List of sundial mottos

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Kilbirnie Auld Kirk, Kilbirnie, Ayrshire, Scotland.

Many sundials bear a motto[1] to reflect the sentiments of its maker or owner.

English mottos[edit]

  • Be as true to each other as this dial is to the sun.
  • Begone about Thy business.
  • Come along and grow old with me; the best is yet to be.[2]
  • Hours fly, Flowers die. New days, New ways, Pass by. Love stays.[3]
  • I only tell of sunny hours.
  • Let others tell of storms and showers, I tell of sunny morning hours.
  • Life is but a shadow: the shadow of a bird on the wing.
  • Self-dependent power can time defy, as rocks resist the billows and the sky.[4][5]
  • Time, like an ever-rolling stream, bears all its sons away.[5][6]

Latin mottos[edit]

Time flies[edit]

  • Hora fugit, ne tardes. (The hour flees, don't be late.)[7]
  • Ruit hora. (The hour is flowing away.)[7]
  • Tempus breve est. (Time is short.)[7]
  • Tempus fugit [velut umbra]. (Time flees [like a shadow].)[7][8]
  • Tempus volat, hora fugit. (Time flies, the hour flees.)[7]

Make use of time[edit]

  • Altera pars otio, pars ista labori. (Devote this hour to work, another to leisure.)[7]
  • Festina lente. (Make haste, but slowly.)[7]
  • [Fugit hora] – carpe diem. ([The hour flees] – seize the day.)[7]
  • Utere, non numera. (Use the hours, don't count them.)[7]
  • Utere non reditura. (Use the hour, it will not come again.)[7]

Human mortality[edit]

Martial's Pereunt et Imputantur on St Buryan's parish church, Cornwall
Horace's Umbra Sumus on Brick Lane Mosque, London
  • Ex iis unam cave. (Beware of one hour.)[7]
  • Lente hora, celeriter anni. (An hour passes slowly, but the years go by quickly.)[7]
  • Meam vide umbram, tuam videbis vitam. (Look at my shadow and you will see your life.)[7]
  • Memor esto brevis ævi. (Remember how short is life.)[7]
  • [Nobis] pereunt et imputantur. ([The hours] are consumed and will be charged [to our] account)[9]
  • Omnes vulnerant, ultima necat. (All hours wound; the last one kills.)[7]
  • [Pulvis et] umbra sumus. (We are [dust and] shadow.)[10]
  • Serius est quam cogitas. (It's later than you think.)[7]
  • Sic labitur ætas. (Thus passes a lifetime.)[7]
  • Sic vita fluit, dum stare videtur. (Life flows away as it seems to stay the same.)[7]
  • Ultima latet ut observentur omnes. (Our last hour is hidden from us, so that we watch them all.)[7]
  • Umbra sicut hominis vita. (A person's life is like a shadow.)[7]
  • Una ex his erit tibi ultima. (One of these [hours] will be your last.)[7]
  • Ver non semper viret. (Springtime does not last.)[7]
  • Vita fugit, sicut umbra (Life passes like the shadow.)
  • Vita similis umbræ. (Life resembles a shadow.)[7]

Transience[edit]

  • Tempus edax rerum. (Time devours things.)[7]
  • Tempus vincit omnia. (Time conquers everything.)[7]
  • Vidi nihil permanere sub sole. (I have seen that nothing under the sun endures).[7][11]

Virtue[edit]

  • Dum tempus habemus operemur bonum. (While we have time, let us do good.)[7]
  • Omnes æquales sola virtute discrepantes. (All hours are the same – they are distinguished only by good deeds.)[7]

Living[edit]

Horace's Dona præsentis cape lætus horæ ac linque severe on the Villa Vizcaya, Miami, Florida
Vita in motu on one of the sundials (right) at Houghton Hall, Norfolk, England
  • Amicis qualibet hora. (Any hour for my friends.)[7]
  • Dona præsentis cape lætus horæ [ac linque severe]. (Take the gifts of this hour.)[7][12]
  • Fruere hora. (Enjoy the hour.)[7]
  • Post tenebras spero lucem. (I hope for light to follow darkness.)[7]
  • Semper amicis hora. (Always time for friends.)
  • Sit fausta quæ labitur. (May the hour be favorable.)
  • Sol omnibus lucet. (The sun shines for everyone.)[7]
  • Tempus omnia dabit. (Time will give everything.)[7]
  • Una dabit quod negat altera. (One hour will give what another has refused.)[7]
  • Vita in motu. (Life is in motion.)[7]
  • Vivere memento. (Remember to live.)[7]

Humorous[edit]

  • Horas non numero nisi æstivas (I count only the summer hours)[13]
  • Horas non numero nisi serenas (I count only the sunny hours)
  • Nunc est bibendum (Now is the time to drink)[14]
  • Si sol deficit, respicit me nemo. (If the sun's gone, nobody looks at me)
  • Sine sole sileo. (Without the sun I fall silent.)

German mottos[edit]

  • Mach' es wie die Sonnenuhr; Zähl' die heitren Stunden nur! (Do like a sundial; count only the sunny hours!)

References[edit]

  1. ^ The plural of motto may be either mottoes or mottos.
  2. ^ From Robert Browning's poem Rabbi ben Ezra
  3. ^ From Henry van Dyke's Inscription for Katrina's Sun-Dial
  4. ^ From Oliver Goldsmith's poem The Deserted Village
  5. ^ a b Waugh 1973, p. 124
  6. ^ From Isaac Watts' hymn Our God, Our Help in Ages Past
  7. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z aa ab ac ad ae af ag ah ai aj ak Rohr 1965, pp. 127–129
  8. ^ http://www.collectif-paysans.org/tournevis/?p=640[dead link]
  9. ^ Martial, Epigrams, book V, ode xx, line 13
  10. ^ Horace, Odes, Book IV, ode vii, line 16
  11. ^ Ecclesiastes (Kohelet) Chapter 2, verse 11
  12. ^ Horace, Odes, Book III, ode iix, line 27
  13. ^ Probably unique to the William Willett memorial in Petts Wood, England, which shows British Summer Time
  14. ^ Horace, Odes, Book I, ode xxxvii, line 1

Bibliography[edit]

Further reading[edit]

  • Boursier, C (1936). 800 Devises de cadrans solaires (in French). Paris. 
  • Cross, L (1915). the Book of Old Sundials. illustrated by W Hogg. London: Foulis Press. 
  • Gatty, Mrs Alfred; Eden, HKF; Lloyd, E (1900). The Book of Sun-Dials (4th ed.). London: George Bell & Sons. 
  • Hyatt, AH (1903). A Book of Sundial Mottoes. New York: Scott-Thaw. 
  • Landon, P (1904). Helio-tropes, or new Posies for Sundials. London: Methuen. 
  • Leadbetter, C (1773). Mechanick Dialling. London: Caslon. 

Links[edit]