Death
permanent cessation of vital functions
Death is the permanent cessation of all biological functions that sustain a living, physical organism. Death may refer to the end of life as either an event or condition. In many cultures and in the arts, death is considered a being or otherwise personified, wherein it is usually capitalized as "Death".
There is no Death! What seems so is transition; This life of mortal breath Is but a suburb of the life elysian, Whose portal we call Death. ~ Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
If we kept in mind that we will soon inevitably die, our lives would be completely different. If a person knows that he will die in a half hour, he certainly will not bother doing trivial, stupid, or, especially, bad things during this half hour. Perhaps you have half a century before you die — what makes this any different from a half hour? ~ Leo Tolstoy
How can you refute God that you were without life and He gave you life? Again, He will cause you to die and again bring you to life, then you shall be brought back to Him. ~ Quran
No soul can die except by God's permission ~ Quran
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Death gives meaning to life. Living in fear of death is living in denial. Actually, it's not really living at all, because there is no life without death. It's two sides of the one.
50 Cent and Kris Ex, From Pieces to Weight: Once Upon a Time in Southside Queens (2005)
A
The bitter, yet merciful, lesson which death teaches us is to distinguish the gold from the tinsel, the true values from the worthless chaff. ~ Felix Adler
Every breath you take is a step towards death. ~ Ali
Death is a friend of ours; and he that is not ready to entertain him is not at home. ~ Francis Bacon
Men fear death, as children fear to go in the dark; and as that natural fear in children is increased with tales, so is the other. ~ Francis Bacon
Death is a black camel, which kneels at the gates of all.
Abd-el-Kader, as reported in The Cyclopædia of Practical Quotations edited by Jehiel Keeler Hoyt (1882), p. 79
Call no man happy till he is dead.
Æschylus, Agamemnon, 938. Earliest reference. Also in Sophocles—Trachiniæ, and Œdipus Tyrannus
It is written that the last enemy to be vanquished is death. We should begin early in life to vanquish this enemy by obliterating every trace of the fear of death from our minds. Then can we turn to life and fill the whole horizon of our souls with it, turn with added zest to all the serious tasks which it imposes and to the pure delights which here and there it affords.
Felix Adler, Life and Destiny (1913), Section 8: Suffering and Consolation
Let us learn from the lips of death the lessons of life. Let us live truly while we live, live for what is true and good and lasting. And let the memory of our dead help us to do this. For they are not wholly separated from us, if we remain loyal to them. In spirit they are with us. And we may think of them as silent, invisible, but real presences in our households.
Felix Adler, Life and Destiny (1913), Section 8: Suffering and Consolation
The bitter, yet merciful, lesson which death teaches us is to distinguish the gold from the tinsel, the true values from the worthless chaff.
The terrible events of life are great eye-openers. They force us to learn that which it is wholesome for us to know, but which habitually we try to ignore — namely, that really we have no claim on a long life; that we are each of us liable to be called off at any moment, and that the main point is not how long we live, but with what meaning we fill the short allotted span — for short it is at best.
Felix Adler, Life and Destiny (1913), Section 8: Suffering and Consolation
Only that Teaching which contains all hope, which makes life beautiful, which manifests action, can promote true evolution. Certainly life is not a market, where one can make a fine bargain for entrance into the Heavenly Kingdom. Certainly life is not a grave, where one trembles before the justice of an Unknown Judge! In keeping with their opinion, scholars have proposed the ingenious consolation: “Man begins to die from the moment of his birth”—a scanty and funereal comfort. But We say that man is eternally being born, and particularly at the moment of so-called death. The servitors of distorted religions encourage their wards in the purchase of places in the cemetery, where through their advance arrangements they will lie more advantageously and honorably than others more indigent and hence undeserving of lengthy prayers. The incense for these poor ones will be adulterated and the prayers abominably sung. Ask people, finally, what authentic Teaching has enjoined this monstrous practice? Verily, we have had enough of graves, cemeteries, and intimidations! 334.
Agni Yoga, Leaves of Morya’s Garden II, (1925)
One may know how loftily the Teachers have regarded the transition to future manifestations, and least of all have They been concerned about a cemetery site. The attitude toward death is a very important indicator of the character of the Teaching, for in it is contained the understanding of reincarnation. I urge you to consider reincarnation strictly scientifically. If you can propound any other structure of the universe, We shall reserve for you a chair as professor of theology and promise you a first-class funeral; for indeed in the eyes of the enlightened you will have already decided to die. Read attentively the writings of the Teachers published by you, and you will be amazed at how unanimously in all ages They speak about the change of life. The Path of Light will appear when you venture to look scientifically and without prejudices.
Agni Yoga, Leaves of Morya’s Garden II, (1925)
But when the sun in all his state,
Illumed the eastern skies,
She passed through glory's morning gate,
And walked in Paradise.
James Aldrich, A Death Bed, as reported in Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922)
Somewhere, in desolate, wind-swept space,
In twilight land, in no man's land,
Two hurrying shapes met face to face
And bade each other stand.
"And who are you?" cried one, a-gape,
Shuddering in the glimmering light.
"I know not," said the second shape,
"I only died last night."
Thomas Bailey Aldrich, Identity, as reported in Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922)
The white sail of his soul has rounded
The promontory—death.
William Alexander, The Icebound Ship, as reported in Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922)
Every breath you take is a step towards death.
Ali, Nahj al-Balagha, Sayings: 74
Oh Gilgamec! Enlil, the Great Mountain, the father of gods, has made kingship your destiny, but not eternal life -- lord Gilgamec, this is how to interpret the dream. [The end] of life should not make you feel sad, should not make you despair, should not make you feel depressed. You must have been told that this is what the bane of being human involves. You must have been told that this is what the cutting of your umbilical cord involved. The darkest day of humans awaits you now. The solitary place of humans awaits you now. The unstoppable flood-wave awaits you now. The unavoidable battle awaits you now. The unequal struggle awaits you now. The skirmish from which there is no escape awaits you now. But you should not go to the underworld with heart knotted in anger.
Anonymous, The Death of Gilgamesh, version from Nibru, Electronic Text Corpus of Sumerian Literature.
In its flight from death, the craving for permanence clings to the very things sure to be lost in death.
Hannah Arendt, Love and Saint Augustine (1929), edited by Joanna Vecchiarelli Scott and Judith Chelius Stark (Chicago: 1996), p. 17
Your lost friends are not dead, but gone before,
Advanced a stage or two upon that road
Which you must travel in the steps they trod.
