Time's Paces

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Time's Paces is a poem about the apparent speeding up of time as one gets older. It was written by Henry Twells (1823–1900) and published in his book Hymns and Other Stray Verses (1901). The poem was popularised by Guy Pentreath (1902–1985) in an amended version. Pentreath saw the poem Time's Paces attached to a clock case in the north transept of Chester Cathedral where it is to be seen today.[1] Recently the poem was even set to music.[2] Pentreath quoted his version of the poem in his last sermon at Wrekin College, Shropshire where he was headmaster till 1952.[3] His version then entered the public domain. Perhaps he wrote the poem down from memory and reconstructed it in the process. He may not have consciously intended to improve on Twells' version.

The poem as it appears in the book Hymns and Other Stray Verses (1901)

The last four lines of Pentreath's version were missed out in Whitrow's quotation in his book, The Natural Philosophy of Time and in some quotations in other books. The first sentence also begins with "For" as in "For when I was a babe . . ." This was added by Whitrow who may have received the poem orally or informally from Pentreath since he gives no reference source for the poem in his otherwise well referenced book.[4]

The two versions are shown here: