A list of common memento mori, literally “remember death”, short phrases to remind you that life is short & precious.

Tempus fugit – time flies.

Carpe diem – seize the day.

Dust to dust – shortened from Genesis 3:19 – “By the sweat of your brow you will eat your food until you return to the ground, since from it you were taken; for dust you are and to dust you will return.”

Et in arcadia ego – the title of a 1637 painting by Nicolas Poussin. Literally “Even in Arcadia, there am I” where “I” is death.

Ubi sunt – where are they?

Where are those who were before us,
who led hounds and bore hawks,
And owned field and wood? 
The rich ladies in their chambers,
Who wore gold in their hair,
With their bright faces; ...

Gather ye rosebuds while ye may – the title of a 1909 painting by John William Waterhouse

Gather ye rosebuds while ye may,
Old Time is still a-flying;
And this same flower that smiles today,
Tomorrow will be dying.

Sic transit gloria mundi – Thus passes worldly glory. A phrase used in papal coronation ceremonies in the 1400’s.

Memento mori – Remember death.

3 replies on “Vanitas”

I love Waterhouse – especially this painting and meaning behind it… as well as Victor Frankl (and you)

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