Aristophanes, Fragment, II; translation by Cumberland, as reported in Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922)
He who died at Azan sends
This to comfort all his friends:
Faithful friends! It lies I know
Pale and white and cold as snow;
And ye say, "Abdallah's dead!"
Weeping at the feet and head.
I can see your falling tears,
I can hear your sighs and prayers;
Yet I smile and whisper this:
I am not the thing you kiss.
Cease your tears and let it lie;
It was mine—it is not I.
Edwin Arnold, He Who Died at Azan, as reported in Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922)
Her cabin'd ample spirit,
It fluttered and fail'd for breath;
Tonight it doth inherit
The vasty hall of death.
Matthew Arnold, Requiescat, as reported in Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922)
Our bodies are prisons for our souls. Our skin and blood, the iron bars of confinement. But fear not. All flesh decays. Death turns all to ash. And thus, death frees every soul.
Darren Aronofsky, in lines for the Grand Inquisitor Silecio, in The Fountain
It is not death that a man should fear, but never beginning to live.
Marcus Aurelius, Meditations
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The fittest place where man can die
Is where he dies for man. ~ Michael J. Barry
Another fear which induces mankind to regard death as a calamity, is...the fear of hell, the imposition of penalties, usually out of all proportion to the errors of a life-time, and the terrors imposed by an angry God... There is, as you well know, no angry God, no hell, and no vicarious atonement. There is only a great principle of love animating the entire universe... ~ Alice Bailey
For the average good citizen, death is a continuance of the living process in his consciousness and a carrying forward of the interests and tendencies of the life... For the wicked and cruelly selfish... there eventuates that condition which we call "earth-bound"... ~ Alice Bailey
Much good will be brought about through the growing custom to cremate those forms which the indwelling life has vacated; when it is an universal custom, we shall see a definite minimising of disease, leading to longevity and increased vitality... It is wise, however, to wait twelve hours in order to ensure true death. ~ Alice Bailey
Death is only a change that gives the soul a partial liberation, releasing him from the heaviest of his chains... Death is the greatest of earth's illusions; there is no death, but only changes in life-conditions... ~ Annie Besant
The theosophical view is really older than any religion, because it is natural to man. It was held as the truest thought by the Hindus and Egyptians and Greeks - to name but a few in ancient times - that death is simply a longer sleep than that we experience every night of our lives, after which the soul wakes again in a new body... ~H.P. Blavatsky
If we consider hell and heaven to be states of mind instead of places, it is easy to see the reason for such ideas. For each man, in the course of his normal living, enters periodically into states of great happiness and great unhappiness, and further more, while he is in them, he is apt to forget everything else... ~ H.P. Blavatsky
The fear of death is worse than death. ~ Robert Burton
Death, so called, is a thing which makes men weep,
And yet a third of life is pass'd in sleep. ~ Lord Byron
The main avenue, Rawdon Crematorium
Death is a friend of ours; and he that is not ready to entertain him is not at home.
Francis Bacon, An Essay on Death published in The Remaines of the Right Honourable Francis Lord Verulam (1648) but may not have been written by Bacon
Men fear death, as children fear to go in the dark; and as that natural fear in children is increased with tales, so is the other.
Francis Bacon, Essays, 2, 'Of Death'
It is worthy the observing, that there is no passion in the mind of man, so weak, but it mates, and masters, the fear of death; and therefore, death is no such terrible enemy, when a man hath so many attendants about him, that can win the combat of him. Revenge triumphs over death; love slights it; honor aspireth to it; grief flieth to it; fear preoccupieth it.
Francis Bacon, Essays (1625), Of Death
I have often thought upon death, and I find it the least of all evils.
Francis Bacon, An Essay on Death
Pompa mortis magis terret quam mors ipsa.
The pomp of death alarms us more than death itself.
Quoted by Francis Bacon as from Seneca, as reported in Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922)
It is as natural to die as to be born; and to a little infant, perhaps, the one is as painful as the other.
Francis Bacon, Essays, Of Death, as reported in Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922)
What then remains, but that we still should cry
Not to be born, or being born to die.
Ascribed to Francis Bacon; paraphrase of a Greek epigram, as reported in Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922)
Death is the easiest of all things after it, and the hardest of all things before it.
Abu Bakr, Abdul Jaleel Qureshi
The next two hundred years will see the abolition of death, as we now understand that great transition, and the establishing of the soul's existence. The soul will be known as an entity, as the motivating impulse, and the spiritual centre back of all manifested forms. . . . Our essential immortality will be demonstrated and realised to be a fact in nature.
Alice Bailey, Esoteric Psychology II, p. 96 (1936)
I speak about Death as one who knows... There is no death. There is... entrance into fuller life. There is freedom from the handicaps of the fleshly vehicle. The rending process so much dreaded does not exist, except in the cases of violent and of sudden death, and then the only true disagreeables are an instant and overwhelming sense of imminent peril and destruction, and something closely approaching an electric shock. No more... For the average good citizen, death is a continuance of the living process in his consciousness and a carrying forward of the interests and tendencies of the life. His consciousness and his sense of awareness are the same and unaltered. He does not sense much difference, is well taken care of, and oft is unaware that he has passed through the episode of death. For the wicked and cruelly selfish, for the criminal and for those few who live for the material side only, there eventuates that condition which we call "earth-bound". The links they have forged with earth and the earthward bias of all their desires, force them to remain close to the earth and their last setting in the earth environment. They seek desperately and by every possible means to re-contact it and to re-enter. In a few cases, great personal love for those left behind or the non-fulfilment of a recognised and urgent duty, holds the good and beautiful in a somewhat similar condition.
Alice Bailey, The Way of the Disciple (1934) p. 300/1
The young forget, and rightly forget, the inevitability of that final symbolic detachment which we call Death. But when life has played its part, and age has taken its toll of interests and strength, the tired and world-weary man has no fear of the detaching process, and seeks not to hold on to that which earlier was desired. He welcomes death, and relinquishes willingly that which earlier engrossed his attention.
Alice Bailey, Esoteric Psychology II, (1941) p. 76
Death, as the human consciousness understands it, pain and sorrow, loss and disaster, joy and distress, are only such because man, as yet, identifies himself with the life of the form and not with the life and consciousness of the soul...
Alice Bailey, Esoteric Psychology II, (1941) p. 76
With that inner conviction (of immortality), we face death, and we know that we shall live again, that we come and we go, and that we persist because we are... the controllers of our own destiny. We know that we have set ourselves a goal, and that the goal is "Life more abundantly" - somewhere, here, there, and eventually everywhere... The spirit in man is undying; it forever endures, progressing from point to point, and stage to stage upon the Path of Evolution, unfolding steadily and sequentially the divine attributes and aspects... The immortality of the human soul, and the innate ability of the spiritual, inner man to work out his own salvation under the Law of Rebirth, in response to the Law of Cause and Effect, are the underlying factors governing all human conduct and all human aspiration. They condition him at all times, until he has achieved the desired and the designed perfection, and can manifest on earth as a rightly functioning son of God.
Alice Bailey, The Reappearance of the Christ, p. 146/147, (1947)
Another fear which induces mankind to regard death as a calamity, is one which theological religion has inculcated, particularly the Protestant fundamentalists, and the Roman Catholic Church - the fear of hell, the imposition of penalties, usually out of all proportion to the errors of a life-time, and the terrors imposed by an angry God. To these man is told he will have to submit, and from them there is no escape, except through the vicarious atonement. There is, as you well know, no angry God, no hell, and no vicarious atonement. There is only a great principle of love animating the entire universe... As these erroneous ideas die out, the concept of hell will fade from man's recollection, and its place will be taken by an understanding of the law which makes each man work out his own salvation upon the physical plane, which leads him to right the wrongs which he may have perpetrated in his lives on Earth, and which enables him eventually to "clean his own slate".
Alice Bailey, A Treatise on the Seven Rays: Volume 4: Esoteric Healing (1953) p. 393
The problem of death or the art of dying. This is something which all seriously ill people must inevitably face, and for which those in good health should prepare themselves, through correct thinking and sane anticipation. The morbid attitude of the majority of men to the subject of death, and their refusal to consider it when in good health, is something which must be altered and deliberately changed. Christ demonstrated to His disciples the correct attitude, when referring to His coming and immediate decease at the hand of His enemies; He chided them when they evidenced sorrow... The fear and the morbidness which the subject of death usually evokes, and the unwillingness to face it with understanding, are due to the emphasis which people lay upon the fact of the physical body, and the facility with which they identify themselves with it; it is based also upon an innate fear of loneliness, and the loss of the familiar. ... After death... the man finds on the other side of the veil those whom he knows, and who have been connected with him in physical plane life, and he is never alone as human beings understand loneliness; he is also conscious of those still in physical bodies; he can see them, he can tune in on their emotions, and also upon their thinking, for the physical brain, being non-existent, no longer acts as a deterrent.
Alice Bailey, A Treatise on the Seven Rays: Volume 4: Esoteric Healing (1953) p. 391/3
Much good will be brought about through the growing custom to cremate those forms which the indwelling life has vacated; when it is an universal custom, we shall see a definite minimising of disease, leading to longevity and increased vitality. p. 249
If delay is necessary from family feeling or municipal requirements, cremation should follow death within thirty-six hours; where no reason for delay exists, cremation can be rightly permitted in twelve hours. It is wise, however, to wait twelve hours in order to ensure true death. p.485
Alice Bailey in Esoteric Healing, (1953)
Life hath more awe than death.
Philip James Bailey, Festus (1839), scene Wood and Water
Death is the universal salt of states;
Blood is the base of all things — law and war.
Philip James Bailey, Festus (1839), scene A Country Town
The death-change comes.
Death is another life. We bow our heads
At going out, we think, and enter straight
Another golden chamber of the king's,
Larger than this we leave, and lovelier.
And then in shadowy glimpses, disconnect,
The story, flower-like, closes thus its leaves.
The will of God is all in all. He makes,
Destroys, remakes, for His own pleasure, all.
Philip James Bailey, Festus (1813), scene Home
So fades a summer cloud away;
So sinks the gale when storms are o'er;
So gently shuts the eye of day;
So dies a wave along the shore.
Anna Letitia Barbauld, The Death of the Virtuous, as reported in Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922)
To me the honour is sufficient of belonging to the universe — such a great universe, and so grand a scheme of things. Not even Death can rob me of that honour. For nothing can alter the fact that I have lived; I have been I, if for ever so short a time. And when I am dead, the matter which composes my body is indestructible — and eternal, so that come what may to my 'Soul,' my dust will always be going on, each separate atom of me playing its separate part — I shall still have some sort of a finger in the pie. When I am dead, you can boil me, burn me, drown me, scatter me — but you cannot destroy me: my little atoms would merely deride such heavy vengeance. Death can do no more than kill you.
W. N. P. Barbellion (Bruce Frederick Cummings), in The Journal of a Disappointed Man (1920)
It is only the dead who do not return.
Bertrand Barère, speech (1794), as reported in Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922)
When we come to die, we shall be alone. From all our worldly possessions we shall be about to part. Worldly friends — the friends drawn to us by our position, our wealth, or our social qualities, — will leave us as we enter the dark valley. From those bound to us by stronger ties — our kindred, our loved ones, children, brothers, sisters, and from those not less dear to us who have been made our friends because they and we are the friends of the same Saviour, — from them also we must part. Yet not all will leave us. There is One who "sticketh closer than a brother" — One who having loved His own which are in the world loves them to the end.
Albert Barnes, as reported in, Dictionary of Burning Words of Brilliant Writers (1895) edited by Josiah Hotchkiss Gilbert, p. 176
To die would be an awfully big adventure.
J. M. Barrie, Peter Pan, as reported in Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922)
But whether on the scaffold high,
Or in the battle's van,
The fittest place where man can die
Is where he dies for man.
Michael J. Barry, The Place to Die, in The Dublin Nation (Sept. 28, 1844), Volume II, p. 809
What a power has Death to awe and hush the voices of this earth! How mute we stand when that presence confronts us, and we look upon the silence he has wrought in a human life! We can only gaze, and bow our heads, and creep with our broken, stammering utterances under the shelter of some great word which God has spoken, and in which we see through the history of human sorrow the outstretching and overshadowing of the eternal arms.
Walton W. Battershall, as reported in, Dictionary of Burning Words of Brilliant Writers (1895) edited by Josiah Hotchkiss Gilbert, p. 174
To the Christian, these shades are the golden haze which heaven's light makes, when it meets the earth, and mingles with its shadows.
