Here are quotations about memory and its loss:
- Nothing is more memorable than a smell. One scent can be unexpected, momentary and fleeting, yet conjure up a childhood summer beside a lake in the mountains; another, a moonlit beach; a third, a family dinner of pot roast and sweet potatoes during a myrtle-mad August in a Midwestern town. Smells detonate softly in our memory like poignant land mines hidden under the weedy mass of years. Hit a tripwire of smell and memories explode all at once. A complex vision leaps out of the undergrowth.
- Diane Ackerman, A Natural History of the Senses.
- Reg, as he insisted on being called, had a memory that he himself had once compared to the Queen Alexandra Birdwing Butterfly in that it was colorful, flitted prettily hither and thither, and was now, alas, almost completely extinct.
- Not the power to remember, but its very opposite, the power to forget, is a necessary condition for our existence.
- Sholem Asch, The Nazarene.
- To look backward for a while is to refresh the eye, to restore it, and to render it the more fit for its prime function of looking forward.
- Margaret Fairless Barber, The Roadmender.
- God gave us memories that we might have roses in December.
- J. M. Barrie, Courage (1922).
- Memories are like stones, time and distance erode them like acid.
- Ugo Betti, Goat Island.
- It's good to have a short memory because it keeps life fresh.
- A baby is expected. A trip is expected. News is expected. Forgetfulness is expected. An invitation is expected. Hope is expected. But memories are not expected. They just come.
- Giannina Braschi, Pastoral in Empire of Dreams, 1983.
- I am a miser of my memories of you
And will not spend them.
- Witter Bynner, Coins.
- A happy childhood can't be cured. Mine'll hang around my neck like a rainbow, that's all, instead of a noose.
- Hortense Calisher, Queenie (1971).
- Memory is the thing you forget with.
- Alexander Chase, Perspectives.
- The sense of smell can be extraordinarily evocative, bringing back pictures as sharp as photographs of scenes that had left the conscious mind.
- Thalassa Cruso, To Everything There is a Season (1973).
- One need not be a chamber to be haunted;
One need not be a house;
The brain has corridors surpassing
- Emily Dickinson, Time and Eternity.
- We have all forgot more than we remember.
- Thomas Fuller, Gnomologia.
- Remembrance wakes with all her busy train,
Swells at my breast, and turns the past to pain.
- Oliver Goldsmith, The Deserted Village (1770), line 81.
- Where'er I roam, whatever realms to see,
My heart untravell'd fondly turns to thee;
Still to my brother turns, with ceaseless pain,
And drags at each remove a lengthening chain.
- Oliver Goldsmith, The Traveller (1764), line 7.
- Memory is a child walking along a seashore. You never can tell what small pebble it will pick up and store away among its treasured things.
- Pierce Harris, Atlanta Journal.
- Memory is merely the process of tuning into vibrations that have been left behind in space and time.
- Michio Kushi with Edward Esko, Spiritual Journey (1994), p. 62.
- The faintest waft is sometimes enough to induce feelings of hunger or anticipation, or to transport you back through time and space to a long-forgotten moment in your childhood. It can overwhelm you in an instant or simply tease you, creeping into your consciousness slowly and evaporating almost the moment it is detected.
- Stephen Lacey, Scent in Your Garden (1991).
- Certainly it is one of the most blessed things about "the faith that is in Christ Jesus," that it makes a man remember his own sinfulness with penitence, not with pain — that it makes the memory of past transgressions full of solemn joy, because the memory of past transgressions but brings to mind the depth and rushing fullness of that river of love which has swept them all away as far as the east is from the west. Oh, my brother, you cannot forget your sins; but it lies within your own decision whether the remembrance shall be thankfulness and blessedness, or whether it shall be pain and loss forever.
- Alexander Maclaren, reported in Josiah Hotchkiss Gilbert, Dictionary of Burning Words of Brilliant Writers (1895), p. 408.
