- Young men soon give and soon forget affronts;
Old age is slow in both.
- Joseph Addison, Cato, A Tragedy (1713), Act II, scene 5
- 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 (15 July 1970); Congressional Record, vol. 116, p. 24309
- Young people are in a condition like permanent intoxication, because youth is sweet and they are growing.
- Aristotle in Nicomachean Ethics
- For rigorous teachers seized my youth,
And purged its faith, and trimm’d its fire,
Show’d me the high white star of Truth,
There bade me gaze, and there aspire.
- Matthew Arnold, "Stanzas from the Grande Chartreuse" (1855), st. 12
- 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, The Works of Francis Bacon (1844) Vol. 1, p. 48, edited by Basil Montagu (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.
- Simone de Beauvoir, Coming To Age p. 543
- We are beginning to feel at home in our childhood, which the present wants to teach us to forget. ... We will steadfastly rely on young people who will find or create the forms for the time between childhood and adulthood. We are sill living in this period without these forms, without mutual support — in short: alone.
- Walter Benjamin, Letter to Carla Seligson (July 8, 1913, in The Correspondence of Walter Benjamin 1910-1940, p. 40
- Nothing is so hateful to the philistine as the "dreams of his youth." ... For what appeared to him in his dreams was the voice of the spirit, calling him once, as it does everyone. It is of this that youth always reminds him, eternally and ominously. That is why he is antagonistic toward youth.
- Walter Benjamin, "Experience" (1913) as translated by L. Spencer and S. Jost, in Walter Benjamin: Selected Writings, Vol. 1 (1996), pp. 4-5
- [sighs] You know the problem with the youth nowadays? They're YOUNG!
- Jolee Bindo, Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic
- 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.
- Laurence Binyon, For the Fallen (September 1915)
- How shall I describe Youth, the time of contradictions and anomalies The fiercest radicalisms, the most dogged conservatisms, irrepressible gayety, bitter melancholy,—all these moods are equally part of that showery spring-time of life.
- In this conflict between youth and its elders, youth is the incarnation of reason pitted against the rigidity of tradition. Youth puts the remorseless questions to everything that is old and established,—Why? What is this thing good for? And when it gets the mumbled, evasive answers of the elders, it applies its own fresh, clean spirit of reason to the institutions, customs, and ideas, and finding them stupid, inane, or poisonous, turns instinctively to overthrow them and build in their place the things with which its visions teem. … Youth is the leaven that keeps all these questioning, testing attitudes fermenting in the world. If it were not for this troublesome activity of youth, with its hatred of sophisms and glosses, its insistence on things as they are, society would die from sheer decay. It is the policy of the older generation as it gets adjusted to the world to hide away the unpleasant things where it can, or preserve a conspiracy of silence and an elaborate pretense that they do not exist. But meanwhile the sores go on festering just the same. Youth is the drastic antiseptic. It will not let the elders cry peace, where there is no peace. By its fierce sarcasms it keeps issues alive in the world until they are settled right. It drags skeletons from closets and insists that they be explained. No wonder the older generation fears and distrusts the younger. Youth is the avenging Nemesis on its trail.
- Our elders are always optimistic in their views of the present, pessimistic in their views of the future; youth is pessimistic toward the present and gloriously hopeful for the future. And it is this hope which is the lever of progress—one might say, the only lever of progress.
- The secret of life is then that this fine youthful spirit should never be lost. Out of the turbulence of youth should come this fine precipitate—a sane, strong, aggressive spirit of daring and doing. It must be a flexible, growing spirit, with a hospitality to new ideas, and a keen insight into experience. To keep one’s reactions warm and true, is to have found the secret of perpetual youth, and perpetual youth is salvation.
- 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.
- Rupert Brooke, The Dead (1914)
- 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.
- Edward Bulwer-Lytton, What Will He Do With It? (1858), Book II. Heading of Chapter XV
- We must encourage our youth, listen to them and help them to resolve youth issues. After all, they are our future.
