| Mottoes on sundials are a minor art form in themselves.
Many of them perhaps look on the more pessimistic side of life, but
there are plenty of others to suit every temperament. This list - in
no particular order - is given for your information and amusement; you
are encouraged to send an E-mail
if you would like to add others. Please give some indication of
the source if at all possible.
This page is concerned with mottoes in English. Our mottoesp.htm
page has a much longer list of mottoes in Latin, with translations in
Spanish. Among those sent in recently are
The assortment following is from a collection of more than 2000 mottoes
collected by sundial maker James Stewart, a whitesmith who worked in
Invercargill, New Zealand and made more than 200 sundials before his
death in 1933. (James Stewart was the great grandfather of Bruce Christie,
Palmerston North, New Zealand. (bruce @greenplant.co.nz) who kindly
supplied this collection.
- Light and shadow by turns, but love always
- Time and Tide Wait For No Man
- Aim Higher than the Mark (on the new sundial at Ashby)
- The shadow of my finger cast
Divides the future from the past;
Before it stands the unborn hour
In darkness and beyond thy power;
Behind its unreturning line
The vanished hour no longer thine;
One hour alone is in thy hand,
The now on which the shadow stands.
Brown - said to come from a sundial in Wellesley, Mass.
- t Slow comes the hour
Its passing speed how great
If you are the owner or know the whereabouts of any James Stewart sundials
Bruce would be very pleased to hear from you.
- A day may prime thee, improve this hour.
- Moved by the light.
- A stick in time saves mine.
- On this moment hangs eternity.
- To thee that mourn the hours are slow
But with joyful swiftly go.
- The gliding hour flies on its fitful wings.
- Come boys now's the hour.
- Learn ze, years pass by like running water.
- Snatch the present hour, fear the last.
- As a shadow such is life.
- Look at me and pass on.
- By the shadow shall I mark time.
- Be thankful, watch, pray and work.
- The sun who guides the heavenly bodies produces the shade.
- Come light visit me.
- Count all the hours lost which are not accompanied by some worthy
- With the shadow nothing, without the shadow nothing.
- To God alone be the glory.
- Learn to live and die well.
- The Lord is my light.
- Perhaps the last.
- Go your way into His courts with thanksgiving.
- Let the slight shadow teach thee wisdom
- Evil be to him who thinks evil thereof.
- I count bright hours only.
- I tell only sunny hours.
- I am a shadow, so art thou,
I mark the time, dost thou?
- Amidst the flowers I tell the hours.
- The clock the time may wrongly tell,
I never if the sun shines well.
- Time flies, eternity draws near.
- Lead kindly light.
- Let not the sun go down on your wrath.
- Let others tell of storms and showers,
I tell only sunny hours.
- Light is the shadow of God.
- Night comes when no man can work.
- Like a true fireman, I am always ready.
- He hath made his choice aright,
who counted but the hours of light.
- Till the day dawn and the shadows flee away.
- My time is in thy hand.
- Man wants but little here below,
nor wants that little wrong.
- Only as I abide in the light of heaven
do I fulfil the will of my maker.
- They pass by and are scorned.
- So passes the glory of the world.
- The sun guides me the shadows gone.
- Tak tent o'time, ere time be tint.
- Time passes as a shadow.
- Time flies, death urges, knells call, heaven invites.
- With warning hand I mark times rapid flight,
From life's glad morning to its solemn night.
Yet through the dear God's love, I also show,
There's light above me by the shade below.
- When thou dost look upon my face,
To learn the time of day:
Think how my shadow keeps its pace,
As thy life flies away.
Take, mortal this advice from me
And so resolve to spend
They life on earth, that heaven shall be
Thy home when time shall end.
- I stand amid the summer flowers
To tell the passage of the hours.
When winter steals the flowers away
I tell the passing of their day.
Man whose flesh is but as grass
Like summer flowers thy life shall pass
While time is thine lay up in store
And thou shalt live for evermore.
To end up in the wrong direction, these verses by Hilaire Belloc
have probably not been used on actual sundials, but express some of
the problems and indeed pathos of the sundials!
- In soft deluding lies let foools delight.
A shadow marks our days, which end in Night
- How slow the Shadow creeps; but when 'tis past
How fast the Shadows fall. How fast! How fast!
- Loss and Possession, Death and Life are one.
There falls no shadow where there shines no sun.
- Stealthy the silent hours advance, and still;
And each may wound you, and the last shall kill.
- Here in a lonely glade, forgotten, I
Mark the tremendous process of the sky.
So does your inmost soul, forgotten, mark
The Dawn, the Noon, the coming of the Dark.
- I that sitll point to one enduring star
Abandoned am, as all the Constant are.
- Save on the rare occasions when the Sun
Is shining, I am only here for fun
- I am a sundial, and I make a botch
Of what is done far better by a watch.
- I am a sundial, turned the wrong way round.
I cost my foolish mistress fifty pounds