Literary Quotations
Browse quotes by source | Browse quotes by author


I heard the old, old men say,
'Everything alters,
And one by one we drop away.'
They had hands like claws, and their knees
Were twisted like the old thorn-trees
By the waters.
I heard the old, old men say,
'All that's beautiful drifts away
Like the waters.'
W. B. YEATS, The Old Men Admiring Themselves In The Water

A man knows when he is growing old because he begins to look like his father.

GABRIEL GARCÍA MÁRQUEZ, Love in the Time of Cholera

Years place at last a venerable crown upon a head.

VICTOR HUGO, Les Misérables

That is the worst moment, when you feel you have lost
The desires for all that was most dersirable,
Before you are contented with what you can desire;
Before you know what is left to be desired;
And you go on wishing that you could desire
What desire has left behind. But you cannot understand.
How could you understand what it is to feel old?

T. S. ELIOT, The Cocktail Party

The wine of life is drawn, and the mere lees
Is left this vault to brag of.


Most fatal diseases had their own specific odor, but ... none was as specific as old age.

GABRIEL GARCÍA MÁRQUEZ, Love in the Time of Cholera

One by one they were all becoming shades. Better pass boldly into that other world, in the full glory of some passion, than fade and wither dismally with age.

JAMES JOYCE, "The Dead," Dubliners

He looked too old, too spare, his face a boxy outline, an underdrawing of the original likeness, the fleshed-out and tinted-in Bronzini. A couple of days of gray stubble surrounded his untrimmed moustache and Matt thought the man had seized upon old age, embraced it with a kind of reckless assent.

DON DELILLO, Underworld

Old age was not a rushing torrent but a bottomless cistern where ... memory drained away.

GABRIEL GARCÍA MÁRQUEZ, Love in the Time of Cholera

Some die young; some are born old.

JOHN UPDIKE, Rabbit, Run

There was no innocence more dangerous than the innocence of age.

GABRIEL GARCÍA MÁRQUEZ, Love in the Time of Cholera

The old men ... the tramps and drifters with their stained raincoats and cracked false teeth and hairy earholes--all of them were once upon a time children of God, with straight limbs and clear eyes. Can they be blamed for clinging to the last to their place at the sweet banquet of the senses?

J. M. COETZEE, Disgrace

Pain for the old was no longer a surprise.

CORMAC MCCARTHY, All the Pretty Horses