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Nepalese children with cats

Quotes regarding Childhood, a broad term usually applied to the phase of development in humans between infancy and adulthood.

See also: Children.


  • When childhood dies, its corpses are called adults and they enter society, one of the politer names of Hell. That is why we dread children, even if we love them. They show us the state of our decay.
    • Brian Aldiss, Billion Year Spree : The History of Science Fiction (1973); and the revised edition: Trillion Year Spree : The History of Science Fiction (1986).
  • My lovely living Boy,
    My hope, my hap, my Love, my life, my joy.
  • 'Tis not a life,
    'Tis but a piece of childhood thrown away.
  • Childhood is measured out by sounds and smells
    And sights, before the dark of reason grows.
  • CHILDHOOD, n. The period of human life intermediate between the idiocy of infancy and the folly of youth -- two removes from the sin of manhood and three from the remorse of age.
    • Ambrose Bierce, The Cynic's Dictionary (1906); republished as The Devil's Dictionary (1911).
  • Women know
    The way to rear up children (to be just);
    They know a simple, merry, tender knack
    Of tying sashes, fitting baby-shoes,
    And stringing pretty words that make no sense,
    And kissing full sense into empty words;
    Which things are corals to cut life upon,
    Although such trifles.
  • [Witches] steal young children out of their cradles, ministerio dæmonum, and put deformed in their rooms, which we call changelings.
    • Robert Burton, The Anatomy of Melancholy (1621), Part I. Sect, II. Memb. 1. Subsect. 3.
  • Diogenes struck the father when the son swore.
    • Robert Burton, The Anatomy of Melancholy (1621), Part III. Sect, II. Memb. 6. Subsect. 5.
  • Besides, they always smell of bread and butter.
  • A little curly-headed, good-for-nothing,
    And mischief-making monkey from his birth.
  • Children, because of their helplessness, evoke our tenderness. But we must give them more than that: a vigilant sense of responsibility, an exquisite equilibrium between the extremes of exercising our authority and respecting their freedom. There is no greater satisfaction than a child who, when grown and at the age of accountability, is able to forgive us.
    • Rosario Castellanos "In Praise of Friendship" (1964) In Another Way to Be: Selected Works of Rosario Castellanos translated from Spanish by Myralyn Allgood
  • Teach your child to hold his tongue,
    He'll learn fast enough to speak.
  • By sports like these are all their cares beguil'd,
    The sports of children satisfy the child.
  • No one knows you like a person with whom you've shared a childhood. No one will ever understand you in quite the same way.
  • Jonas did not want to go back. He did not want the memories, didn't want the honor, didn't want the wisdom, didn't want the pain. He wanted his childhood again, his scraped knees and ball games. He sat in his dwelling alone, watching through the window, seeing children at play, citizens bicycling home from uneventful days at work, ordinary lives free of anguish because he had been selected, as others before him had, to bear their burden. But the choice was not his. He returned each day to the Annex room.
  • 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!
    • Owen Meredith (Lord Lytton), Lucile (1860), Canto VI, Part II, Stanza 29.
  • Every stage of education begins with childhood. That is why the most educated person on earth so much resembles a child.
    • Novalis, "Miscellaneous Observations" in Philosophical Writings, #48
  • There is nothing fine about being a child: it is fine, when we are old, too look back to when we were children.
  • Behold the child, by Nature's kindly law,
    Pleas'd with a rattle, tickled with a straw.
  • I wonder–
    didn’t the Creator really do injustice?
    With a power to defeat everyone without any battle,
    children are busy at play with the most beautiful moments of their life.
    Once they grow conscious of it,
    those moments will have gone away
    never to return to them.
  • Once positioned on their(children's) lips,
    even the scariest of words
    come out as a melodious lisp.
  • Even If they (children) fall during their play,
    the nature, having come
    under the spell of their creative sports,
    doesn’t know when they again start to play so full of jest.
    Believing that they fall unknowingly
    the ground, mostly, does not even hurt them.
  • If they (children) smash, the flower vase assumes a smile
    while turning into pieces.
    For a chance to be spilled by their hands,
    anything they hold gets spilled itself full of happiness.
    For a chance to play with them,
    water forgets about its own colourlessness.
  • When we are children we seldom think of the future. This innocence leaves us free to enjoy ourselves as few adults can. The day we fret about the future is the day we leave our childhood behind.
  • And children know,
    Instinctive taught, the friend and foe.
  • It is only when we start enjoying childhood that we have stepped out of it.
  • O lord! my boy, my Arthur, my fair son!
    My life, my joy, my food, my all the world!
    My widow-comfort, and my sorrow's cure!
  • We have no such daughter, nor shall ever see
    That face of her again. Therefore begone
    Without our grace, our love, our benizon.
  • Fathers that wear rags
    Do make their children blind;
    But fathers that bear bags
    Shall see their children kind.
  • Oh, 'tis a parlous boy;
    Bold, quick, ingenious, forward, capable;
    He's all the mother's from the top to toe.
  • Your children were vexation to your youth,
    But mine shall be a comfort to your age.
  • Behold, my lords,
    Although the print be little, the whole matter
    And copy of the father, eye, nose, lip,
    The trick of's frown, his forehead, nay, the valley,
    The pretty dimples of his chin and cheek; his smiles;
    The very mould and frame of hand, nail, finger.
  • No sooner does a divine gift reveal itself in youth or maid than its market value becomes the decisive consideration, and the poor young creatures are offered for sale, as we might sell angels who had strayed among us.
  • From infancy you have known the holy writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is inspired of God and beneficial for teaching, for reproving, for setting things straight, for disciplining in righteousness, so that the man of God may be fully competent, completely equipped for every good work.
  • You do not chop off a section of your imaginative substance and make a book specifically for children, for — if you are honest — you have no idea where childhood ends and maturity begins. It is all endless and all one.
    • P. L. Travers, as quoted in Sticks and Stones : The Troublesome Success of Children's Literature from Slovenly Peter to Harry Potter (2002) by Jack Zipes.
  • The booby father craves a booby son,
    And by heaven's blessing thinks himself undone.
  • Adolescents are simply those people who haven't as yet chosen between childhood and adulthood. For as long as anyone tries to hold on to the advantages of childhood—the freedom from responsibility, principally—while seeking to lay claim to the best parts of adulthood, such as independence, he is an adolescent. [...] Eventually most people choose to be adults, or are forced into it. A very few retreat into childhood and never leave it again. A large number remain adolescents for life.
    • Gene Wolfe, The Book of the Short Sun, Volume 2: In Green's Jungles (2000), Ch. 23.

Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations

Quotes reported in Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922), p. 109-113.
  • The children in Holland take pleasure in making
    What the children in England take pleasure in breaking.
    • Old Nursery Rhyme.
  • Do ye hear the children weeping, O my brothers,
    Ere the sorrow comes with years?
    They are leaning their young heads against their mothers,
    And that cannot stop their tears.
  • Pietas fundamentum est omnium virtutum.
    • The dutifulness of children is the foundation of all virtues.
    • Cicero, Oratio Pro Cnœo Plancio, XII.
  • When I was a child, I spake as a child. I understood as a child, I thought as a child; but when I became a man, I put away childish things.
    • I Corinthians, XIII. 11.
  • Better to be driven out from among men than to be disliked of children.
  • They are idols of hearts and of households;
    They are angels of God in disguise;
    His sunlight still sleeps in their tresses,
    His glory still gleams in their eyes;
    Those truants from home and from Heaven
    They have made me more manly and mild;
    And I know now how Jesus could liken
    The kingdom of God to a child.
  • When the lessons and tasks are all ended,
    And the school for the day is dismissed,
    The little ones gather around me,
    To bid me good-night and be kissed;
    Oh, the little white arms that encircle
    My neck in their tender embrace
    Oh, the smiles that are halos of heaven,
    Shedding sunshine of love on my face.
  • Childhood has no forebodings; but then, it is soothed by no memories of outlived sorrow.
  • Wynken, Blynken and Nod one night
    Sailed off in a wooden shoe—
    Sailed on a river of crystal light
    Into a sea of dew.
  • Alas! regardless of their doom,
    The little victims play;
    No sense have they of ills to come,
    Nor care beyond to-day.
    • Thomas Gray, Ode on a Distant Prospect of Eton College (1742), Stanza 6.
  • But still when the mists of doubt prevail,
    And we lie becalmed by the shores of age,
    We hear from the misty troubled shore
    The voice of the children gone before.
    Drawing the soul to its anchorage.
  • I think that saving a little child
    And bringing him to his own,
    Is a derned sight better business
    Than loafing around the throne.
  • Few sons attain the praise
    Of their great sires and most their sires' disgrace.
    • Homer, The Odyssey, Book II, line 315. Pope's translation.
  • Nondum enim quisquam suum parentem ipse cognosvit.
    It is a wise child that knows his own father.
    • Homer, The Odyssey, Book I. 216 Translation from the Greek by Clarke. Same idea in Euripides. Quoted by Eustath, Ad Hom., p. 1412. Aristotle, Rhetoric. Menander, Carthaginian. See Stobæus, Anthology, LXXVI. 7.
  • Another tumble! that's his precious nose!
  • Oh, when I was a tiny boy
    My days and nights were full of joy.
    My mates were blithe and kind!
    No wonder that I sometimes sigh
    And dash the tear drop from my eye
    To cast a look behind!
  • Children, ay, forsooth,
    They bring their own love with them when they come,
    But if they come not there is peace and rest;
    The pretty lambs! and yet she cries for more:
    Why, the world's full of them, and so is heaven—
    They are not rare.
  • Nil dictu fœdum visuque hæc limina tangat
    Intra quæ puer est.
    Let nothing foul to either eye or ear reach those doors within which dwells a boy.
    • Juvenal, Satires (early 2nd century), XIV. 44.
  • Les enfants n'ont ni passé ni avenir; et, ce qui ne nous arrive guère, ils jouissent du présent.
    Children have neither past nor future; and that which seldom happens to us, they rejoice in the present.
  • Mais un fripon d'enfant (cet âge est sans pitié).
    But a rascal of a child (that age is without pity).
  • A babe is fed with milk and praise.
    • Charles Lamb, The First Tooth. In Poetry for Children by Charles and Mary Lamb.
  • 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!
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Perhaps there lives some dreamy boy, untaught
    In schools, some graduate of the field or street,
    Who shall become a master of the 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.
  • Who can foretell for what high cause
    This darling of the gods was born?