Henry Ward Beecher, as reported in, Dictionary of Burning Words of Brilliant Writers (1895) edited by Josiah Hotchkiss Gilbert, p. 176
And when no longer we can see Thee, may we reach out our hands, and find Thee leading us through death to immortality and glory.
Henry Ward Beecher, as reported in, Dictionary of Burning Words of Brilliant Writers (1895) edited by Josiah Hotchkiss Gilbert, p. 179
So we fall asleep in Jesus. We have played long enough at the games of life, and at last we feel the approach of death. We are tired out, and we lay our heads back on the bosom of Christ, and quietly fall asleep.
Henry Ward Beecher, as reported in, Dictionary of Burning Words of Brilliant Writers (1895) edited by Josiah Hotchkiss Gilbert, p. 184
Dear brethren, our ship is sailing fast. We shall soon hear the rasping of the shallows, and the commotion overhead which bespeaks the port in view. When it comes to that, how will you feel? Are you a stranger, or a convict, or are you going home?
Brethren, we are all sailing home; and by and by, when we are not thinking of it, some shadowy thing (men call it death), at midnight, will pass by, and will call us by name, and will say, "I have a message for you from home; God wants you; heaven waits for you."
Henry Ward Beecher, as reported in, Dictionary of Burning Words of Brilliant Writers (1895) edited by Josiah Hotchkiss Gilbert, p. 185
Death and dissolution are not penalties inflicted on the living; they are themselves the conditions necessary to the existence of life and they hold all the hope of the future, as they have from the start.
N. J. Berrill, You and the Universe (1958), p. 45
Suicide is the deliberate or the hurried action of the man who is trying to get out of a trouble and escape from it. Yet he cannot escape from it. He has struck away his body, he is wide awake on the other side of death, exactly the same man he was a moment before, except that his body is thrown off; no more changed than if he had merely taken off his coat. The result of his losing the physical body is that his capacity for suffering is very much increased.
Annie Besant as quoted in Suicides and Compassion (2012)
The theory of Reincarnation, then, in the Esoteric Philosophy, asserts the existence of a living and individualised Principle, which dwells in and informs the body of a man, and Which, on the death of the body, passes into another body, after a longer or shorter interval. Thus successive bodily lives are linked together like pearls strung upon a thread, the thread being the living Principle, the pearls upon it the separate human lives... In the light of reincarnation life... becomes the school of the eternal Man within us, who seeks therein his development...
Annie Wood Besant, in Reincarnation, (1892)
Death is only a change that gives the soul a partial liberation, releasing him from the heaviest of his chains. It is but a birth into a wider life, a return after brief exile on earth to the soul's true home, a passing from a prison into the freedom of the upper air. Death is the greatest of earth's illusions; there is no death, but only changes in life-conditions. Life is continuous, unbroken, unbreakable; "unborn, eternal, ancient, constant," it perishes not with the perishing of the bodies that clothe it. We might as well think that the sky is falling when a pot is broken, as imagine that the soul perishes when the body falls to pieces.
Annie Besant, The Ancient Wisdom (1897)
As inevitably as a drunkard must live in his repulsive soddened physical body here, so must he live in his equally repulsive astral body there. The harvest sown is reaped after its kind. Such is the law in all the worlds, and it may not be escaped. Nor indeed is the astral body there more revolting and horrible than it was when the man was living upon earth and made the atmosphere around him fetid with his astral emanations. But people on earth do not generally recognise its ugliness, being astrally blind. Further, we may cheer ourselves in contemplating these unhappy brothers of ours by remembering that their sufferings are but temporary, and are giving a much-needed lesson in the life of the soul. By the tremendous pressure of nature’s disregarded laws they are learning the existence of those laws, and the misery that accrues from ignoring them in life and conduct. The lesson they would not learn during earth-life, whirled away on the torrent of lusts and desires, is pressed on them here, and will be pressed on them in their succeeding lives, until the evils are eradicated and the man has risen into a better life. Nature’s lessons are sharp, but in the long run they are merciful, for they lead to the evolution of the soul and guide it to the winning of its immortality.
Annie Besant, The Ancient Wisdom (1897)
Cremation is preferable to burial as a way of disposing of corpses.
Annie Besant, The Ancient Wisdom (1897)
Also see: Theosophical Manuals No III: Death & After by Annie Besant (1894) (Below)
For certain is death for the born
And certain is birth for the dead;
Therefore over the inevitable
Thou shouldst not grieve.
Bhagavad Gita, Chapter 2
Never the spirit was born, the spirit shall cease to be never. Never was time it was not, end and beginning are dreams.
Bhagavad Gita
How wilt thou, then, knowing it so,
--grieve when thou shouldst not grieve?
How, if thou hearest that the man new-dead
Is, like the man new-born, still living man--
One same, existent Spirit--wilt thou weep?
The end of birth is death; the end of death
Is birth: this is ordained! and mournest thou,
Chief of the stalwart arm! for what befalls
Which could not otherwise befall?
The birth Of living things comes unperceived;
the death Comes unperceived;
between them, beings perceive:
What is there sorrowful herein, dear Prince?
The Song Celestial; Or, Bhagavad-Gîtâ (from the Mahâbhârata): Translated from the Sanskrit Text, by Sir Edwin Arnold, (1900)
Never the spirit was born; the spirit shall cease to be never;
Never was time it was not; End and Beginning are dreams!
Birthless and deathless and changeless remaineth the spirit for ever;
Death hath not touched it at all, dead though the house of it seems!
The Song Celestial; Or, Bhagavad-Gîtâ (from the Mahâbhârata): Translated from the Sanskrit Text, by Sir Edwin Arnold, (1900)
Generals gathered in their masses
just like witches at black masses.
Evil minds that plot destruction,
sorcerer of death's construction.
Black Sabbath War Pigs Paranoid written by Ozzy Osbourne, Tony Iommi, Geezer Butler and Bill Ward
Two things happen in the minds of most men and women who lose a close friend through death. First, whether or not a person believes in heaven or hell, or has been told that death is the end of all thought and feeling for the one who has gone, he finds himself re-asking the question, "Where are the dead?" in such a way as to show he had not been really impressed by either of the two usual answers. Second, he sees clearly how the greatest sadness of death comes from realizing that something of importance was left uncompleted between himself and the one now separated from him; he desires to believe that there may be some way in which his knowing or loving the other person may continue toward a better adjustment or fulfillment.