- My friend, picture to yourself this — a human spirit shut up with the companionship of its forgotten and dead transgressions! There is a resurrection of acts as well as of bodies. Think what it will be for a man to sit surrounded by that ghastly company, the ghosts of his own sins! and as each forgotten fault and buried badness comes, silent and sheeted, into that awful society, and sits itself down there, think of him greeting each with the question, "Thou too? What! are ye all here? Hast tl1ou found me, O mine enemy?" and from each bloodless, spectral lip there tolls out the answer, the knell of his life," I have found thee, because thou hast sold thyself to work evil in the sight of the Lord."
- Alexander Maclaren, reported in Josiah Hotchkiss Gilbert, Dictionary of Burning Words of Brilliant Writers (1895), p. 408.
- ... and what you are left with is a premonition of the way your life will fade behind you, like a book you have read too quickly, leaving a dwindling trail of images and emotions until all you can remember is a name.
- Jay McInerney, Bright Lights, Big City.
- A strong memory is commonly coupled with infirm judgement.
- Montaigne, Essays.
- What thousands and millions of recollections there must be in us! And every now and then one of them becomes known to us; and it shows us what spiritual depths are growing in us, what mines of memory.
- William Mountford, reported in Josiah Hotchkiss Gilbert, Dictionary of Burning Words of Brilliant Writers (1895), p. 407.
- Women and elephants never forget.
- Dorothy Parker, Ballads of Unfortunate Animals.
- We do not remember days, we remember moments. The richness of life lies in memories we have forgotten.
- Cesare Pavese, The Burning Brand.
- Things are revealed through the memories we have of them. Remembering a thing means seeing it—only then—for the first time.
- Cesare Pavese, This Business of Living, 1942-01-28
- If you wish to forget anything on the spot, make a note that this thing is to be remembered.
- Edgar Allan Poe, Marginalia.
- The pure memories given
To help our joy on earth, when earth is past,
Shall help our joy in heaven.
- Margaret Junkin Preston, reported in Josiah Hotchkiss Gilbert, Dictionary of Burning Words of Brilliant Writers (1895), p. 407.
- Memory itself is an internal rumour.
- George Santayana, The Life of Reason.
- I have the most ill-regulated memory. It does those things which it ought not to do and leaves undone the things it ought to have done.
- Dorothy L. Sayers, Gaudy Night (1936).
- What isn't remembered never happened. Memory is merely a record. You just need to re-write that record.
- Serial Experiments Lain, Japanese writing in final episode
- Reminiscences make one feel so deliciously aged and sad.
- George Bernard Shaw, The Irrational Knot.
- A man's real possesion is his memory. In nothing else is he rich, in nothing else is he poor.
- Alexander Smith, Dreamthorp.
- Memories are very precious to people's lives. They give us the opportunity to prove to ourselves that we exist, and if we lose them, we have an unrelenting fear of uncertainty. You must listen to me, the humans that are living here and now in the present are made of more than just memories of the past. I myself don't even know who I am; I don't have a single solitary memory about myself, but I don't believe anyone took them from me. I most likely erased them of my own free will. I was the one who made that choice, I made it for myself; so I can live in the present and the future, because I must go on believing there is a me! Angel! I know that I will never lose the you that is now a part of my memories. The you that met me and the conviction you had in what you felt you needed to do. The you that loved yourself more than anyone else ever could. I'll never forget this woman named Angel who once loved herself, yet was filled with such a doubt. You must stop denying your own existence; you have to live as a human being.
- Roger Smith, The Big O
- Can I be your memory?
- Sugarcult, their song Memory
- I want to live with all of my memories, even if they're sad memories. I believe that if I stay strong, someday I'll overcome the pain, and then I'll be glad that I have those memories. I believe that there are no memories that are okay to forget.
- Natsuki Takaya, Fruits Basket (Momiji Sohma).
- When comparing human memory and computer memory it is clear that the human version has two distinct disadvantages. Firstly, as indeed I have experienced myself, due to ageing, human memory can exhibit very poor short term recall.
