Carpe diem

Carpe diem

"Carpe diem" is a phrase from a Latin poem by Horace (See ), and which occurs many times in modern English-language popular culture.

The phrase non-collige virgo rosas" ("gather, girl, the roses") appears at the end of the poem "De rosis nascentibus"" [ De rosis nascentibus] ", in a collection of the works of Virgil under the note "Hoc carmen scripsit poeta ignotus" ("This poem was written by an unknown poet").] (also called "Idyllium de rosis") attributed to Ausonius or Virgil. It encourages youth to enjoy life before it's too late.

Related but distinct is the expression "memento mori" ("remember that you are mortal"); indeed, "memento mori" is often used with some of the sense of "carpe diem". However, two major elements of "memento mori" are humility and repentance, neither of which figures prominently in the concept of "carpe diem".

In the "Epic of Gilgamesh", Siduri attempts to dissuade Gilgamesh in his quest for immortality, urging him to enjoy life as it is: "As for you, Gilgamesh, fill your belly with good things; day and night, night and day, dance and be merry, feast and rejoice. Let your clothes be fresh, bathe yourself in water, cherish the little child that holds your hand, and make your wife happy in your embrace; for this too is the lot of man."

In the Ecclesiastes (9,7-9)::7 "Go thy way, eat thy bread with joy, and drink thy wine with a merry heart; for God now accepteth thy works".:8 "Let thy garments be always white; and let thy head lack no ointment".:9 "Live joyfully with the wife whom thou lovest all the days of the life of thy vanity, which he hath given thee under the sun, all the days of thy vanity: for that is thy portion in this life, and in thy labour which thou takest under the sun".

Horace himself parodies the phrase in another of his poems, 'The town mouse and the country mouse'. He uses the phrase "carpe viam" meaning 'seize the road' to compare the two different attitudes to life of a person (or in this case, a mouse) living in a city and in the countryside.

Influence in Culture

Horace's influence is widespread in western culture as "the Greek and Roman "Classics" were part of the everyday pedagogy of prep schools, many universities and colleges, until they gradually began to decline "in emphasis" and "university influence" during the early twentieth century, when institutions of learning had to cope with the plethora of new subjects generated by advances in industry, the sciences, and research in the humanities. Latin and Greek language instruction, which were for centuries core fundamentals universally taught, which practices fell to the wayside save for the science naming needs of science and medicine, and so too did studies in the Classics, which became the narrow specialty field now usually known as Classical studies.

In literature

* In Darkly Dreaming Dexter the title character Dexter mistakenly translates carpe diem as meaning complain in daylight.
*This idea was popular among 16th and 17th-century poets. French poet Pierre de Ronsard for example, who wrote "Cueillez dès aujourd'hui les roses de la vie" ("Sonnets pour Hélène", 1578), or Robert Herrick, whose "To the Virgins, to Make Much of Time" begins with "Gather ye rosebuds while ye may". [ [ "To the Virgins, to Make Much of Time"] ]
*This theme is also recalled in the verses of English Victorian poet Tennyson, and in Andrew Marvell's famous "To His Coy Mistress".
* The 'O mistress mine' song sung by the clown in Act II, Scene iii of William Shakespeare's play "Twelfth Night" has been referred to as having the spirit of "carpe diem" in it because of the line 'Youth's a stuff will not endure', amongst others.
* In Shakespeare's Hamlet (act V scene ii), Hamlet observes that "There's a divinity that shapes our ends," and says a few words about how fate is inescapable. He concludes that "the readiness is all." In other words, a person should act now, or seize the moment, whether it seems favorable or not. As Horace says, we should not subject ourselves to augury.
* "Carpe diem" is also used to denote the theme of Christopher Marlowe's "The Passionate Shepherd to His Love".
* Saul Bellow's novella "Seize the Day" deals with this idea of living for the moment vs. worrying about the future.
* The phrase inspired the title of Terry Pratchett's 1998 book "Carpe Jugulum".
* The poem, To His Coy Mistress by Andrew Marvell is another example of Romantic carpe diem poetry.
* Title of a story by Argentinian writer Abelardo Castillo in the volume "Las maquinarias de la noche" (1992).
* Robert Frost wrote a poem entitled "Carpe Diem" considering but ultimately rejecting the idea.
* The title of the Dean Koontz novel "Seize the Night" is derived from the phrase.
* In the book "Herman Herraidersonns Big Adventure" the main character's sidekick "Action Jackson" uses Carpe Diem as his catchphrase. The word appears a total of 12 times throughout the 30 page book for children.
* In the book "Wise Children" by post-modernist Angela Carter carpe diem is a widely repeated moral of the protagonists Dora and Nora and their Grandmother.

In movies

* "Carpe diem"! Seize the day, boys! Make your lives extraordinary!" was used in the hit movie "Dead Poets Society" by Robin Williams's character, a film that explores the idea of "carpe diem" from the viewpoint of a classroom of young men at an all-boys boarding school, and is ranked #95 in AFI's 100 Years... 100 Movie Quotes.
* The phrase also appears, albeit less prominently, in a number of other movies, such as "Clueless", "Torque", "Waiting...", "Newsies", and "Out Cold".
* In the 2003 Oscar winning short film "Harvie Krumpet", Harvie, struggling against a series of unfortunate events, feels compelled to change his life after encountering the words beneath a statue of Horace.
* In the movie "Roxanne", Steve Martin elaborates on the phrase.
* One of the gang members from the movie "Death Sentence" has a tattoo on his neck that says Carpe Diem.
*In "The Ron Clark Story" Carpe Diem is one of Ron Clarks essential 55 rules for success in school.

*In the movie "Out Cold," Pigpen says, "Carpe Diem... seize the carp"

In music

*A number of songs are titled "Carpe Diem", including songs by Freya, Quo Vadis, Mostly Autumn, Alex Sandford, The Fugs, Metallica, Dream Theater, Ayreon, Nebula, Aesop Rock, Authority Zero, The Speaks, Bigod 20, Nena, Will Haven, YeLLOW Generation, The Nerve Agents, Elena Paparizou, MC Solaar, Martyr (Canada), Jehst, Jin Au-Yeung, Aldebert (France), Andy Timmons and Rodrigo Leão. Other songs include the phrase in their titles, such as Metallica's "Carpe Diem Baby". The phrase is also the title of some albums, such as one by Lara Fabian and also Baltimore/NY emcee Profound.
*Likewise, a number of songs are titled "Seize the Day", including songs by Demons & Wizards, Avenged Sevenfold, and Carolyn Arends, or include the phrase in their lyrics. Indeed, many songs include both "carpe diem" and "seize the day" in their lyrics, such as "Anthem" by Zebrahead.
*Part III of A Change of Seasons from the album of the same name by the progressive rock band Dream Theater is titled Carpe Diem.
*Will Haven's 3rd album was entitled Carpe Diem.


* A variation of the phrase, "carpe viam" ("seize the road"), is the motto of the online running club Dead Runners Society.
*In "The Simpsons" episode "Homer the Vigilante" Jimbo Jones is seen spray painting "carpe diem" on the wall
* A "Charmed" episode named "Carpe Demon" introduces a demon that has little time to live, and, in essence, is not worried about the future.
* In the "Buffy The Vampire Slayer" episode "Welcome to the Hellmouth" Buffy tells Willow 'Carpe diem' Buffy then goes on to explain that she should seize the day because 'tomorrow you might be dead.'
* An "Angel (TV Series)" episode named "Carpe Noctem (Angel episode)"" showed Angel's body stolen by an old man who wanted to relive his youth indefinitely via the souled vampire
* In "The Critic" episode "Sherman, Women and Child" Jeremy tells Jay "carpe canem" which means "seize the dog"
* On the World Wrestling Entertainment Pay-Per-View SummerSlam 2007, professional wrestler Triple H had the phrase displayed on the screen above his TitanTron video.
* In Dawson's Creek, Andie and Jack's father owns a boat called Carpe Diem.
* There is a Flying Spaghetti Monster spoof of the phrase: "carbo diem", possibly related to carbohydrate. [ [ Flyer image on FSM website] ]
* In the Garth Ennis series The Boys (comic book), Hughie exclaims "Carpe Bloody Diem, Boy" after getting up the nerves to ask Starlight out on a date.
* In Nintendo's Animal Crossing, when a Crucian Carp is Fished out of the water it reads "Carpe diem!"
* The most famous Greek Graffiti magazine is called 'Carpe Diem'
* On the television show "South of Nowhere" the character Aiden in response to buying a new motorcycle replies "carpe diem right?" which is followed by a paraphrase of the saying as he leaves school "carpe later".
* Australian cricketer Michael Clarke has Carpe Diem tattoed on his left forearm.
*Carpe Diem is the official motto of Montclair State University.
* On the Fuse TV show "Whitest Kids U Know" in a sketch involving Sam after getting killed with a nailgun and brought back to life he exclaims "Carpe diem, carpe diem!" to which the father replies "Hey! That's Latin!", comically arousing his suspicion of wrongdoing in his household.
* In a season 2 episode of King of the Hill, Peggy says Carpe Diam with her Spanish accent despite the phrase being Latin.
* Is the song when a try is scored during Superleague and has been used during their Sky coverage. It has as been used in the credits as well as when teams score a try. The song is by Edrenalin.
* In the series Eureka ( sci-fi ) there is a restaurant with the name "cafe diem"
* In the movie Mrs Doubtfire, Robin Williams quips "carpe dentum" as he is trying to retrieve his false teeth that fall into his drink.
* In Posiedon; Nelson speaks "Carpe Diem" at dinner before he tells his friends about the break-up between himself and his significant other over a 5,000 dollar bottle of wine.


Original usage from "Odes" 1.11, in Latin and English:


External links

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