- His early dreams of good outstripp'd the truth,
And troubled manhood follow'd baffled youth.
- Lord Byron, Lara, Canto 18
- Ah! happy years! once more who would not be a boy!
- 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.
- Sweet scene of my youth!
Seat of Friendship and Truth,
Where Love chas'd each fast-fleeting year;
Loth to leave thee, I mourn'd,
For a last look I turn'd,
But thy spire was scarce seen through a Tear.
- Lord Byron, “The Tear” (1806), Poetical Works, Volume 1
- 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
- Don’t be afraid to be a fool. Remember, you cannot be both young and wise. Young people who pretend to be wise to the ways of the world are mostly just cynics. Cynicism masquerades as wisdom, but it is the farthest thing from it. Because cynics don’t learn anything. Because cynicism is a self-imposed blindness, a rejection of the world because we are afraid it will hurt us or disappoint us. Cynics always say no. But saying yes begins things. Saying yes is how things grow. Saying yes leads to knowledge. "Yes" is for young people. So for as long as you have the strength to, say yes.
- We must be very careful when we give advice to younger people: sometimes they follow it!
- Meek young men grow up in libraries, believing it their duty to accept the views, which Cicero, which Locke, which Bacon, have given, forgetful that Cicero, Locke, and Bacon were only young men in libraries, when they wrote these books.
- Ralph Waldo Emerson, “The American Scholar,” Addresses and Lectures, Complete Works (1883), vol. 1, p. 90
- Whoso neglects learning in his youth,
Loses the past and is dead for the future.
- Euripides, Phrixus
- 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
- Even if the world progresses generally, youth will always begin at the beginning, and the epochs of the world's cultivation will be repeated in the individual.
- Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, as reported by Johann Peter Eckermann in Conversations with Goethe
- It is desperately hard these days for an average child to grow up to be a man, for our present organized system does not want men. They are not safe.
- Paul Goodman, Growing Up Absurd (1956), p. 14
- Younger people actually understand how it works. They don't just take what they are fed according to their preferences; they go look at other things.
- Bill Kristol, as quoted in "Bill Kristol: 'I've Always Been More Anti-Baby Boomer and More Pro-Millennial'" (30 October 2018), by Renee Brown-Cheng, Bold
- The course of life is like the child's game – “here we go round by the rule of contrary” -- and youth, above all others, is the season of united opposites, with all its freshness and buoyancy. At no period of our existence is depression of the spirit more common or more painful. As we advance in life our duties become defined ; we act more from necessity and less from impulse ; custom takes the place of energy, and feelings, no longer powerfully excited, are proportionably quiet in re-action. But youth, balancing itself upon hope, is for ever in extremes; its expectations are continually aroused only to be baffled ; and disappointment, like a summer shower, is violent in proportion to its brevity.
- Hard are life's early steps; and but that youth is buoyant, confident, and strong in hope, men would behold its threshold, and despair.
- 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.
- W. Somerset Maugham, Of Human Bondage (1915)
- It is very natural that clever young men should be rather odious. They are conscious of gifts that they do not know how to use. They are exasperated with the world that will not recognize their merit. They have something to give, and no hand is stretched out to receive it. They are impatient for the fame they regard as their due.
- W. Somerset Maugham, Collected short stories 1, "The voice of the turtle", p. 250
- 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
- As for the moré part Youth is rebél
- Generations do not age. Every youth of any period, any civilization, has the same possibilities as always.
- Cesare Pavese, This Business of Living, (19 April 1940)
- We think our fathers fools, so wise we grow;
Our wiser sons, no doubt, will think us so.
- "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 [...]."
- Bolesław Prus, "Oda do młodości" [Ode to Youth] (1905)
- Youth cannot know how age thinks and feels. But old men are guilty if they forget what it was to be young... and I seem to have forgotten lately.
- Age is foolish and forgetful when it underestimates youth.
