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The past but lives in written words: a thousand ages were blank if books had not evoked their ghosts, and kept the pale unbodied shades to warn us from fleshless lips.

It is not the literal past, the facts of history, that shape us, but images of the past embodied in language.
I never look back, I look forward.
If the past cannot teach the present and the father cannot teach the son, then history need not have bothered to go on, and the world has wasted a great deal of time.
To be able to look back upon one's past life with satisfaction is to live twice.
What you've done becomes the judge of what you're going to do especially in other people's minds. When you're traveling, you are what you are. People don't have your past to hold against you. No yesterdays on the road.
I tell you the past is a bucket of ashes, so live not in your yesterdays, no just for tomorrow, but in the here and now. Keep moving and forget the post mortems; and remember, no one can get the jump on the future.
We have seen better days.
The next day is never so good as the day before.
If you look back too much, you will soon be headed that way
The rewards in life go to those who are willing to give up the past
The Past -- the dark unfathomed retrospect! The teeming gulf --the sleepers and the shadows! The past! the infinite greatness of the past! For what is the present after all but a growth out of the past?
Nothing is improbable until it moves into past tense.
Think of your forefathers! Think of your posterity.
A safe but sometimes chilly way of recalling the past is to force open a crammed drawer. If you are searching for anything in particular you don't find it, but something falls out at the back that is often more interesting.
The true picture of the past flits by. The past can be seized only as an image which flashes up at the instant when it can be recognized and is never seen again.
The past grows gradually around one, like a placenta for dying.
Many are always praising the by-gone time, for it is natural that the old should extol the days of their youth; the weak, the time of their strength; the sick, the season of their vigor; and the disappointed, the spring-tide of their hopes.
The past is all holy to us; the dead are all holy; even they that were wicked when alive.
Mr. Meant-to has a friend, his name is Didn't-Do. Have you met them? They live together in a house called Never-Win. And I am told that it is haunted by the Ghost of Might-have-Been.
To look back to antiquity is one thing, to go back to it is another.
We are well advised to keep on nodding terms with the people we used to be, whether we find them attractive company or not. Otherwise they turn up unannounced and surprise us, come hammering on the mind's door at 4am of a bad night and demand to know who deserted them, who betrayed them, who is going to make amends. We forget all too soon the things we thought we could never forget.
We have to do with the past only as we can make it useful to the present and the future.
The free world must not prove itself worthy of its own past.
With memory set smarting like a reopened wound, a man's past is not simply a dead history, an outworn preparation of the present: it is not a repented error shaken loose from the life: it is a still quivering part of himself, bringing shudders and bitter flavors and the tinglings of a merited shame.
The historian looks backward. In the end he also believes backward.
There is no past that we can bring back by longing for it. There is only an eternally new now that builds and creates itself out of the Best as the past withdraws.
Look to the past for guidance into the future.
In the maxim of the past you cannot go anywhere.
We live in a world where amnesia is the most wished-for state. When did history become a bad word?
The past is a foreign country; they do things differently there.
Every man is his own ancestor, and every man his own heir. He devises his own fortune, and he inherits his own past.
If the only new thing we have to offer is an improved version of the past, then today can only be inferior to yesterday. Hypnotized by images of the past, we risk losing all capacity for creative change.
Clogged with yesterday's excess, the body drags the mind down with it.
Nothing changes more constantly than the past; for the past that influences our lives does not consist of what actually happened, but of what men believe happened.
The past, though it cannot be relived, can always be repaired.
Because men really respect only that which was founded of old and has developed slowly, he who wants to live on after his death must take care not only of his posterity but even more of his past.
They spend their time looking forward to the past.
The good of other times let people state; I think it lucky I was born so late.
Some are so very studious of learning what was done by the ancients that they know not how to live with the moderns.