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“Seize the Day”

A Collection of Classic Poems on the Passage of Time


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The Latin phrase carpe diem—usually expressed in English as “seize the day” although its literal translation is “pluck the day” or “pick the day” as in gathering flowers—originates in the Odes of Horace (Book 1, No. 11):

carpe diem quam minimum credula postero
Seize the day and put no trust in the future
The sentiment carries with it an awareness of the passage of time, the fleeting nature of life, and the approach of death and decay, and its exhortation to take hold of the present moment, make the most of the time we have, and live life fully has resonated down the centuries in many poems. Here are a few of the classics:


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