- But how is Mneme dreaded by the race,
Who scorn her warnings and despise her grace?
By her unveil'd each horrid crime appears,
Her awful hand a cup of wormwood bears.
Days, years mispent, O what a hell of woe!
Hers the worst tortures that our souls can know.
- Phillis Wheatley, "On Recollection", Poems on Various Subjects, Religious and Moral (1773).
- Memory... is the diary that we all carry about with us.
- Oscar Wilde, The Importance of Being Earnest.
- In memory everything seems to happen to music.
- Tennessee Williams, The Glass Managerie.
- It is notorious that the memory strengthens as you lay burdens upon it, and becomes trustworthy as you trust it.
- Thomas De Quincey, Confessions of an English Opium-Eater. pt. I
- Memory is the storehouse in which the substance of our knowledge is treasured up.
- Charles Bridges, An Exposition of Psalm 119, comment on v.55.
Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations
- Quotes reported in Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922), p. 506-09.
- Far from our eyes th' Enchanting Objects set,
Advantage by the friendly Distance get.
- Alexis, A poem against Fruition, from Poems by Several Hands (Pub. 1685).
- I do perceive that the old proverb be not alwaies trew, for I do finde that the absence of my Nathaniel doth breede in me the more continuall remembrance of him.
- Anne, Lady Bacon, To Jane Lady Cornwallis (1613).
- Out of sighte, out of mynde.
- Quoted as a saying by Nathaniel Bacon. In Private Correspondence of Lady Cornwallis, p. 19. Googe. Title of Eclog.
- Tell me the tales that to me were so dear,
Long, long ago, long, long ago.
- Thomas Haynes Bayly, Long, Long Ago.
- Oh, I have roamed o'er many lands,
And many friends I've met;
Not one fair scene or kindly smile
Can this fond heart forget.
- Thomas Haynes Bayly, O, Steer my Bark to Erin's Isle.
- Friends depart, and memory takes them
To her caverns, pure and deep.
- Thomas Haynes Bayly, Teach Me to Forget.
- Out of mind as soon as out of sight.
- Lord Brooke. Sonnet, LVI.
- The mother may forget the child
That smiles sae sweetly on her knee;
But I'll remember thee, Glencairn,
And all that thou hast done for me!
- Robert Burns, Lament for Glencairn.
- Yet how much less it were to gain,
Though thou hast left me free,
The loveliest things that still remain,
Than thus remember thee.
- Lord Byron, And Thou art Dead as Young and Fair.
- To live in hearts we leave behind,
Is not to die.
- Thomas Campbell, Hallowed Ground, Stanza 6.
- When promise and patience are wearing thin,
When endurance is almost driven in,
When our angels stand in a waiting hush,
Remember the Marne and Ferdinand Foch.
- Bliss Carman, The Man of the Marne.
- Though sands be black and bitter black the sea,
Night lie before me and behind me night,
And God within far Heaven refuse to light
The consolation of the dawn for me,—
Between the shadowy burns of Heaven and Hell,
It is enough love leaves my soul to dwell
- Madison Cawein, The End of All.
- Les souvenirs embellissent la vie, l'oubli seul la rend possible.
- Remembrances embellish life but forgetfulness alone makes it possible.
- General Enrico Cialdini, written in an album.
- Memoria est thesaurus omnium rerum e custos.
- Memory is the treasury and guardian of all things.
- Cicero, De Oratore, I. 5.
- Vita enim mortuorum in memoria vivorum est posita.
- The life of the dead is placed in the memory of the living.
- Cicero, Philippicæ, IX. 5.
- Oh, how cruelly sweet are the echoes that start
When Memory plays an old tune on the heart!
- Eliza Cook, Journal, Volume IV. Old Dobbin, Stanza 16.
- What peaceful hours I once enjoy'd!
How sweet their memory still!
