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Second childhood   /sˈɛkənd tʃˈaɪldhˌʊd/   Listen
Second childhood

noun
1.
Mental infirmity as a consequence of old age; sometimes shown by foolish infatuations.  Synonyms: dotage, senility.






WordNet 3.0 © 2010 Princeton University








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"Second childhood" Quotes from Famous Books



... help what you thought," I answered, rudely, for I was getting desperate. "You've no right to keep me here like this, and it won't do you a bit of good, for if you stand there till we're both in our second childhood, I won't change my mind. You ought to know that now, Mr. ...
— Lady Betty Across the Water • Charles Norris Williamson and Alice Muriel Williamson

... sooner than the common herd decay. What bitter pangs must humble genius feel, In their last hour to view a Swift and Steele! How must ill-boding horrors fill their breast, When she beholds men, mark'd above the rest For qualities most dear, plung'd from that height, And sunk, deep sunk, in second childhood's night! Are men indeed such things? and are the best More subject to this evil than the rest, To drivel out whole years of idiot breath, And sit the monuments of living death? O galling circumstance to human pride! Abasing thought! but not to be deny'd. With curious art, the brain ...
— Mirror of Literature, Amusement, and Instruction, No. 276 - Volume 10, No. 276, October 6, 1827 • Various

... hen who desires to set for the purpose of getting out an early edition of spring chickens that I am averse to. It is the aged hen, who is in her dotage, and whose eggs, also, are in their second childhood. Upon this hen I shower my anathemas. Overlooked by the pruning hook of time, shallow in her remarks, and a wall-flower in society, she deposits her quota of eggs in the catnip conservatory, far from the haunts of men, and then in August, when eggs are extremely ...
— Remarks • Bill Nye

... project and transfuse itself into objects, that it is apt to speak of itself in the third person. A child seldom says, "I will," or "I am hungry," but "Louis wants," "Louis is hungry," or whatever his name may be. This phenomenon reappears in the second childhood of old age, when the power of reflection is weakened, and there is a reversion to the primitive animal condition. The same phenomenon also occurs in idiots, in whom there is a morbid defect of ...
— Myth and Science - An Essay • Tito Vignoli

... familiar phrase, denoting persons who have been always frivolous and childish, or those who have passed into second childhood. 'On the shelf' is a common saying of ladies when they are ...
— The Works of John Bunyan • John Bunyan

... ignorant fighting men,—that such a theory can be made to perish because one individual shall have been mastered. But no! The idea will still live, and in ages to come men will prosper and be strong, and thrive, unpolluted by the greed and cowardice of second childhood, because John Neverbend was at one ...
— The Fixed Period • Anthony Trollope

... comes out in that, as it does in the endless sacrifices, soma drinking, magical austerities, and puerile follies of Vedic and Brahmanic gods, the deities of a people fallen early into its sacerdotage and priestly second childhood. Thus race declares itself in the ultimate literary form and character of mythology, while the common savage basis and stuff of myths may be clearly discerned in the horned, and cannibal, and shape-shifting, and adulterous gods of Greece, of India, ...
— Custom and Myth • Andrew Lang

... while we look in vain for similar evidences that man has ever reached the summit of civilisation on this continent, or search, without our reward, for the path by which he has made the downward journey to his present condition of second childhood." ...
— The Prairie • J. Fenimore Cooper

... of humanity! A comical creature, surely, this Chinaman, the pantaloon of civilization. How useful he has been to us for our farces, our comic operas! This yellow baby, in his ample pinafore, who lived thousands of years ago, who has now passed into this strange second childhood. ...
— Idle Ideas in 1905 • Jerome K. Jerome

... were no other light the outlook would still be inspiring. It is well sometimes to ask ourselves what we were made to be—not these bodies which are clearly decaying—but these spirits which seem to grow younger with the passage of time. I have sometimes thought that the very idea of second childhood is itself a prophecy of the soul's eternal youth. Certain it is that we are the masters of the years. The oldest persons that we know are usually the youngest in their sympathies and ideals. Sorrow and opposition should ...
— The Ascent of the Soul • Amory H. Bradford

... narrow, cobbled path on Manhattan, with sewage oozing down the ditch in its center, which was still Fifth Avenue. It ran roughly along the same directions as old Broadway, not because there was no one who could read the yellowed old maps but because surveying was in its second childhood. There was a barge running between two ropes stretched across the Hudson, and this was The George Washington Bridge ferry. So, it was only a kink ...
— The Barbarians • John Sentry

... you, but terribly far away from your thoughts all the while. Still, you will be near. You will be very beautiful, Mary, riding up the trail through the pines, with all the scents of the evergreens blowing about you, and I—well, I must go back to a second childhood and play a ...
— Riders of the Silences • Max Brand

... nigh his second childhood now, judgin' by the way he acts sometimes. It was Isaiah of course! Who else would be walkin' around downstairs ...
— Mary-'Gusta • Joseph C. Lincoln

