The leaves of memory seemed to make
A mournful rustling in the dark.
—Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1807–82) American Poet, Educator, Academic
The young have aspirations that never come to pass, the old have reminiscences of what never happened. It’s only the middle-aged who are really conscious of their limitations—that is why one should be so patient with them.
—Saki (Hector Hugh Munro) (1870–1916) British Short Story Writer, Satirist, Historian
We don’t remember days; we remember moments.
—Cesare Pavese (1908–50) Italian Novelist, Poet, Critic, Translator
It was one of those perfect English autumnal days which occur more frequently in memory than in life.
—P. D. James (b.1920) British Novelist
Remembrance is the only paradise out of which we cannot be driven away. Indeed our first parents were not to be deprived of it.
—Jean Paul (1763–1825) German Novelist, Humorist
Memory has the singular characteristic of recalling in a friend absent, as in a journey long past, only that which is agreeable.
—Charles Dudley Warner (1829–1900) American Essayist, Novelist
Come to me in the silence of the night,
Come to me in the speaking silence of a dream.
Come with soft rounded cheeks and eyes as bright as sunlight on a stream.
Come back in tears,
O memory, hope, love of finished years.
—Christina Rossetti (1830–94) English Poet, Hymn Writer
We are so constituted that we believe the most incredible things, and once they are engraved upon the memory, woe to him that endeavor to erase them.
—Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749–1832) German Poet
The memory of past favors is like a rainbow, bright, vivid, and beautiful; but it soon fades away. The in memory of injuries is engraved on the heart, and remains forever.
—Thomas Chandler Haliburton (1796–1865) Canadian Author, Humorist, Businessperson, Judge
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 Barber (b.1869) English Christian Author
One lives in the world’s memory only by what they have done in the world’s behalf.
One need not be a chamber to be haunted;
One need not be a house;
The brain has corridors surpassing
—Emily Dickinson (1830–86) American Poet
We consider ourselves as defective in memory, either because we remember less than we desire, or less than we suppose others to remember.
—Samuel Johnson (1709–84) British Essayist
We forget all too soon the things we thought we could never forget. We forget the loves and the betrayals alike, forget what we whispered and what we screamed, forget who we were.
—Joan Didion (1934–2021) American Essayist, Novelist, Memoirist
It is certain that memory contains not only philosophy, but all the arts and all that appertain to the use of life.
—Cicero (106BCE–43BCE) Roman Philosopher, Orator, Politician, Lawyer
That translucent alabaster of our memories.
—Marcel Proust (1871–1922) French Novelist
Footfalls echo in the memory
Down the passage which we did not take
Towards the door we never opened
Into the rose-garden.
My words echo
Thus, in your mind.
—George Eliot (Mary Anne Evans) (1819–80) English Novelist
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 (1608–61) English Cleric, Historian
If you tell the truth, you don’t have to remember anything.
—Mark Twain (1835–1910) American Humorist
Everybody needs his memories. They keep the wolf of insignificance from the door.
—Saul Bellow (1915–2005) Canadian-American Novelist
As with most fine things, chocolate has its season. There is a simple memory aid that you can use to determine whether it is the correct time to order chocolate dishes: any month whose name contains the letter A, E, or U is the proper time for chocolate.
—Sandra Boynton (b.1953) American Humorist
Of what significance are the things you can forget.
—Henry David Thoreau (1817–62) American Philosopher
Memory is life’s clock.
It is said that God gave us memory so we could have roses in winter. But it is also true that without memory we could not have self in any season. The more memories you have, the more you have. That is why, as Swift said, “No wise man ever wished to be younger.”
—George Will (b.1941) American Columnist, Journalist, Writer
Everyone blames his memory, but never his judgement.
Do not forget little kindnesses and do not remember small faults.
But each day brings its petty dust our soon-choked souls to fill, and we forget because we must, and not because we will.
—Matthew Arnold (1822–88) English Poet, Critic
There is no greater sorrow than to recall a happy time in the midst of wretchedness.
—Dante Alighieri (1265–1321) Italian Poet, Philosopher
A good storyteller is a person who has a good memory and hopes other people haven’t.
—Irvin S. Cobb (1876–1944) American Humorist, Short Story Writer, Columnist
When one is in trouble, one remembers God.
Nothing improves the memory more than trying to forget.
It is sadder to find the past again and find it inadequate to the present than it is to have it elude you and remain forever a harmonious conception of memory.
—F. Scott Fitzgerald (1896–1940) American Novelist
A retentive memory may be a good thing, but the ability to forget is the true token of greatness.
—Elbert Hubbard (1856–1915) American Writer, Publisher, Artist, Philosopher
O, Memory, thou bitter-sweet—both a joy and a scourge.
—Anne Louise Germaine de Stael (1766–1817) French Woman of Letters
Many a man fails to become a thinker for the sole reason that his memory is too good.
—Friedrich Nietzsche (1844–1900) German Philosopher, Scholar, Writer
The more a man can forget, the greater the number of metamorphoses which his life can undergo, the more he can remember the more divine his life becomes.
—Soren Kierkegaard (1813–55) Danish Philosopher, Theologian
A diplomat is a man who always remembers a woman’s birthday but never remembers her age.
—Robert Frost (1874–1963) American Poet
The memory is sometimes so retentive, so serviceable, so obedient-at others so bewildered and weak-and at others again, so tyrannic, so beyond control!
—Jane Austen (1775–1817) English Novelist
As memory may be a paradise from which we cannot be driven, it may also be a hell from which we cannot escape.
—John Lancaster Spalding (1840–1916) American Catholic Clergyman, Educator, Essayist, Biographer
A shared vision is not an idea. It is not even an important idea such as freedom. It is, rather, a force in people’s hearts, a force of impressive power… Shared vision is vital for the learning organization because it provides the focus and energy for learning.
—Peter Senge (b.1947) American Management Consultant, Author, Scientist
The struggle of man against power is the struggle of memory against forgetting.
—Milan Kundera (b.1929) Czech Novelist
Everyone complains of his lack of memory, but nobody of his want of judgement.
—Francois de La Rochefoucauld (1613–80) French Writer
We are made wise not by the recollection of our past, but by the responsibility for our future.
—George Bernard Shaw (1856–1950) Irish Playwright
Memory seldom fails when its office is to show us the tombs of our buried hopes.
—Marguerite Gardiner, Countess of Blessington (1789–1849) Irish Novelist, Writer
A habit of debt is very injurious to the memory.
—Austin O’Malley (1858–1932) American Aphorist, Ophthalmologist
You never know how much a man can’t remember until he is called as a witness.
—Will Rogers (1879–1935) American Actor, Rancher, Humorist
In memory everything seems to happen to music.
—Tennessee Williams (1911–83) American Playwright
To be remembered after we are dead, is but poor recompense for being treated with contempt while we are living.
—William Hazlitt (1778–1830) English Essayist
When you drink the water, remember the spring.
A good memory is one trained to forget the trivial.
—Clifton Fadiman (1904–99) American Author, Radio Personality