But they have left an aching void
The world can never fill.
- William Cowper, Walking with God.
- Don't you remember, sweet Alice, Ben Bolt?
Sweet Alice, whose hair was so brown;
Who wept with delight when you gave her a smile,
And trembl'd with fear at your frown!
- Thomas Dunn English, Ben Bolt.
- But woe to him, who left to moan,
Reviews the hours of brightness gone.
- Euripides, Iphigenia in Taurus, line 1,121. Translation by Anstice.
- Memory [is] like a purse,—if it be over-full that it cannot shut, all will drop out of it. Take heed of a gluttonous curiosity to feed on many things, lest the greediness of the appetite of thy memory spoil the digestion thereof.
- Thomas Fuller, The Holy State and the Profane State (1642), Book III. Of Memory.
- By every remove I only drag a greater length of chain.
- Oliver Goldsmith, Citizen of the World, No. 3.
- A place in thy memory, Dearest!
Is all that I claim:
To pause and look back when thou hearest
The sound of my name.
- Gerald Griffin, A Place in Thy Memory, Dearest.
- Fer from eze, fer from herte,
- Hendyng, Proverbs, manuscripts (c. 1320).
- So may it be: that so dead Yesterday,
No sad-eyed ghost but generous and gay,
May serve you memories like almighty wine,
When you are old.
- William Ernest Henley, When You Are Old.
- I remember, I remember,
The house where I was born,
The little window where the sun
Came peeping in at morn;
He never came a wink too soon,
Nor brought too long a day,
But now, I often wish the night
Had borne my breath away!
- Thomas Hood, I Remember, I Remember.
- Where is the heart that doth not keep,
Within its inmost core,
Some fond remembrance hidden deep,
Of days that are no more?
- Ellen Clementine Howarth, 'Tis but a Little Faded Flower.
- And when he is out of sight, quickly also is he out of mind.
- Thomas á Kempis, Imitation of Christ, Book I, Chapter XXIII.
- Badness of memory every one complains of, but nobody of the want of judgment.
- François de La Rochefoucauld, Reflections and Moral Maxims, No. 463.
- Tho' lost to sight to mem'ry dear
Thou ever wilt remain.
- George Linley, Though Lost to Sight. First line found as an axiom in Monthly Magazine, Jan., 1827. Horace F. Cutler published a poem with same refrain, calling himself "Ruthven Jenkyns," crediting its publication in a fictitious magazine, Greenwich Mag. for Marines, 1707. (Hoax.) It appeared in Mrs. Mary Sherwood's novel, The Nun. Same idea in Pope—Epistle to Robert, Earl of Oxford, and Earl Mortimer. "Though lost to sight to memory dear / The absent claim a sigh, the dead a tear." Sir David Dundas offered 5 shillings during his life (1799–1877) to any one who could produce the origin of this first line. See Notes and Queries, Oct. 21, 1916, p. 336. Dem Augen fern dem Herzen ewig nah'. On a tomb in Dresden, near that of Von Weber's. See Notes and Queries, March 27, 1909, p. 249.
- I recollect a nurse called Ann,
Who carried me about the grass,
And one fine day a fine young man
Came up and kissed the pretty lass.
She did not make the least objection.
Thinks I, "Aha,
When I can talk I'll tell Mama,"
And that's my earliest recollection.
- Frederick Locker-Lampson, A Terrible Infant.
- The leaves of memory seemed to make
A mournful rustling in the dark.
- Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, The Fire of Drift-Wood.
- The heart hath its own memory, like the mind,
And in it are enshrined
The precious keepsakes, into which is wrought
The giver's loving thought.
- Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, From My Arm-Chair, Stanza 12.
- This memory brightens o'er the past,
As when the sun concealed
Behind some cloud that near us hangs,
Shines on a distant field.
- Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, A Gleam of Sunshine.
- There comes to me out of the Past
A voice, whose tones are sweet and wild,
Singing a song almost divine,
And with a tear in every line.
- Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Tales of a Wayside Inn (1863-1874), Part III. Interlude before "The Mother's Ghost".
- Nothing now is left
But a majestic memory.
- Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Three Friends of Mine, line 10.
- Wakes the bitter memory
Of what he was, what is, and what must be
- Il se veoid par expérience, que les mémoires excellentes se joignent volontiers aux jugements débiles.
- Experience teaches that a good memory is generally joined to a weak judgment.
- Michel de Montaigne, Essays, I. 9.
- To live with them is far less sweet
Than to remember thee!
- Thomas Moore, I Saw Thy Form in Youthful Prime.
- Oft in the stilly night
E'er slumber's chain has bound me,
Fond memory brings the light
Of other days around me.
- Thomas Moore, Oft in the Stilly Night.
- When I remember all
The friends so link'd together,
I've seen around me fall,
Like leaves in wintry weather
I feel like one who treads alone
Some banquet hall deserted,
Whose lights are fled, whose garlands dead,
And all but he departed.
- Thomas Moore, Oft in the Stilly Night.
- And the tear that we shed, though in secret it rolls,
Shall long keep his memory green in our souls.
- Thomas Moore, Oh, Breathe not his Name.
- When time who steals our years away
Shall steal our pleasures too,
The mem'ry of the past will stay
And half our joys renew.
- Thomas Moore, Song, from Juvenile Poems.
- All to myself I think of you,
Think of the things we used to do,
Think of the things we used to say,
Think of each happy bygone day.
Sometimes I sigh, and sometimes I smile,
But I keep each olden, golden while
All to myself.
- Wilbur D. Nesbit, All to Myself.
- Many a man fails to become a thinker for the sole reason that his memory is too good.
- Friedrich Nietzsche, Maxims.
- At cum longa dies sedavit vulnera mentis,
Intempestive qui fovet illa novat.
- When time has assuaged the wounds of the mind, he who unseasonably reminds us of them, opens them afresh.
- Ovid, Epistolæ Ex Ponto, IV. 11. 19.
- Impensa monumenti supervacua est: memoria nostra durabit, si vita meruimus.
- The erection of a monument is superfluous; the memory of us will last, if we have deserved it in our lives.
- Pliny the Younger, Epistles, IX. 19.
- I remember, I remember
How my childhood fleeted by,—
The mirth of its December,
And the warmth of its July.
- Winthrop Mackworth Praed, I Remember, I Remember.
- If I do not remember thee, let my tongue cleave to the roof of my mouth.
- Psalms. CXXXVII. 6.
- Tho' lost to sight, within this filial breast
Hendrick still lives in all his might confest.
- W. Rider, in the London Magazine (1755), p. 589.
- Hail, memory, hail! in thy exhaustless mine
From age to age unnumbered treasures shine!
Thought and her shadowy brood thy call obey,
And Place and Time are subject to thy sway!
- Samuel Rogers, Pleasures of Memory, Part II, line 428.
- I have a room whereinto no one enters
Save I myself alone:
There sits a blessed memory on a throne,
* There my life centres.
- Christina G. Rossetti, Memory, Part II.
- I wept for memory.
- Christina G. Rossetti, Song, She Sat and Sang Always.
- Though varying wishes, hopes, and fears,
Fever'd the progress of these years,
Yet now, days, weeks, and months but seem
The recollection of a dream.
- Walter Scott, Marmion, Introduction to Canto IV.
- Still so gently o'er me stealing,
Mem'ry will bring back the feeling,
Spite of all my grief revealing
That I love thee,—that I dearly love thee still.
- Scribe, Opera of La Sonnambula.
- Though yet of Hamlet, our dear brother's death,
The memory be green.
- Remember thee!
Yea, from the table of my memory
I'll wipe away all trivial fond records.
- Die two months ago, and not forgotten yet? Then there's hope a great man's memory may outlive his life half a year.
- That memory, the warder of the brain,
Shall be a fume.
