely living a number of years; people grow old by deserting their ideals.
    Years may wrinkle the skin, but to give up enthusiasm wrinkles the soul. Worry, doubt, self-distrust, fear and despair—these are the long, long years that bow the head and turn the growing spirit back to dust.
    Whether seventy or sixteen, there is in every being's heart a love of wonder; the sweet amazement at the stars and starlike things and thoughts; the undaunted challenge of events, the unfailing childlike appetite for what comes next, and the joy in the game of life.
    You are as young as your faith, as old as your doubt; as young as your self-confidence, as old as your fear, as young as your hope, as old as your despair.
    In the central place of your heart there is a wireless station. So long as it receives messages of beauty, hope, cheer, grandeur, courage, and power from the earth, from men and from the Infinite—so long are you young. When the wires are all down and the central places of your heart are covered with the snows of pessimism and the ice of cynicism, then are you grown old, indeed!
    • Samuel Ullman, "Youth"; reported in Jane Manner, The Silver Treasury, Prose and Verse for Every Mood (1934), p. 323–24. This version is longer and also has minor variations in wording and punctuation from that in a privately printed edition of Ullman's poems, From the Summit of Years, Four Score (n.d). The oft-quoted "you are as young as your faith, as old as your doubt", etc., is missing in From the Summit of Years… fourth paragraph: "Whether sixty or sixteen, there is in every human being's heart the lure of wonder, the unfailing child-like appetite of what's next, and the joy of the game of living. In the center of your heart and my heart there is a wireless station; so long as it receives messages of beauty, hope, cheer, courage and power from men and from the Infinite, so long are you young". General Douglas MacArthur quoted the entire poem without attribution on his seventy-fifth birthday, in a speech to the Los Angeles County Council, American Legion, Los Angeles, California (January 26, 1955), in Representative Speeches of General of the Army Douglas MacArthur (1964), p. 85, Senate Doc. 88–95. MacArthur had this framed over his desk when visited in Manila by war correspondent Colonel Frederick Palmer, according to an article in This Week Magazine condensed in the December 1945 issue of The Reader's Digest, p. 1, which said, "The General has had it in sight ever since it was given to him some years ago … it is based on a poem written by the late Samuel Ullman of Birmingham, Ala". Speaker of the House Sam Rayburn's seventy-eighth birthday fell upon the opening day of the second session of the 86th Congress. "During the January 6 [1960] ceremonies someone remembered what General Douglas MacArthur had said on his own seventy-fifth birthday and thought it applied quite well to Rayburn". C. Dwight Dorough, Mr. Sam (1962), chapter 22, p. 546. There followed an excerpt of this poem, but it is not to be found in the Congressional Record account of the day, so perhaps the remembrance was an informal one.
  • Optima quaeque dies miseris mortalibus aevi
    Prima fugit; subeunt morbi tristisque senectus
    Et labor, et durae rapit inclementia mortis.
    • In youth alone, unhappy mortals live;
      But, ah! the mighty bliss is fugitive:
      Discolour'd sickness, anxious labour, come,
      And age, and death's inexorable doom.
    • Virgil, Georgics (29 BC), III, 66 (trans. John Dryden).
      • Cf. J. B. Rose's translation:
        Ah, how fleetly speeds the little span
        Of lusty youth allowed to mortal man!
        Diseases grow, age comes, and joys decay,
        Till death demands his miserable prey.
  • In several educational institutions during the last few years manifestation of student activity in riots has been exciting the country. To the conservative mind, these riots bode no good. As a matter of fact student riots of one sort or another, protests against the order that is, kicks against college and university management indicate a healthy growth and a normal functioning of the academic mind.

    Youth should be radical. Youth should demand change in the world. Youth should not accept the old order if the world is to move on. But the old orders should not be moved easily—certainly not at the mere whim or behest of youth. There must be clash and if youth hasn't enough force or fervor to produce the clash the world grows stale and stagnant and sour in decay. If our colleges and universities do not breed men who riot, who rebel, who attack life with all the youthful vim and vigor, then there is something wrong with our colleges. The more riots that come on college campuses, the better world for tomorrow.
    • William Allen White, "Student Riots", editorial, The Emporia (Kansas) Gazette (April 8, 1932); reported in Forty Years on Main Street, compiled by Russell H. Fitzgibbon (1937), p. 331.
  • Youth is not rich in time; it may be poor;
    Part with it as with money, sparing; pay
    No moment but in purchase of its worth,
    And what it's worth, ask death-beds; they can tell.
    • Edward Young, Night Thoughts (1742-1745), Night II, line 47.

Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations[edit]

Quotes reported in Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922), p. 921-24.
  • Youth dreams a bliss on this side death.
    It dreams a rest, if not more deep,
    More grateful than this marble sleep;
    It hears a voice within it tell:
    Calm's not life's crown, though calm is well.
    'Tis all perhaps which man acquires,
    But 'tis not what our youth desires.
  • Young men are fitter to invent than to judge; fitter for execution than for counsel; and fitter for new projects than for settled business.
  • I was between
    A man and a boy, A hobble-de-hoy,
    A fat, little, punchy concern of sixteen.
  • Smiling always with a never fading serenity of countenance, and flourishing in an immortal youth.
    • Isaac Barrow, Duty of Thanksgiving, Works, Volume I, p. 66.
  • Our youth we can have but to-day;
    We may always find time to grow old.
  • Young fellows will be young fellows.
  • And both were young, and one was beautiful.
  • Youth is to all the glad season of life; but often only by what it hopes, not by what it attains, or what it escapes.
  • As I approve of a youth that has something of the old man in him, so I am no less pleased with an old man that has something of the youth. He that follows this rule may be old in body, but can never be so in mind.
    • Cicero, Cato; or, An Essay on Old Age.
  • Teneris, heu, lubrica moribus ætas!
    • Alas! the slippery nature of tender youth.
    • Claudianus, 'De Raptu Proserpinæ, III. 227.
  • Life went a-Maying
    With Nature, Hope, and Poesy;
    * When I was young!
    When I was young?—Ah, woful when!
  • A young Apollo, golden haired,
    Stands dreaming on the verge of strife,
    Magnificently unprepared
    For the long littleness of life.
  • Be it a weakness, it deserves some praise,
    We love the play-place of our early days;
    The scene is touching, and the heart is stone,
    That feels not at that sight, and feels at none.
  • Youth, what man's age is like to be, doth show;
    We may our ends by our beginnings know.
  • Youth should watch joys and shoot them as they fly.
  • Olympian bards who sung
    Divine ideas below,
    Which always find us young,
    And always keep us so.
  • Angelicus juvenis senibus satanizat in annis.
    • An angelic boyhood becomes a Satanic old age.
    • Erasmus, Fam. Coll. Quoted as a proverb invented by Satan.
  • Si jeunesse savoit, si vieillesse pouvoit.
    • Henri Étienne, Les Premices. "Si jeune savoit, et vieux pouvoit, / Jamais disette n'y auroit. If youth but knew, and age were able, / Then poverty would be a fable." Proverb of the Twelfth Century.
  • Youth holds no society with grief.
  • O happy unown'd youths! your limbs can bear
    The scorching dog-star and the winter's air,
    While the rich infant, nurs'd with care and pain,
    Thirsts with each heat and coughs with every rain!
  • Fair laughs the morn, and soft the zephyr blows,
    While proudly rising o'er the azure realm
    In gallant trim the gilded vessel goes,
    Youth on the prow, and Pleasure at the helm.
  • The insect-youth are on the wing,
    Eager to taste the honied spring,
    And float amid the liquid noon!
  • Over the trackless past, somewhere,
    Lie the lost days of our tropic youth,
    Only regained by faith and prayer,
    Only recalled by prayer and plaint,
    Each lost day has its patron saint!
  • There is a feeling of Eternity in youth which makes us amends for everything. To be young is to be as one of the Immortals.
  • Ah, youth! forever dear, forever kind.
    • Homer, The Iliad, Book XIX, line 303. Pope's translation.
  • Youth! youth! how buoyant are thy hopes! they turn,
    Like marigolds, toward the sunny side.
  • All the world's a mass of folly,
    Youth is gay, age melancholy:
    Youth is spending, age is thrifty,
    Mad at twenty, cold at fifty;
    Man is nought but folly's slave,
    From the cradle to the grave.
  • Towering in confidence of twenty-one.
  • When all the world is young, lad,
    And all the trees are green;
    And every goose a swan, lad,
    And every lass a queen;
    Then hey, for boot and horse, lad,
    And round the world away;
    Young blood must have its course, lad,
    And every dog his day.
  • Our youth began with tears and sighs,
    With seeking what we could not find;
    We sought and knew not what we sought;
    We marvel, now we look behind:
    Life's more amusing than we thought.
  • Flos juvenum (Flos juventutis).
    • The flower of the young men (the flower of youth).
    • Livy, VIII. 8; XXXVII. 12.
  • Standing with reluctant feet,
    Where the brook and river meet,
    Womanhood and childhood fleet!
  • How beautiful is youth! how bright it gleams
    With its illusions, aspirations, dreams!
    Book of Beginnings, Story without End,
    Each maid a heroine, and each man a friend!
  • In its sublime audacity of faith,
    "Be thou removed!" it to the mountain saith,
    And with ambitious feet, secure and proud,
    Ascends the ladder leaning on the cloud!
  • Youth, that pursuest with such eager pace
    Thy even way,
    Thou pantest on to win a mournful race:
    Then stay! oh, stay!
    Pause and luxuriate in thy sunny plain;
    Loiter,—enjoy:
    Once past, Thou never wilt come back again,
    A second Boy.
  • 'Tis now the summer of your youth: time has not cropped the roses from your cheek, though sorrow long has washed them.
  • The smiles, the tears
    Of boyhood's years,
    The words of love then spoken.
  • Dissimiles hic vir, et ille puer.
    • How different from the present man was the youth of earlier days!
    • Ovid, Heroides, IX. 24.
  • The atrocious crime of being a young man.
    • William Pitt to Walpole. Boswell's Life of Johnson (March 6, 1741).
  • When the brisk minor pants for twenty-one.
  • De jeune hermite, vieil diable.
    • Of a young hermit, an old devil.
    • François Rabelais, Pantagruel. Quoted, as a "proverbe authentique".
  • Crabbed age and youth cannot live together;
    Youth is full of pleasance, age is full of care;
    Youth like summer morn, age like winter weather;
    Youth like summer brave, age like winter bare.
    Youth is full of sport, age's breath is short;
    Youth is nimble, age is lame;
    Youth is hot and bold, age is weak and cold;
    Youth is wild, and age is tame.
    Age, I do abhor thee; youth I do adore thee.
  • Thou art thy mother's glass, and she in thee
    Calls back the lovely April of her prime:
    So thou through windows of thine age shall see,
    Despite of wrinkles this thy golden time.
  • Hail, blooming Youth!
    May all your virtues with your years improve,
    Till in consummate worth you shine the pride
    Of these our days, and succeeding times
    A bright example.
  • Age may have one side, but assuredly Youth has the other. There is nothing more certain than that both are right, except perhaps that both are wrong.
  • For God's sake give me the young man who has brains enough to make a fool of himself.
  • What unjust judges fathers are, when in regard to us they hold
    That even in our boyish days we ought in conduct to be old,
    Nor taste at all the very things that youth and only youth requires;
    They rule us by their present wants not by their past long-lost desires.
    • Terence, The Self-Tormentor, Act I, scene 3. F. W. Ricord's translation.
  • The next, keep under Sir Hobbard de Hoy:
    The next, a man, no longer a boy.
  • Bliss was it in that dawn to be alive,
    But to be young was very Heaven!
  • A youth to whom was given
    So much of earth, so much of heaven.

