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Carpe diem

Carpe diem is Latin for (approximately) "seize the day" or "enjoy the moment". This rule of life is found in the "Odes" (I, 11.8) of the Roman poet Horace (658 v. Chr.), where it reads:

Carpe diem quam minimum credula postero
("seize this day, never trust the next")

It is quoted accordingly either as a demand not to waste somebody's time with useless things, or as a justification for pleasure and joy of life with little fear for the future. This idea was popular in 16th and 17th-century English poetry, for example in Robert Herrick's To the Virgins, to Make Much of Time, which begins "Gather ye rosebuds while ye may". [1]

Among the Horation themes treated by Herrick was that of carpe diem, "seize the day", the famous motto of Odes 1.11. Another of Herrick's poems, His Age [1] includes the lines:

Ah Posthumus! Our years hence fly,
And leave no sound; nor piety,
Or prayers, or vow
Can keep the wrinkle from the brow -


A merry mind
Looks forward, scorns what's left behind;
Let's live, my Wickes, then, while we may
An here enjoy our holiday.

This theme is also recalled in the verses of English Victorian poet Tennyson, and in Andrew Marvell's To His Coy Mistress.

William Shakespeare also wrote a poem called Carpe Diem: [1]

O MISTRESS mine, where are you roaming?
O stay and hear! your true-love's coming
That can sing both high and low;
Trip no further, pretty sweeting,
Journeys end in lovers meeting -
Every wise man's son doth know.

What is love? 'tis not hereafter;
Present mirth hath present laughter;
What's to come is still unsure:
In delay there lies no plenty, -
Then come kiss me, Sweet-and-twenty,
Youth's a stuff will not endure.

Robin Williams' character as a teacher of a boys' boarding school in the film Dead Poets Society uses it:

But if you listen real close, you can hear them whisper their legacy to you. Go on, lean in. Listen, you hear it? - Carpe - hear it? - Carpe, carpe diem, seize the day boys, make your lives extraordinary.

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