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Lord, give to men who are old and rougher
    The things that little children suffer,
    And let keep bright and undefiled
    The young years of the little child.
  • Rachel weeping for her children, and would not be comforted, because they are not.
    • Matthew, II. 18; Jeremiah, XXXI. 15.
  • Ah, il n'y a plus d'enfant.
    Translation: Ah, there are no children nowadays.
  • Parentes objurgatione digni sunt, qui nolunt liberos suos severa lege proficere.
    Parents deserve reproof when they refuse to benefit their children by severe discipline.
  • The wildest colts make the best horses.
  • A wise son maketh a glad father.
    • Proverbs. X. 1.
  • Train up a child in the way he should go; and when he is old he will not depart from it.
    • Proverbs, XXII. 6.
  • Many daughters have done virtuously, but thou excellest them all.
    • Proverbs, XXXI. 29.
  • Happy is the man that hath his quiver full of them.
    • Psalms. CXXVII. 5.
  • Thy children like olive plants round about thy table.
    • Psalms. CXXVIII. 3.
  • There is nothing more to say,
    They have all gone away
    From the house on the hill.
  • Pointing to such, well might Cornelia say,
    When the rich casket shone in bright array,
    "These are my Jewels!" Well of such as he,
    When Jesus spake, well might the language be,
    "Suffer these little ones to come to me!"
  • L'enfance est le sommeil de la raison.
    Childhood is the sleep of reason.
  • Glücklicher Säugling! dir ist ein unendlicher Raum noch die Wiege,
    Werde Mann, und dir wird eng die unendliche Welt.
    Happy child! the cradle is still to thee a vast space; but when thou art a man the boundless world will be too small for thee.
  • Wage du zu irren und zu träumen.
    Hoher Sinn liegt oft im kind'schen Spiel.
    Dare to err and to dream. Deep meaning often lies in childish plays.
  • A little child born yesterday
    A thing on mother's milk and kisses fed.
  • It is very nice to think
    The world is full of meat and drink
    With little children saying grace
    In every Christian kind of place.
  • In winter I get up at night
    And dress by yellow candle-light.
    In summer, quite the other way,
    I have to go to bed by day.
  • When I am grown to man's estate
    I shall be very proud and great
    And tell the other girls and boys
    Not to meddle with my toys.
  • Every night my prayers I say,
    And get my dinner every day,
    And every day that I've been good,
    I get an orange after food.
  • While here at home, in shining day,
    We round the sunny garden play,
    Each little Indian sleepy-head
    Is being kissed and put to bed.
  • Children are the keys of Paradise,
    They alone are good and wise,
    Because their thoughts, their very lives, are prayer.
  • If there is anything that will endure
    The eye of God, because it still is pure,
    It is the spirit of a little child,
    Fresh from his hand, and therefore undefiled.
  • "Not a child: I call myself a boy,"
    Says my king, with accent stern yet mild;
    Now nine years have brought him change of joy—
    "Not a child."
  • But still I dream that somewhere there must be
    The spirit of a child that waits for me.
  • Nam qui mentiri, aut fallere insuerit patrem, aut
    Audebit: tanto magis audebit cæteros.
    Pudore et liberalitate liberos
    Retinere satius esse credo, quam metu.
    For he who has acquired the habit of lying or deceiving his father, will do the same with less remorse to others. I believe that it is better to bind your children to you by a feeling of respect, and by gentleness, than by fear.
  • Ut quisque suum vult esse, ita est.
    As each one wishes his children to be, so they are.
  • Birds in their little nests agree:
    And 'tis a shameful sight,
    When children of one family
    Fall out, and chide, and fight.
  • In books, or work, or healthful play,
    Let my first years be past,
    That I may give for every day
    Some good account at last.
  • Oh, for boyhood's time of June,
    Crowding years in one brief moon,
    When all things I heard or saw,
    Me, their master, waited for.
  • Sweet childish days, that were as long
    As twenty days are now.
  • A simple child,
    That lightly draws its breath,
    And feels its life in every limb,
    What should it know of death?

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