It is because these two things happen in the mind of man when he is faced with the death of a friend that the theosophical viewpoint becomes a natural thing to consider seriously. For Theosophy holds that there is a continual evolution for every human soul, that there is no final heaven or hell, and that all who die return again to earth where they may, according to natural law, recover lost friends and proceed to develop further, as well as to deepen the bonds of understanding only temporarily cut off by the dissolution of the physical body.
H.P. Blavatsky in What is death? (~1888)
The notions about heaven and hell, with which the people of "Christian" nations are more or less familiar, are probably the crude remains of earlier and more philosophical ideas. If we consider hell and heaven to be states of mind instead of places, it is easy to see the reason for such ideas. For each man, in the course of his normal living, enters periodically into states of great happiness and great unhappiness, and further more, while he is in them, he is apt to forget everything else. The mind, in other words, builds its own world. Is it so strange, then, to imagine that after the death of the body this same process may continue, in an even more intense degree, since no physical interruptions are possible?
H.P. Blavatsky in What is death? (~1888)
Some people have felt that they could not consider seriously the possibility of reincarnation because they do not remember their past lives... If men are reborn, it would, as a matter of fact, be impossible to expect an entirely new body to retain and give expression to the details recorded by a different physical brain... The idea suggested by reincarnation is that the soul, not the brain, continues to live. And what is a "soul"? If the word has any meaning at all, it must stand for those unique qualities of character which distinguish us, far more than any physical differences, from our fellow human beings. And our most important qualities do not depend upon the memory of the brain. Our most important qualities are our attitudes of mind, formed through experience provided by brain, yet retained as moral instincts rather than as specific memories.
H.P. Blavatsky in What is death? (~1888)
The real contact between any two friends, living or "dead," is the contact of mutual understanding and love, and the inspiration of worth-while things undertaken in common. Why is it not possible for such relationships to pass untroubled through death, and back to life again? Such is, perhaps, the wisest teaching of all the ages, because it is at once the most natural and the most hopeful.
H.P. Blavatsky in What is death? (~1888)
How shocking must thy summons be, O Death!
To him that is at ease in his possessions!
Who, counting on long years of pleasure here,
Is quite unfurnished for the world to come!
In that dread moment, how the frantic soul
Raves round the walls of her clay tenement;
Runs to each avenue, and shrieks for help;
But shrieks in vain.
Robert Blair, The Grave, line 350
Sure 'tis a serious thing to die! My soul!
What a strange moment must it be, when, near
Thy journey's end, thou hast the gulf in view!
That awful gulf, no mortal e'er repass'd
To tell what's doing on the other side.
Robert Blair, The Grave, line 369
'Tis long since Death had the majority.
Robert Blair, The Grave, line 451. Please "The Great Majority" found in Plautus. Trinium, II. 214
The theosophical view is really older than any religion, because it is natural to man. It was held as the truest thought by the Hindus and Egyptians and Greeks - to name but a few in ancient times - that death is simply a longer sleep than that we experience every night of our lives, after which the soul wakes again in a new body. All through the centuries this idea has been expressed by poets and philosophers. Theosophical writers have called this idea of rebirth "reincarnation," signifying that the soul, or real man, incarnates again in flesh when the suitable conditions for a further working out of its destiny are provided by a new body...in answer to the question, "Where are the dead?"... we might consider, there can be no such thing as someone "dead". The man who loses his body is, simply, according to this view, resting - and, perhaps, dreaming.
H.P. Blavatsky in What is death? (~1888)
Men in great suffering are very apt to look first at the very worst of themselves and their lives, and afterward, toward the very best. And such - as the Hindus, Egyptians, and some of the Greeks taught - is the case after the death of the body. The soul, alone with its memories, struggles first to free itself from those most disturbing... The notions about heaven and hell, with which the people of "Christian" nations are more or less familiar, are probably the crude remains of earlier and more philosophical ideas. If we consider hell and heaven to be states of mind instead of places, it is easy to see the reason for such ideas. For each man, in the course of his normal living, enters periodically into states of great happiness and great unhappiness, and further more, while he is in them, he is apt to forget everything else. The mind, in other words, builds its own world. Is it so strange, then, to imagine that after the death of the body this same process may continue, in an even more intense degree, since no physical interruptions are possible?
H.P. Blavatsky in What is death? (~1888)
If we consider hell and heaven to be states of mind instead of places, it is easy to see the reason for such ideas. For each man, in the course of his normal living, enters periodically into states of great happiness and great unhappiness, and further more, while he is in them, he is apt to forget everything else. The mind, in other words, builds its own world. Is it so strange, then, to imagine that after the death of the body this same process may continue, in an even more intense degree, since no physical interruptions are possible?
Those who have "died" may logically be thought of as still existing, in one of these two states. Each state will last just as long as the nature of the person demands. Those who tired easily from psychological strain during life might require a long period of mental readjustment, while those who seemed to have the energy at all times to enter vigorously into even the most difficult experiences might be ready to be born again on earth in a much shorter time. The great philosopher Plato wrote an allegory in the last book of his Republic about souls making themselves ready to come back to earth again. Each one, he said, had a choice as to when and where to be born, but that choice must always be in accord with the soul's capacities and needs. So it is really a matter of being drawn naturally to the environment best suited to the soul, as provided by parents, family, and nation.
H.P. Blavatsky in What is death? (~1888)
All our times have come
Here but now they're gone
Seasons don't fear the reaper
Nor do the wind, the sun or the rain... we can be like they are
Come on baby... don't fear the reaper
Baby take my hand... don't fear the reaper
We'll be able to fly... don't fear the reaper
Baby I'm your man...
Blue Oyster Cult (Don't Fear) The Reaper| written by Buck Dharma
Physical death, so much a preoccupation in the death world, is less mortifying than what is peddled as life.
Alfredo Bonanno, Armed Joy (1977)
When I lived, I provided for every thing but death; now I must die, and am unprepared.
Cesare Borgia, as reported in, Dictionary of Burning Words of Brilliant Writers (1895) edited by Josiah Hotchkiss Gilbert, p. 176
Beyond the shining and the shading
I shall be soon.
Beyond the hoping and the dreading
I shall be soon.
Love, rest and home—
Lord! tarry not, but come.