- My salad days;
When I was green in judgment.
- The spirit of a youth
That means to be of note, begins betimes.
- 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.
- 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.
- He that is more than a youth, is not for me, and he that is less than man, I am not for him.
- 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
- O brave youth, how good for thee it were couldst thou be made to understand how infinitely precious are thy school years—years when thou hast leisure to grow, when new worlds break in upon thee, and thou fashionest thy being in the light of the ideals of truth and goodness and beauty! If now thou dost not fit thyself to become free and whole, thou shalt, when the doors of this fair mother-house of the mind, close behind thee, be driven into ways that lead to bondage, be compelled to do that which cripples and dwarfs; for the work whereby men gain a livelihood involves mental and moral mutilation, unless it be done in the spirit of religion and culture. Ah! well for thee, canst thou learn while yet there is time that it will profit thee nothing to become the possessor of millions, if the price thou payest is thy manhood.
- John Lancaster Spalding, Aphorisms and Reflections (1901), pp. 58-59
- 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.
- Olaf Stapledon, Last and First Men (1930)
- 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?
- 'There was a time,' Nikolai Artemyevitch resumed, 'when daughters did not allow themselves to look down on their parents—when the parental authority forced the disobedient to tremble. That time has passed, unhappily: so at least many persons imagine; but let me tell you, there are still laws which do not permit—do not permit—in fact there are still laws. I beg you to mark that: there are still laws——'
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.
- The version quoted above 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  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.
- If children had teachers for judgment and eloquence as they have for languages, if their memory was exercised less than their energy or their natural genius, if instead of deadening their vivacity of mind we tried to elevate the free scope and impulses of their souls, what might not result from a fine disposition? As it is, we forget that courage, or love of truth and glory are the virtues that matter most in youth; and our one endeavor is to subdue our children’s spirits, in order to teach them that dependence and suppleness are the first laws of success in life.
- Vauvenargues, Reflections and Maxims, E. Lee, trans. (1903), pp. 185-186
- 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.
- Cf. J. B. Rose's translation:
- In youth alone, unhappy mortals live;
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
- 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
- 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
- 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.
- Matthew Arnold, Youth and Calm, line 19
- Young men are fitter to invent than to judge; fitter for execution than for counsel; and fitter for new projects than for settled business.
- Francis Bacon, Of Youth and Age
- I was between
A man and a boy, A hobble-de-hoy,
A fat, little, punchy concern of sixteen.
- R. H. Barham, Aunt Fanny
- 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.
- Bishop Berkeley, Can Love be Controlled by Advice?
- Young fellows will be young fellows.
- Isaac Bickerstaf, Love in a Village, Act II, scene 2
- And both were young, and one was beautiful.
- Lord Byron, The Dream, Stanza 2
- 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.
- Thomas Carlyle, Essays, Schiller
- 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!
- Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Youth and Age
- A young Apollo, golden haired,
Stands dreaming on the verge of strife,
For the long littleness of life.
- Mrs. Cornford, On Rupert Brooke (1915)
- 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.
- William Cowper, Tirocinium, line 296
- Youth, what man's age is like to be, doth show;
We may our ends by our beginnings know.
- Sir John Denham, Of Prudence, line 225
- Youth should watch joys and shoot them as they fly.
- John Dryden, Aureng-Zebe, Act III, scene 1
- Olympian bards who sung
Divine ideas below,
Which always find us young,
And always keep us so.
- Ralph Waldo Emerson, Essays, The Poet. Introduction
- 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.
- Euripides, line 73
- 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!
- John Gay, Trivia, Book II, line 145
- As I traveled, talking about these issues, I met so many young people who had lost hope. Some were depressed; some were apathetic; some were angry and violent. And when I talked to them, they all more or less felt this way because we had compromised their future and the world of tomorrow was not going to sustain their great-grandchildren.
- Jane Goodall "Then & Now: Jane Goodall", CNN (19 June 2005)
- 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.
- Thomas Gray, Bard, Part II, Stanza 2
- The insect-youth are on the wing,
Eager to taste the honied spring,
And float amid the liquid noon!
- Thomas Gray, Ode on the Spring, Stanza 3, line 5
- 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!
- Bret Harte, Lost Galleon, last stanza
- 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.
- William Hazlitt, Table Talk, The Feeling of Immortality in Youth
- 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.
- Jean Ingelow, The Four Bridges, Stanza 56
- 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.
- William Henry Ireland, Modern Ship of Fools (Of the Folly of all the World)
- Towering in confidence of twenty-one.
- Samuel Johnson, letter to Bennet Langton. Jan., 1758
- 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.
- Charles Kingsley, Water Babies
- 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.
- Andrew Lang, Ballade of Middle Age
- 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!
- Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Maidenhood
- 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!
- Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Morituri Salutamus, line 66
- 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!
- Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Morituri Salutamus
- 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;
Once past, Thou never wilt come back again,
A second Boy.
- Richard Monckton Milnes, Carpe Diem
- 'Tis now the summer of your youth: time has not cropped the roses from your cheek, though sorrow long has washed them.
- Edward Moore, The Gamester, Act III, scene 4
- The smiles, the tears
Of boyhood's years,
The words of love then spoken.
- Thomas Moore, Oft in the Stilly Night
- 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 (6 March 1741)
- When the brisk minor pants for twenty-one.
- Alexander Pope, Epistle I, Book I, line 38
- 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.
- The Passionate Pilgrim (attributed to William Shakespeare), Stanza 12
- 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.
- William Shakespeare, Sonnet III
- 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.
- William Somervile, The Chase (1735), Book III, line 389
- 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.
- Robert Louis Stevenson, Crabbed Age
- For God's sake give me the young man who has brains enough to make a fool of himself.
- Robert Louis Stevenson, Crabbed Age
- Youth is wholly experimental.
- Robert Louis Stevenson, To a Young Gentleman
- Youth should be a savings-bank.
- 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.
- Thomas Tusser, Hundred Points of Husbandry
- Bliss was it in that dawn to be alive,
But to be young was very Heaven!
- William Wordsworth, The Prelude, Book XI
- A youth to whom was given
So much of earth, so much of heaven.
- William Wordsworth, Ruth
Dictionary of Burning Words of Brilliant Writers (1895)
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.
- Jean de La Bruyère, p. 623
- 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.
- Sir Walter Raleigh, p. 623
- 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.
- Bishop Hurd, p. 624
- 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.
- John Ruskin, p. 624
- 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.
- Henry Ward Beecher, p. 624
- When we are out of sympathy with the young, then I think our work in this world is over.
- George MacDonald, p. 624
Respectfully Quoted: A Dictionary of Quotations (1989)
- I'm youth, I'm joy, I'm a little bird that has broken out of the egg.
- Sir James M. Barrie, Peter Pan, act V, scene i, p. 143 (1928). Peter Pan is speaking
- Tell me what are the prevailing sentiments that occupy the minds of your young men, and I will tell you what is to be the character of the next generation.
- Attributed to Edmund Burke.—John P. Bradley, Leo F. Daniels, and Thomas C. Jones, The International Encyclopedia of Quotations, p. 791 (1978). Reported as unverified in Respectfully Quoted: A Dictionary of Quotations (1989)
- The young leading the young, is like the blind leading the blind; "they will both fall into the ditch".
- Philip Dormer Stanhope, 4th earl of Chesterfield, letter to Philip Stanhope, his natural son, November 24, 1747.—The Letters of Philip Dormer Stanhope, 4th Earl of Chesterfield, vol. 3, p. 1057 (1932). The second part of the sentence quotes the Bible, Matthew 15:14. In a later letter to his son, January 15, 1753, Lord Chesterfield remarked that "Young men are as apt to think themselves wise enough, as drunken men are to think themselves sober enough".—Letters, vol. 5, p. 1994–95
- Twenty to twenty-five! These are the years! Don't be content with things as they are…. Don't take No for an answer. Never submit to failure. Do not be fobbed off with mere personal success or acceptance. You will make all kinds of mistakes; but as long as you are generous and true, and also fierce, you cannot hurt the world or even seriously distress her. She was made to be wooed and won by youth. She has lived and thrived only by repeated subjugations.
