Abandoned Epigraphs

The book ended up with a pretty fun collection of epigraphs for each chapter. But there are a lot more good quotes about time than chapters in the book. Here are some of the quotes I did not end up using. Further examples are hereby solicited — who knows when they might turn out to be useful?

“Everything happens to everybody sooner or later if there is time enough.” — George Bernard Shaw, Back to Methuselah

“Time is the longest distance between two places.” — Tennessee Williams, The Glass Menagerie

“The future’s not ours to see.” — Doris Day

“Time rushes toward us with its hospital tray of infinitely varied narcotics, even while it is preparing us for its inevitably fatal operation.” — Tennessee Williams, The Rose Tattoo

“Time, you old gypsy man,
Will you not stay,
Put up your caravan
Just for one day?”
— Ralph Hodgeson

“Time present and time past
Are both perhaps present in time future,
And time future contained in time past.
If all time is eternally present
All time is unredeemable.”
— T.S. Eliot, “Burnt Norton” (Four Quartets)

“Time is the substance from which I am made. Time is a river that carries me along, but I am the river; it is a tiger that devours me, but I am the tiger; it is a fire that consumes me, but I am the fire.” — Jorge Luis Borges, Labyrinths.

Apparently you have to be extremely careful when it comes to poetry; fair use doesn’t necessarily extend very far.

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9 Responses to Abandoned Epigraphs

  1. Rob Knop says:

    “Time is an illusion; lunchtime doubly so.” –Zarniwoop, The Hitch-hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy

    “All of cosmology’s missing mass can be explained by people who lie about their weight.” — R. Knop, 1989, back when there still *was* “missing mass”.

    “Parsley, Sage, Rosemary, and [Time]” — Simon & Garfunkel (with bonus Oxford comma)

    “Tomorrow, and tomorrow, and tomorrow
    Creeps in this petty pace from day to day
    To the last syllable of recorded time,” –Macbeth, Macbeth

  2. daisyrose says:

    Time like shadows is the most permanent thing in the world.

  3. Meredith says:

    “Time is the fire in which we burn.”
    -Dr. Tolian Soran, Star Trek: Generations

    (originally from the poem “Calmly We Walk Through This April’s Day” by Delmore Schwartz)

  4. tcmJOE says:

    Much of the lyrics to David Bowie’s “Time”, but particularly the first 3 stanzas.

    Time – he’s waiting in the wings
    He speaks of senseless things
    His script is you and me, boy

    Time – he flexes like a whore
    Falls wanking to the floor
    His trick is you and me, boy

    Time – in quaaludes and red wine
    Demanding billy dolls
    And other friends of mine
    Take your time

  5. meichenl says:


    Where do you find all these quotes? The one from Shaw seems especially relevant if you’re talking about Poincare’s recurrence theorem or something similar.

    Do you just have encyclopedic knowledge? Or happened to write down every relevant quote you encountered in your life?

    I’m sure there are some good quotes from Lewis Carroll

    Alice sighed wearily. ‘I think you might do something better with the time,’ she said, ‘than waste it in asking riddles that have no answers.’

    ‘If you knew Time as well as I do,’ said the Hatter, ‘you wouldn’t talk about wasting IT. It’s HIM.’

    ‘I don’t know what you mean,’ said Alice.

    ‘Of course you don’t!’ the Hatter said, tossing his head contemptuously. ‘I dare say you never even spoke to Time!’

    ‘Perhaps not,’ Alice cautiously replied: ‘but I know I have to beat time when I learn music.’

    ‘Ah! that accounts for it,’ said the Hatter. ‘He won’t stand beating. Now, if you only kept on good terms with him, he’d do almost anything you liked with the clock. For instance, suppose it were nine o’clock in the morning, just time to begin lessons: you’d only have to whisper a hint to Time, and round goes the clock in a twinkling! Half-past one, time for dinner!’

    Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland

  6. HP says:

    “The future’s not ours to see” should be credited to Ray Evans. Doris Day is just a singer.

  7. Sili says:

    You’ve used Marx, I hope (bananarrow).

    “Tomorrow, tomorrow, I love you, tomorrow. You’re only a day away.”

    “If not tomorrow, then the day after that.”

    Does it show that I procrastinate a lot?

  8. Ijon Tichy says:

    My two favourite quotes regarding poets and poetry:

    “In science one tries to tell people, in such a way as to be understood by everyone, something that no one ever knew before. But in poetry, it’s the exact opposite.” — Paul Dirac

    “I stopped being afraid because I read the truth, and that’s the scientifical truth, which is much better. You shouldn’t let poets lie to you.” — Björk

  9. Gary says:

    Time is confusing because pointing the other way its Emit.