Horatius Bonar, Beyond the Smiling and the Weeping, as reported in Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922)
Earth to earth, ashes to ashes, dust to dust, in sure and certain hope of the resurrection.
Book of Common Prayer, Burial of the Dead, as reported in Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922)
Man that is born of a woman hath but a short time to live, and is full of misery. He cometh up, and is cut down, like a flower; he fleeth as it were a shadow, and never continueth in one stay.
Book of Common Prayer, Burial of the Dead; quoting from Job, XIV. 1, as reported in Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922)
In the midst of life we are in death.
Book of Common Prayer, Burial of the Dead. Media vita in morte sumus. From a Latin antiphon. Found in the choirbook of the monks of St. Gall. Said to have been composed by Notker ("The Stammerer") in 911, while watching some workmen building a bridge at Martinsbrücke, in peril of their lives. Luther's antiphon "De Morte" Hymn XVIII is taken from this, as reported in Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922)
Everyone must leave something behind when he dies, my grandfather said. A child or a book or a painting or a house or a wall built or a pair of shoes made. Or a garden planted. Something your hand touched some way so your soul has somewhere to go when you die, and when people look at that tree or that flower you planted, you're there. It doesn't matter what you do, he said, so as long as you change something from the way it was before you touched it into something that's like you after you take your hands away.
Ray Bradbury, Fahrenheit 451 (1953)
Here. Astride the top of nothingness, I suddenly receive the call of death. Who, in passing, tells me that it’s nothing. Nothing more than the absence of the word itself. Noting more, and simply nothingness.
Giannina Braschi, Empire of Dreams (1988)
'Mid youth and song, feasting and carnival,
Through laughter, through the roses, as of old
Comes Death, on shadowy and relentless feet
Death, unappeasable by prayer or gold;
Death is the end, the end.
Proud, then, clear-eyed and laughing, go to greet
Death as a friend!
Rupert Brooke, Second Best, as reported in Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922)
Oh! death will find me, long before I tire
Of watching you; and swing me suddenly
Into the shade and loneliness and mire
Of the last land!
Rupert Brooke, Sonnet (Collection 1908–1911), as reported in Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922)
A little before you made a leap in the dark.
Sir Thomas Browne, Works, II, 26 (1708 edition); Letters from the Dead (1701), Works, II, p. 502
The thousand doors that lead to death.
Sir Thomas Browne, Religio Medici (1642), Part I, Section XLIV
We all labour against our own cure; for death is the cure of all disease.
Sir Thomas Browne, Religio Medici (1642), Part II, Section IX
Pliny hath an odd and remarkable Passage concerning the Death of Men and Animals upon the Recess or Ebb of the Sea.
Sir Thomas Browne, Letter to a Friend, Section 7
O Earth, so full of dreary noises!
O men, with wailing in your voices!
O delved gold, the waller's heap!
O strife, O curse, that o'er it fall!
God makes a silence through you all,
And "giveth His beloved, sleep."
Elizabeth Browning, as reported in, Dictionary of Burning Words of Brilliant Writers (1895) edited by Josiah Hotchkiss Gilbert, p. 183
For I say, this is death and the sole death,
When a man's loss comes to him from his gain,
Darkness from light, from knowledge ignorance,
And lack of love from love made manifest.
Robert Browning, A Death in the Desert, as reported in Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922)
The grand perhaps.
Robert Browning, Bishop Blougram's Apology, as reported in Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922)
Fear Death? – to feel the fog in my throat,
The mist in my face.
Robert Browning, Prospice
Sustained and soothed
By an unfaltering trust, approach thy grave
Like one that wraps the drapery of his couch
About him, and lies down to pleasant dreams.
William Cullen Bryant, Thanatopsis
All that tread
The globe are but a handful to the tribes
That slumber in its bosom.
William Cullen Bryant, Thanatopsis
“Well, Lord, is the soul the same as the body, is the soul one thing and the body another?”
“I have not declared that the soul is one thing and the body another.”
“Well, Lord, does the Tathagata exist after death?” …
“I have not declared that the Tathagata exists after death.” …
“But, Lord, why has the Lord not declared these things?”
“Potthapada, that is not conducive to the purpose, not conducive to Dhamma, not the way to embark on the holy life; it does not lead to disenchantment, to dispassion, to cessation, to calm, to higher knowledge, to enlightenment, to Nibbana. That is why I have not declared it.”
Gautama Buddha, Digha Nikaya, M. Walshe, trans. (1987), Sutta 9 (Potthapada Sutta), verse 28, p. 164
So he passed over and all the trumpets sounded
For him on the other side.
John Bunyan, Pilgrim's Progress. Death of Valiant for Truth. Close of Part II
Dying visions of angels and Christ and God and heaven are confined to credibly good men. Why do not bad men have such visions? They die of all sorts of diseases; they have nervous temperaments; they even have creeds and hopes about the future which they cling to with very great tenacity; why do not they rejoice in some such glorious illusions when they go out of the world?
Enoch Fitch Burr, as reported in, Dictionary of Burning Words of Brilliant Writers (1895) edited by Josiah Hotchkiss Gilbert, p. 182
Die Todten reiten schnell.
The dead ride swiftly.
Gottfried Bürger, Leonore, as reported in Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922)
But, oh! fell Death's untimely frost,
That nipt my flower sae early.
Robert Burns, Highland Mary, as reported in Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922)
There is only rest and peace
In the city of Surcease
From the failings and the waitings 'neath the sun,
And the wings of the swift years
Beat but gently o'er the biers
Making music to the sleepers every one.
Richard Eugene Burton, City of the Dead, as reported in Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922)
They do neither plight nor wed
In the city of the dead,
In the city where they sleep away the hours.
Richard Eugene Burton, City of the Dead, as reported in Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922)
We wonder if this can be really the close,
Life's fever cooled by death's trance;
And we cry, though it seems to our dearest of foes,
"God give us another chance."
Richard Eugene Burton, Song of the Unsuccessful, as reported in Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922)
Timor mortis morte pejor.
The fear of death is worse than death.
Robert Burton, The Anatomy of Melancholy (1621)
Friend Ralph! thou hast
Outrun the constable at last!
Samuel Butler, Hudibras, Part I (1663-64), Canto III, line 1,367
Heaven gives its favourites — early death.
Lord Byron, Childe Harold's Pilgrimage, Canto IV (1818), Stanza 102. Also Don Juan, Canto IV, Stanza 12
Without a grave, unknell'd, uncoffin'd, and unknown.