- Winston Churchill, A Roving Commission, chapter 4, p. 60 (1930)
- We have all seen with a sense of nausea the abject, squalid, shameless avowal made in the Oxford Union. We are told that we ought not to treat it seriously. The Times talked of "the children's hour". I disagree. It is a very disquieting and disgusting symptom. One can almost feel the curl of contempt upon the lips of the manhood of Germany, Italy, and France when they read the message sent out by Oxford University in the name of Young England.
Let them be assured that it is not the last word. But before they blame, as blame they should, these callow ill-tutored youths, they must be sure that they have not been set a bad example by people much older and much higher up.
- Winston Churchill, extract of address, Anti-Socialist and Anti-Communist Union meeting, London, February 17, 1933.—Winston S. Churchill: His Complete Speeches, 1897–1963, ed. Robert Rhodes James, vol. 5, p. 5220 (1974). On February 9, undergraduates at the Oxford Union had approved the resolution, "That this House refuses in any circumstances to fight for King and Country" by a vote of 275 to 153. The editorial in The Times (London) appeared February 13, p. 13. See Martin Gilbert, Winston S. Churchill, vol. 5, p. 456 (1976) for a slightly varied version of Churchill's speech.
- That we may live to see England once more possess a free Monarchy and a privileged and prosperous People, is my Prayer; that these great consequences can only be brought about by the energy and devotion of our Youth is my persuasion. We live in an age when to be young and to be indifferent can be no longer synonymous. We must prepare for the coming hour. The claims of the Future are represented by suffering millions; and the Youth of a Nation are the trustees of Posterity.
- Benjamin Disraeli, Sybil, final sentence, p. 497 (1980). First published 1845
- Through our great good fortune, in our youth our hearts were touched with fire. It was given to us to learn at the outset that life is a profound and passionate thing.
- Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr., associate justice, supreme court of Massachusetts, address before John Sedgwick Post No. 4, Grand Army of the Republic, Keene, New Hampshire, May 30, 1884.—Speeches of Oliver Wendell Holmes, p. 11 (1934)
- Thou know'st the o'er-eager vehemence of youth,
How quick in temper, and in judgement weak.
- Homer, The Iliad, book 23, lines 677–78, trans. Edward, Earl of Derby, ed. 5, vol. 2, p. 372–73 (1865). The many translations of these lines of Homer's vary: The Iliad of Homer, trans. into blank verse by William Cullen Bryant, vol. 4, p. 139 (1905),
"Thou dost know
The faults to which the young are ever prone;
The will is quick to act, the judgment weak";
Robert Graves, The Anger of Achilles, p. 364 (1959), "It is easy for a youngster to go wrong from hastiness and lack of thought"; and Robert Fitzgerald, p. 553, lines 588–89 (1974), "You know a young man may go out of bounds: / his wits are nimble, but his judgment slight".
- Homer, The Iliad, book 23, lines 677–78, trans. Edward, Earl of Derby, ed. 5, vol. 2, p. 372–73 (1865). The many translations of these lines of Homer's vary: The Iliad of Homer, trans. into blank verse by William Cullen Bryant, vol. 4, p. 139 (1905),
- Into my heart an air that kills
From yon far country blows:
What are those blue remembered hills,
What spires, what farms are those?
That is the land of lost content,
I see it shining plain,
The happy highways where I went
And cannot come again.