... Thankful?" he begged. "I know I'm an old codger, but I ain't in my second childhood, not yet. I—I'd try mighty hard to make you happy. I haven't got anybody of my own in the world. Neither have you—except this brother of yours, and, judgin' from his letter and what you say, HE won't take any care; he'll BE a care, that's all. I ain't rich, but I've got money enough to help ...
— Thankful's Inheritance • Joseph C. Lincoln

... just can't seem to keep out of it. It takes a hold on a man that I never could get away from; and when I reach my second childhood and the boys have turned me out, I reckon I'll potter along trying to look knowing and secretive, like the rest of the has-beens, letting on as if I still had a place inside. Lord, if I'd put in the energy at my business that I've frittered away on small politics! But ...
— In the Arena - Stories of Political Life • Booth Tarkington

... in D flat, played by Baby Hegner at St. James's Hall, we shall step across to Bond Street and behold "Le Petit Americain" dashing off his "Nocturne" on canvas. I sometimes wonder if I might have been made such an infant art prodigy, but when I was a lad public taste was not in its second childhood in matters of art patronage, nor was the forcing of children practised in the same manner ...
— The Confessions of a Caricaturist, Vol. 1 (of 2) • Harry Furniss

... there, properly cared for, surrounded by every comfort, contented—except in the black and violent crises which still swept her in recurrent storms—indeed, tranquil and happy; for through the troubled glimmer of departing reason, her eyes were already opening in the calm, unearthly dawn of second childhood. ...
— The Younger Set • Robert W. Chambers

... in the view of some of the great thinker's deepest admirers, might well have been less microscopic. The spectacle of a great mind losing itself at length in the feebleness of age, almost the imbecility of second childhood, might well, they consider, have been withdrawn from the vulgar gaze. "Yet," as the late Prof. Wallace most truly remarks, "for those who remember, amid the decline of the flesh, the noble spirit which inhabited it, it is a sacred privilege ...
— Morality as a Religion - An exposition of some first principles • W. R. Washington Sullivan

... full of song, Wise in all rhymes of blossom and of bud, Hath lost the early magic of his tongue, And hath no passion in his failing blood. Hear ye no sound of sobbing in the air? 'Tis his. Low bending in a secret lane, Late blooms of second childhood in his hair, He tries old magic, like a dotard mage; Tries spell and spell, to weep and try again: Yet not a daisy hears, and everywhere The hedgerow ...
— English Poems • Richard Le Gallienne

... company is sought by the young, to whom their conversation is considered an honour. Their advice is asked on all occasions, their words are listened to as oracles, and their occasional garrulity, nay even the second childhood often attendant on extreme old age, is never with the Indians a subject of ...
— Traditions of the North American Indians, Vol. 1 (of 3) • James Athearn Jones

... again. I have been wracking my brains in vain to remember what exactly DID happen yesterday. I feel as if it was all sunk oceans deep in sleep. I get so far—and then I'm done. It won't give up a hint. But you really mustn't think I'm an invalid, or—or in my second childhood. The truth is,' he added, 'it's only my FIRST, come back again. But now that I've got so far, now that I'm really better, I—' He broke off rather vacantly, as if afraid of his own confidence. 'I must be getting on,' he summed up with an effort, 'and that's the solemn fact. I keep ...
— The Return • Walter de la Mare

... the roe: When hath the roe those lively lovely limbs * Or honey dews those lips alone bestow? Those eyne, soul piercing eyne, which slay with love, * Which bind the victim by their shafts laid low? My heart to second childhood they beguiled * No wonder: love sick-man ...
— The Book of the Thousand Nights and a Night, Volume 1 • Richard F. Burton

... which, with the microscope, may be detected the hairs of missionary martyrs. In fine weather, of course, these attractions would be advertised in vain; but the fact is, our whole community has been reduced by the cruelty of the elements to a sort of second childhood; the rain which permeates everything is softening ...
— Some Private Views • James Payn

... and poured forth like water! Neither do we remember all the steps, marked by desolation, crime, and bloodshed, by which this barren summit has been reached. Take the history of any civilized state,—England, France, Spain before she rotted back into second childhood, the Italian Republics, the Greek Commonwealths, the Empress of the Seven Hills—what struggles, what persecutions, what crimes, what massacres! Where, in the page of history, shall we look back and say, 'Here improvement has diminished the sum of evil'? ...
— Alice, or The Mysteries, Book VI • Edward Bulwer Lytton

... years comes maturity of mind, and body and mind are vigorous and in their prime. As old age comes on and the bodily functions decay, the mind decays also, until age passes into senility, and body and mind sink into second childhood. Has the immortal spirit decayed with the organisation, or is it dwelling in sorrow, bound in its 'house of clay'? If this be so, the 'spirit' must be unconscious, or else separate from the very individual whose essence it is supposed to be, for the old man does not ...
— Annie Besant - An Autobiography • Annie Besant