Lord Byron, Childe Harold's Pilgrimage, Canto IV (1818), Stanza 179
Ah! surely nothing dies but something mourns!
Lord Byron, Don Juan (1818-24), Canto III, Stanza 108
"Whom the gods love die young," was said of yore.
Lord Byron, Don Juan (1818-24), Canto IV, Stanza 12
Death, so called, is a thing which makes men weep,
And yet a third of life is pass'd in sleep.
Lord Byron, Don Juan (1818-24), Canto XIV, Stanza 3
Oh, God! it is a fearful thing
To see the human soul take wing
In any shape, in any mood!
Lord Byron, Prisoner of Chillon, Stanza 8
Down to the dust! — and, as thou rott'st away,
Even worms shall perish on thy poisonous clay.
Lord Byron, A Sketch
C
To live in hearts we leave behind
Is not to die. ~ Thomas Campbell
Once realise what the true object is in life — [..] that it is the development of character, the rising to a higher, nobler, purer standard, the building-up of the perfect Man — and then, so long as we feel that this is going on, and will (we trust) go on for evermore, death has for us no terror; it is not a shadow, but a light; not an end, but a beginning! ~ Lewis Carroll
The principal point of their [Druids] doctrine is that the soul does not die and that after death it passes from one body into another... with a firm belief in the indestructibility of the human soul, which, according to their belief, merely passes at death from one tenement to another; for by such doctrine alone, they say, which robs death of all its terrors, can the highest form of human courage be developed. ~Julius Caesar
Back in 1980, less than 5 percent of Americans were cremated when they died. That figure now stands at about 50 percent... Rosehill charges just $180 to cremate a body, although the urn, flowers, and service are extra. A grave, by contrast, can cost $2,500, plus an additional $1,500 to open the ground with a backhoe. ~ Caren Chesler, Popular Mechanics (1 March 2018)]
The divinity who rules within us, forbids us to leave this world without his command... That last day does not bring extinction to us, but change of place...I depart from life as from an inn, and not as from my home. ~Cicero
All that is alive dies. ~ Chicó in the play Auto da Compadecida
Death is not the end. Death can never be the end. Death is the road. Life is the traveller. The soul is the guide. ~ Sri Chinmoy
That last day does not bring extinction to us, but change of place. ~Cicero
Nothing, indeed, can be more deserving of our admiration than the conduct of the Christian martyrs, who cheerfully submitted to an ignominious death, inflicted by the most atrocious torments, rather than deny their faith even by the mere performance of an apparently insignificant rite of Paganism.
John Calvin, Institutes of the Christian Religion
But this we may positively state, that nobody has made any progress in the school of Christ unless he cheerfully looks forward to the day of his death and to the day of the final resurrection.
John Calvin, Golden Booklet of the True Christian Life, pg. 78
To live in hearts we leave behind
is not to die.
Thomas Campbell, Hallowed Ground (1825)
Brougham delivered a very warm panegyric upon the ex-Chancellor, and expressed a hope that he would make a good end, although to an expiring Chancellor death was now armed with a new terror.
Thomas Campbell, Lives of the Chancellors, Volume VII, p. 163
And I still onward haste to my last night;
Time's fatal wings do ever forward fly;
So every day we live, a day we die.
Thomas Campion, Divine and Moral Songs, as reported in Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922)
Oh man, at that end not much has been left of your excellence, nothing of all that you have been boasting about through life - only sex, fear, self-admiration and a few other things you are usually ashamed of.
Karel Čapek, "Last Things of Man" (Stories from the Second Pocket, 1932)
His religion, at best, is an anxious wish; like that of Rabelais, "a great Perhaps."
Thomas Carlyle, Burns, as reported in Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922)
I believe this thought, of the possibility of death — if calmly realised, and steadily faced would be one of the best possible tests as to our going to any scene of amusement being right or wrong. If the thought of sudden death acquires, for you, a special horror when imagined as happening in a theatre, then be very sure the theatre is harmful for you, however harmless it may be for others; and that you are incurring a deadly peril in going. Be sure the safest rule is that we should not dare to live in any scene in which we dare not die.
But, once realise what the true object is in life — that it is not pleasure, not knowledge, not even fame itself, 'that last infirmity of noble minds' — but that it is the development of character, the rising to a higher, nobler, purer standard, the building-up of the perfect Man — and then, so long as we feel that this is going on, and will (we trust) go on for evermore, death has for us no terror; it is not a shadow, but a light; not an end, but a beginning!
Lewis Carroll, Sylvie and Bruno (1889), Preface
Qui nunc it per iter tenebricosum
Illuc unde negant redire quemquam.
Who now travels that dark path from whose bourne they say no one returns.
Catullus, Carmina, III. 11
Soles occidere et redire possunt;
Nobis cum semel occidit brevis lux,
Nox est perpetua una dormienda.
Suns may set and rise; we, when our short day has closed, must sleep on during one neverending night.
Catullus, Carmina. V. 4
When death hath poured oblivion through my veins,
And brought me home, as all are brought, to lie
In that vast house, common to serfs and thanes,—
I shall not die, I shall not utterly die,
For beauty born of beauty—that remains.
Madison Cawein, as reported in Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922)
The principal point of their doctrine is that the soul does not die and that after death it passes from one body into another.
Julius Caesar on Druids, in Encyclopaedia of Sects and Religious Doctrines, p. 395
With regard to their actual course of studies, the main object of all education is, in their opinion, to imbue their scholars with a firm belief in the indestructibility of the human soul, which, according to their belief, merely passes at death from one tenement to another; for by such doctrine alone, they say, which robs death of all its terrors, can the highest form of human courage be developed.
Julius Caesar on Druids in World Religions and the New Era of Science, quoted by Jarnail Singh, p. 172
"For all that let me tell thee, brother Panza," said Don Quixote, "that there is no recollection which time does not put an end to, and no pain which death does not remove."
"And what greater misfortune can there be," replied Panza, "than the one that waits for time to put an end to it and death to remove it?"
Miguel de Cervantes, Don Quixote (1605-15), Part I, Chapter XV
It singeth low in every heart,
We hear it each and all,—
A song of those who answer not,
However we may call;
They throng (he silence of the breast,
We see them as of yore,—
The kind, the brave, the true, the sweet,
Who walk with us no more.
John W. Chadwick, Auld Lang Syne, as reported in Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922)
This character wherewith we sink into the grave at death is the very character wherewith we shall reappear at the resurrection.