- A. E. Housman, "Into my heart an air that kills", A Shropshire Lad, verse 40, p. 72 (1932)
- It is very natural for young men to be vehement, acrimonious and severe. For as they seldom comprehend at once all the consequences of a position, or perceive the difficulties by which cooler and more experienced reasoners are restrained from confidence, they form their conclusions with great precipitance. Seeing nothing that can darken or embarrass the question, they expect to find their own opinion universally prevalent, and are inclined to impute uncertainty and hesitation to want of honesty, rather than of knowledge.
- Samuel Johnson, The Rambler, no. 121, May 14, 1751.—The Rambler; A Periodical Paper, Published 1750, 1751, 1752, p. 210 (1825)
- Our answer is the world's hope; it is to rely on youth. The cruelties and obstacles of this swiftly changing planet will not yield to obsolete dogmas and outworn slogans. It cannot be moved by those who cling to a present which is already dying, who prefer the illusion of security to the excitement of danger. It demands the qualities of youth: not a time of life but a state of mind, a temper of the will, a quality of the imagination, a predominance of courage over timidity, of the appetite for adventure over the love of ease.
- Robert F. Kennedy, "Day of Affirmation", address delivered at the University of Capetown, South Africa, June 6, 1966.—Congressional Record, June 6, 1966, vol. 112, p. 12430. Kennedy was quoting Samuel Ullman's description of youth; see No. 2099
- Nothing matters more to the future of this Nation than insuring that our young men and women learn to believe in themselves and believe in their dreams, and that they develop this capacity—that you develop this capacity, so that you keep it all of your lives…. I believe one of America's most priceless assets is the idealism which motivates the young people of America. My generation has invested all that it has, not only its love but its hope and faith, in yours.
- Richard Nixon, remarks at the University of Nebraska, Lincoln, Nebraska, January 14, 1971. Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States: Richard Nixon, 1971, p. 31, 33
- Youth is a wonderful thing. What a crime to waste it on children.
- Attributed to George Bernard Shaw.—Franklin P. Adams, FPA Book of Quotations, p. 883 (1952). Archibald Henderson, in his third biography of Shaw, George Bernard Shaw: Man of the Century, chapter 62, p. 845 (1956), included this statement (using "sin" instead of "crime") in a section of anecdotes. He had not included this in earlier biographies of 1911 and 1932. The anecdote apparently was first told in the 1930s, since it is one which appears in Lewis and Faye Copeland, 10,000 Jokes, Toasts, & Stories, p. 555 (1939, 1940). It was also used in Reader's Digest, April 1940, p. 84. Sometimes heard "…waste it on the young". Dr. Stanley Weintraub, author and editor of books on Shaw, believes this is incorrectly attributed to Shaw and that it actually belongs to Oscar Wilde, since Shaw often took quotations from Wilde and inverted them for his own use.
- The most conservative persons I ever met are college undergraduates. The radicals are the men past middle life.
- Woodrow Wilson, president of Princeton, speech to the Inter-Church Conference on Federation, New York City, November 19, 1905, as reported by The New York Times next day.—The Papers of Woodrow Wilson, ed. Arthur S. Link, vol. 16, p. 228
- The children now love luxury; they have bad manners, contempt for authority; they show disrespect for elders and love chatter in place of exercise. Children are now tyrants, not the servants of their households. They no longer rise when elders enter the room. They contradict their parents, chatter before company, gobble up dainties at the table, cross their legs, and tyrannize their teachers. -- misattributed to Socrates
- I see no hope for the future of our people if they are dependent on frivolous youth of today, for certainly all youth are reckless beyond words... When I was young, we were taught to be discreet and respectful of elders, but the present youth are exceedingly disrespectful and impatient of restraint. -- misattributed to Hesiod (See Hesiod#Misattributed)
- We live in a decaying age. Young people no longer respect their parents. They are rude and impatient. They frequently inhabit taverns and have no self control.
- (mis-)attributed to an inscription in an Ancient Egyptian tomb in Buckminster Fuller's I Seem To Be a Verb.