Tempus Fugit

As part of our relocation to the Boston area, we bought an old Victorian style house that was built in 1900. It has been a learning experience, because houses of that age have entire histories of construction, renovation, upkeep, and decline.

The fireplace in the living room has old tilework around it, which is original to the house. During prior renovations, the line of previous owners thankfully left this unique bit unchanged. At the top center of the tilework are winged cherubs holding a banner that reads, tempus fugit.

We looked up this phrase with the help of Google, and we found that it is translated as “time flies.” It originates with Virgil, in his Georgics, as tempus inreparabile fugit, or “it escapes, irretrievable time.” Wikipedia has an entire page for this phrase (link).

This old house has stood for 122 years. In time, we hope to learn more about the series of prior owners. Though “caretakers” may be a better term for those who reside in a place that quietly outlasts them. I can imagine that they also pondered this bit of Latin in their day, just as I am in mine. And while I cannot precisely articulate the layers, it seemed somewhat poetic that a place that will outlive us all speaks of time’s relentless and irresistible flow.

It summons to mind Robin Williams, in Dead Poets Society, standing before a wall of photographs — young men, now gone — who whisper to the boys a similar Latin incantation. Yet I must admit that Williams was not the first association to arise; Fitzgerald murmured first:

So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.

F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby, 1925


  1. Dear Matt,

    Hello! I am delighted that you are posting again. It has been a while.

    I remember that “Carpe diem” or “Seize the day” is the catchphrase or slogan in the movie “Dead Poets Society”, in which “John Keating, a progressive English teacher, tries to encourage his students to break free from the norm, go against the status quo and live life unapologetically.”

    Apart from “Dead Poets Society”, I love other similar movies depicting unconventional teachers or mentors, such as “A Man without a Face”, “Good Will Hunting”, “Finding Forrester”, “Mr Holland’s Opus”, “Patch Adam”, “Awakenings” and the like.

    Wishing you and your family a wonderfully productive week doing or enjoying whatever that satisfies you the most!

    Happy Independence Day to you and your family!

    Yours sincerely,

    Liked by 1 person

    • You mentioned several of my favorite films there. I’m one of those repetitive people who can watch the same movies over and over. I’ve probably seen Good Will Hunting and Finding Forrester about a hundred times each.

      Happy 4th. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • Dear Matt,

        I can see that we have similar taste in both movies and morality. Apart from missing your well-written posts and piquant words, I have also missed your presence on my blog and the pleasure of perusing your comments there.

        Yours sincerely,

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Fun artifact. My husband and I moved into a house with a name over the door, the Blunderstone Rookery, 26 years ago. As I’m sure you will, we’ve enjoyed learning about our house’s various residents and colorful history.

    Liked by 2 people

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

SoundEagle 🦅ೋღஜஇ

Where The Eagles Fly . . . . Art Science Poetry Music & Ideas

Michael Seidel, writer

Science fiction, fantasy, mystery and what-not

cas d'intérêt

Reflections of a Francophile

Two Wheels Across Texas

My Quest to ride through all 254 Texas Counties

She Seeks Nonfiction

A skeptic's quest for books, science, & humanism

Uncommon Sense

I don’t want to start a class war; it started a long time ago and, unfortunately, we lost.

%d bloggers like this: