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Jonathan Swift quotes on youth and age

Jonathan Swift was a keen observer of how people’s views and attitudes changed as they got older.

As a clergyman he was pleased to observe that men tended to get more virtuous with age; as a satirist, he was quick to see this as the dimming of physical desire rather than the emergence of any extra spirituality.

Swift was keenly aware of his own failing health as he got older, and dreaded the day that he would no longer be able to look after himself.

Cartoon illustration of shamrocks. Image copyright Ireland Calling

No preacher is listened to but time, which gives us the same train and turn of thought that elder people have in vain tried to put into our heads before.
* * *
The latter part of a man’s life is taken up in curing the follies, prejudices, and false opinions he had contracted in the former.
* * *

No wise man ever wished to be younger.

Jonathan Swift quote. No wise man ever wished to be younger. Image copyright Ireland Calling

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* * *
Invention is the talent of youth, and judgment of age.
* * *
Usually speaking, the worst bred person in company is a young traveller just returned from abroad.
* * *
Deaf, giddy, helpless, left alone,
To all my friends a burden grown;
No more I hear my church’s bell
Than if it rang out for my knell;
At thunder now no more I start
Than at the rumbling of a cart.
Cartoon illustration of shamrocks. Image copyright Ireland Calling
Observation is an old man’s memory.
* * *
When men grow virtuous in their old age, they are merely making a sacrifice to God of the Devil’s leavings.
* * *
Old men and comets have been reverenced for the same reason: their long beards, and pretences to foretell events.
* * *
Jonathan Swift quote. Every one desires to live long, but no one would be old. Image copyright Ireland Calling
* * *
She’s no chicken; she’s on the wrong side of thirty, if she be a day.
* * *
’T is happy for him that his father was before him.
* * *
I’m as old as my tongue and a little older than my teeth.

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