- I cannot but remember such things were,
That were most precious to me.
- If a man do not erect in this age his own tomb ere he dies, he shall live no longer in monument than the bell rings, and the widow weeps. * * * An hour in clamour and a quarter in rheum.
- I count myself in nothing else so happy
As in a soul rememb'ring my good friends;
And, as my fortune ripens with thy love,
It shall be still thy true love's recompense.
- How sharp the point of this remembrance is!
- Looking on the lines
Of my boy's face, my thoughts I did recoil
Twenty-three years; and saw myself unbreech'd,
In my green velvet coat, my dagger muzzled,
Lest it should bite its master, and so prove,
As ornaments oft do, too dangerous.
- Thou comest as the memory of a dream,
Which now is sad because it hath been sweet.
- Percy Bysshe Shelley, Prometheus Unbound (1820), Act II, scene 1.
- Heu quanta minus est cum reliquis versari quam tui meminisse.
- Ah, how much less all living loves to me,
Than that one rapture of remembering thee.
- The Latin is Shenstone's Epitaph to the memory of his cousin Mary Dolman, on an ornamental Urn. The translation. is by Arthur J. Munby.
- Ah, how much less all living loves to me,
- The Right Honorable gentleman is indebted to his memory for his jests and to his imagination for his facts.
- Richard Brinsley Sheridan, attributed to him in report of a Speech in Reply to Mr. Dundas. Not found in his works but the idea exists in loose sketches for a comedy.
- Nobis meminisse relictum.
- Left behind as a memory for us.
- Statius, Silvæ, Book II. 1. 55.
- In vain does Memory renew
The hours once tinged in transport's dye:
The sad reverse soon starts to view
And turns the past to agony.
- Mrs. Dugald Stewart, The Tear I Shed.
- I shall remember while the light lives yet
And in the night time I shall not forget.
- Algernon Charles Swinburne, Erotion.
- Facetiarum apud præpotentes in longum memoria est.
- The powerful hold in deep remembrance an ill-timed pleasantry.
- Tacitus, Annales, V. 2.
- The sweet remembrance of the just
Shall flourish when he sleeps in dust.
- Tate and Brady, Paraphrase of Psalm CXII, Stanza 6.
- A land of promise, a land of memory,
A land of promise flowing with the milk
And honey of delicious memories!
- Alfred Tennyson, The Lover's Tale, line 333.
- Faciam, hujus loci, dieique, meique semper memineris.
- I will make you always remember this place, this day, and me.
- Terence, Eunuchus, V. 7. 31.
- Memory, in widow's weeds, with naked feet stands on a tombstone.
- Aubrey De Vere, Widowhood.
- Forsan et hæc olim meminisse juvabit.
- Quique sui memores alios fecere merendo.
- As the dew to the blossom, the bud to the bee,
As the scent to the rose, are those memories to me.
- Amelia B. Welby, Pulpit Eloquence.
- Out of the cradle endlessly rocking,
Out of the mocking bird's throat, the musical shuttle,
* * * * * *
A reminiscence sing.
- Walt Whitman, Sea-Drift.
- Ah! memories of sweet summer eves,
Of moonlit wave and willowy way,
Of stars and flowers, and dewy leaves,
And smiles and tones more dear than they!
- John Greenleaf Whittier, Memories, Stanza 4.
- And when the stream
Which overflowed the soul was passed away,
A consciousness remained that it had left,
Deposited upon the silent shore
Of memory, images and precious thoughts,
That shall not die, and cannot be destroyed.
- William Wordsworth, Excursion, Book VII.
- The vapours linger round the Heights,
They melt, and soon must vanish;
One hour is theirs, nor more is mine,—
Sad thought, which I would banish,
But that I know, where'er I go,
Thy genuine image, Yarrow!
Will dwell with me,—to heighten joy,
And cheer my mind in sorrow.
- William Wordsworth, Yarrow Visited.