— Geoffrey Chaucer English poet 1343 - 1400
„Life is fleeting. Don't waste a single moment of your precious life. Wake up now! And now! And now!“
Source: A Tale for the Time Being
„[Larkin] himself is well aware that there are happier ways of viewing life. It's just that he is incapable of sharing them, except for fleeting moments - and the fleeting moments do not accumulate, whereas the times in between them do.“
— Clive James Australian author, critic, broadcaster, poet, translator and memoirist 1939 - 2019
Essays and reviews, At the Pillars of Hercules (1979)
„Remember that man lives only in the present, in this fleeting instant; all the rest of his life is either past and gone, or not yet revealed.“
Meditations (c. 121–180 AD), Book III
Context: Remember that man lives only in the present, in this fleeting instant; all the rest of his life is either past and gone, or not yet revealed. Short, therefore, is man's life, and narrow is the corner of the earth wherein he dwells.
„This Life is a fleeting breath,
And whither and how shall I go,
When I wander away with Death
By a path that I do not know?“
— Louise Chandler Moulton American poet, story-writer and critic 1835 - 1908
When I wander away with Death.
Bartlett's Familiar Quotations, 10th ed. (1919)
„TUURI: Let not evermore, / let the gods celebrate / with mortal people! / The gods have long festivals, / man's life is fleeting, / swift as a wheel's turn …“
— Eino Leino Finnish poet and journalist 1878 - 1926
„To be connected to America’s causes — liberty, equal justice, respect for the dignity of all people — brings happiness more sublime than life’s fleeting pleasures.“
— John McCain politician from the United States 1936 - 2018
2010s, 2018, Farewell statement (2018)
Context: I have tried to serve our country honorably. I have made mistakes, but I hope my love for America will be weighed favorably against them.
I have often observed that I am the luckiest person on Earth. I feel that way even now as I prepare for the end of my life. I have loved my life, all of it. I have had experiences, adventures and friendships enough for ten satisfying lives, and I am so thankful. Like most people, I have regrets. But I would not trade a day of my life, in good or bad times, for the best day of anyone else’s.
I owe that satisfaction to the love of my family. No man ever had a more loving wife or children he was prouder of than I am of mine. And I owe it to America. To be connected to America’s causes — liberty, equal justice, respect for the dignity of all people — brings happiness more sublime than life’s fleeting pleasures. Our identities and sense of worth are not circumscribed but enlarged by serving good causes bigger than ourselves.
"Fellow Americans" — that association has meant more to me than any other. I lived and died a proud American. We are citizens of the world’s greatest republic, a nation of ideals, not blood and soil. We are blessed and are a blessing to humanity when we uphold and advance those ideals at home and in the world. We have helped liberate more people from tyranny and poverty than ever before in history. We have acquired great wealth and power in the process.
„Our profound human duty is not to interpret or to cast light on the rhythm of God's arch, but to adjust, as much as we can, the rhythm of our small and fleeting life to his.“
The Saviors of God (1923)
Context: Our profound human duty is not to interpret or to cast light on the rhythm of God's arch, but to adjust, as much as we can, the rhythm of our small and fleeting life to his.
Only thus may we mortals succeed in achieving something immortal, because then we collaborate with One who is Deathless.
Only thus may we conquer mortal sin, the concentration on details, the narrowness of our brains; only thus may we transubstantiate into freedom the slavery of earthen matter given us to mold.
Source: Committed: A Skeptic Makes Peace with Marriage
— Oscar Wilde Irish writer and poet 1854 - 1900
„Reminiscences, even extensive ones, do not always amount to an autobiography. … For even if months and years appear here, it is in the form they have in the moment of recollection. This strange form — it may be called fleeting or eternal — is in neither case the stuff that life is made of.“
— Walter Benjamin German literary critic, philosopher and social critic (1892-1940) 1892 - 1940
A Berlin Chronicle (1932–, unfinished), in Walter Benjamin: Selected Writings – vol. 2, pt. 2: 1931-1934, ed. Michael William Jennings, Harvard University Press, 2005, p. 612
„To be content with life — or to live merrily, rather — all that is required is that we bestow on all things only a fleeting, superficial glance; the more thoughtful we become the more earnest we grow.“
— Georg Christoph Lichtenberg German scientist, satirist 1742 - 1799
Aphorisms (1765-1799), Notebook K (1789-1793)