... either from the German Lenores or the English Otrantos. And so it is with the novelists of the Elizabethan age. Renouncing the traditions of the older romance, which was adult and perfect a hundred years before in Malory, but had now fallen into a second childhood, and determined on the creation of a new and genuine form of literary expression, they paid the price of originality in the vein of childishness that ...
— Pastoral Poetry and Pastoral Drama - A Literary Inquiry, with Special Reference to the Pre-Restoration - Stage in England • Walter W. Greg

... nearly their whole time. As they advance in years, the necessity for sleep; however, diminishes, until they come to maturity, when it remains for many years nearly stationary. In advanced age, the necessity for sleep again increases, till we reach the extremest old age, or what is usually called second childhood, when we again sometimes sleep nearly the ...
— The Young Mother - Management of Children in Regard to Health • William A. Alcott

... his Fancy, as the most charming he had ever possess'd in all the long Race of his numerous Years. At this Character, his old Heart, like an extinguish'd Brand, most apt to take Fire, felt new Sparks of Love, and began to kindle; and now grown to his second Childhood, long'd with Impatience to behold this gay Thing, with whom, alas! he could but innocently play. But how he should be confirm'd she was this Wonder, before he us'd his Power to call her to Court, (where Maidens never came, unless for the King's private Use) he was ...
— The Works of Aphra Behn - Volume V • Aphra Behn

... Roman candles, and the Chinese wheel, are to them the sights of superior interest, and furnish them with all their petty emotions. So is it with nations, as with men who have passed the age of their strength, and reached the period of senility and second childhood. ...
— The War Trail - The Hunt of the Wild Horse • Mayne Reid

... Boys and Girls flock Row by Row; From their Cloaths the Pins they take, Risque a Whipping for his sake; From their Frocks the Pins they pull, To fill Namby's Cushion full. So much Wit at such an Age, Does a Genius great presage. Second Childhood gone and past, Shou'd he prove a Man at last, What must Second Manhood be, In a ...
— A Learned Dissertation on Dumpling (1726) • Anonymous

... peculiar way in which they calculate ages. Why! they are quite an age behind the present generation—at least, the generation of men—for a man is, figuratively, said, as he grows older, to approach into his second childhood, but a woman does so literally, inasmuch as she becomes every year one year younger—a rejuvenating process, by which, if she lived long enough, she would ultimately reach the happy period when she was carried about in long clothes, and took a tenacious delight, peculiar to babies, in pulling ...
— Harper's New Monthly Magazine, Vol. 2, No. 8, January, 1851 • Various

... his foot and thus restored their function. It is interesting to follow the career of Proclus, the last rector of the Neoplatonic School, "whose life," says Gibbon, "with that of his scholar Isidore, composed by two of their most learned disciples, exhibits a most deplorable picture of the second childhood of human reason." By long fasting and prayer Proclus pretended to possess the supernatural power of expelling ...
— Outlines of Greek and Roman Medicine • James Sands Elliott

... loses its bloom, his strength declines, his wit becomes less pungent, until at last weary old age succeeds, which would be absolutely unbearable, unless folly, in pity for such grievous miseries, gave relief by bringing on a second childhood. Nature herself has kindly provided for an abundant supply of folly in the human race, for since, according to the Stoic definition, wisdom means only being guided by reason; whereas folly, on the other hand, consists ...
— History of English Humour, Vol. 1 (of 2) - With an Introduction upon Ancient Humour • Alfred Guy Kingan L'Estrange

... care for compliments," she said, "even when they are sincere. As for my youthful appearance, I am old enough to have reached the age of discretion, and not so old as to have fallen into my second childhood." ...
— Jack's Ward • Horatio Alger, Jr.

... I do not know, for I left the spot as quickly as possible, making an inward resolution to avoid all picnics in the future till I should arrive at my second childhood. ...
— The Wit of Women - Fourth Edition • Kate Sanborn

... he said. "Glad to see you again. I won't offer to shake hands—mine are covered with glue." He smiled in the whimsical humorous way that always went straight to another man's heart. "We're all returning to our second childhood up here, you see!" He indicated the model. "This is my device for keeping out of mischief. When finished I hope it will fill a similar role for the benefit ...
— The Long Trick • Lewis Anselm da Costa Ritchie

... charge of her, if she is overtaken by her second childhood whilst he is there. Meanwhile, she is in charge of herself, is she not? And there is hardly any danger ...
— The Irrational Knot - Being the Second Novel of His Nonage • George Bernard Shaw

... father? Where's her mother? Who's her lover? You cannot imagine how this will occupy me. The more trifling, the better. My imprisonment has weakened me intellectually to such a degree that I find your epistolary gifts quite considerable. I am passing into my second childhood. In a week or two I shall take to India rubber rings and prongs of coral. A silver cup, with an appropriate inscription, would be a delicate attention on your part. In the mean ...
— Marjorie Daw • Thomas Bailey Aldrich

... joy of your crew. A secret drinker like Plant, for instance! And your friend Bonaday, in his second childhood—" ...
— Brother Copas • Sir Arthur Thomas Quiller-Couch



Words linked to "Second childhood" :   years, geezerhood, old age, eld, age



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