Dictionary of Burning Words of Brilliant Writers (1895)[edit]

Quotes reported in Josiah Hotchkiss Gilbert, Dictionary of Burning Words of Brilliant Writers (1895).

  • The greatest part of mankind employ their first years to make their last miserable.
  • Use thy youth so that thou mayest have comfort to remember it when it hath forsaken thee, and not sigh and grieve at the account thereof. Use it as the spring-time which soon departeth, and wherein thou oughtest to plant and sow all provisions for a long and happy life.
  • Every stage of life has its own set of manners, that is suited to it, and best becomes it. Each is beautiful in its season; and you might as well quarrel with the child's rattle, and advance him directly to the boy's top and span-farthing, as expect from diffident youth the manly confidence of riper age.
  • A youth thoughtless! when the career of all his days depends on the opportunity of a moment! A youth thoughtless! when all the happiness of his home forever depends on the chances or the passions of an hour! A youth thoughtless! when his every act is a foundation-stone of future conduct, and every imagination a fountain of life or death! Be thoughtless in any after years, rather than now — though indeed there is only one place where a man may be nobly thoughtless — his death-bed. No thinking should be ever left to be done there.
  • Oh thou corrupter of youth! I would not take thy death, for all the pleasures of thy guilty life, a thousand fold. Thou shalt draw near to the shadow of death. To the Christian these shades are the golden haze which heaven's light makes, when it meets the earth and mingles with its shadows. But to thee, these shall be shadows full of phantom-shapes. Images of terror in the Future shall dimly rise and beckon: — the ghastly deeds of the Past shall stretch out their skinny hands to push thee forward! Thou shalt not die unattended! Despair shall mock thee. Agony shall tender to thy parched lips her fiery cup. Remorse shall feel for thy heart and rend it open. Good men shall breathe freer at thy death, and utter thanksgiving when thou art gone.
  • When we are out of sympathy with the young, then I think our work in this world is over.

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