Thomas Chalmers, as reported in, Dictionary of Burning Words of Brilliant Writers (1895) edited by Josiah Hotchkiss Gilbert, p. 180
When I hear it contended that the least sensitive are, on the whole, the most happy, I recall the Indian proverb: “It’s better to sit than to stand, it is better lie down than to sit, but death is best of all.”
Nicolas Chamfort, Maxims and Considerations, E. P. Mathers, trans. (1926), #155 (Parmée 131)
Back in 1980, less than 5 percent of Americans were cremated when they died. That figure now stands at about 50 percent... Rosehill charges just $180 to cremate a body, although the urn, flowers, and service are extra. A grave, by contrast, can cost $2,500, plus an additional $1,500 to open the ground with a backhoe.
Caren Chesler in [​https://www.popularmechanics.com/science/health/a18923323/cremation/ Burning Out: What Really Happens inside a Crematorium, Popular Mechanics (1 March 2018)
Neither modern science nor ancient religion believes in complete free thought. Theology rebukes certain thoughts by calling them blasphemous. Science rebukes certain thoughts by calling them morbid. For example, some religious societies discouraged men more or less from thinking about sex. The new scientific society definitely discourages men from thinking about death; it is a fact, but it is considered a morbid fact.
G. K. Chesterton, Orthodoxy (1908), p. 36
Death is not the end. Death can never be the end. Death is the road. Life is the traveller. The soul is the guide.
Sri Chinmoy, My Rose Petals (1971)
At length, fatigued with life, he bravely fell,
And health with Boerhaave bade the world farewell.
Benjamin Church, The Choice (1754)
I’m not a morbid person, but I thought about death—or more precisely, how strangely tilted our view of life is. We know the universe went on before for billions of years and it will go on for billions more. There’s just this brief stretch when the window is opened before our eyes, and the world is visible. Then the window is shut, forever.
Richard Chwedyk, The Measure of All Things (2001), in David G. Hartwell (ed.) Year's Best SF 7, p. 98
Ex vita discedo, tanquam ex hospitio, non tanquam ex domo.
I depart from life as from an inn, and not as from my home.
Cicero, De Senectute, 23
Emori nolo: sed me esse mortuum nihil æstimo.
Translation: I do not wish to die: but I care not if I were dead.
Cicero, Tusculanarum Disputationum, I. 8. translation of verse of Epicharmus
Vetat dominans ille in nobis deus, injussu hinc nos suo demigrare.
The divinity who rules within us, forbids us to leave this world without his command.
Cicero, Tusculanarum Disputationum, I. 30
Undique enim ad inferos tantundem viæ est.
There are countless roads on all sides to the grave.
Cicero, Tusculanarum Disputationum, I. 43
Supremus ille dies non nostri extinctionem sed commutationem affert loci.
That last day does not bring extinction to us, but change of place.
Cicero, Tusculanarum Disputationum, I. 49
Some men make a womanish complaint that it is a great misfortune to die before our time. I would ask what time? Is it that of Nature? But she, indeed, has lent us life, as we do a sum of money, only no certain day is fixed for payment. What reason then to complain if she demands it at pleasure, since it was on this condition that you received it.
Cicero, as reported in Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922)
Death, to a good man is but passing through a dark entry, out of one little dusky room of his Father's house into another that is fair and large, lightsome and glorious, and divinely entertaining.
Adam Clarke, as reported in, Dictionary of Burning Words of Brilliant Writers (1895) edited by Josiah Hotchkiss Gilbert, p. 178
Omnia mors æquat.
Death levels all things.
Claudianus, De Raptu Proserpinæ, II. 302
Inscribed over a 14th Century mural painting once at Battle Church, Sussex. Included in the 12th Century Vers sur la Mort. Ascribed to Thibaut de Marly. Also the motto of one of Symeoni's emblematic devices. See Notes and Queries (May 1917), p. 134
Our souls are prisoners of the terror of death, and the day is beautiful.
Paulo Coelho, in Quinta Montanha [The Fifth Mountain](1998), Ch. 1
Bloody pumps, face flat on the concrete. Here comes the white sheet. Mister Coroner, caught with some yellow tape, but the murderers escaped.
Eric Dwayne Collins, "Lyrical Gangbang" (1992), The Chronic (December 1992), Death Row Records
How well he fell asleep!
Like some proud river, widening toward the sea;
Calmly and grandly, silently and deep,
Life joined eternity.
Samuel Taylor Coleridge, as reported in, Dictionary of Burning Words of Brilliant Writers (1895) edited by Josiah Hotchkiss Gilbert, p. 183
Mors dominos servis et sceptra ligonibus æquat,
Dissimiles simili conditione trahens.
Death is like thunder in two particulars; we are alarmed at the sound of it; and it is formidable only from that which preceded it.
Charles Caleb Colton, as reported in, Dictionary of Burning Words of Brilliant Writers (1895) edited by Josiah Hotchkiss Gilbert, p. 180
Death comes with a crawl or he comes with a pounce,
And whether he's slow, or spry,
It isn't the fact that you're dead that counts,
But only, how did you die?
Edmund Vance Cooke, How Did You Die?, as reported in Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922)
Dead’s not good, but at least it’s simple.
James S. A. Corey, Cibola Burn (2014), ISBN 978-0-316-21762-0 Chapter 2 (p. 27)
Qui ne craint point la mort ne craint point les menaces.
He who does not fear death cares naught for threats.
Pierre Corneille, Le Cid, II. 1
Ut non ex vita, sed ex domo in domum videretur migrare.
So that he seemed to depart not from life, but from one home to another.
Cornelius Nepos, Atticus, as reported in Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922)
And all you men, whom greatness does so please,
Ye feast, I fear, like Damocles.
If you your eyes could upwards move,
(But you, I fear, think nothing is above)
You would perceive by what a little thread
The sword still hangs over your head.
No tide of wine would drown your cares,
No mirth or music over-noise your fears;
The fear of death would you so watchful keep,
As not to admit the image of it, sleep.
Abraham Cowley, “Of Greatness”
All flesh is grass, and all its glory fades
Like the fair flower dishevell'd in the wind;
Riches have wings, and grandeur is a dream;
The man we celebrate must find a tomb,
And we that worship him, ignoble graves.
William Cowper, The Task (1785), Book III, line 261
All has its date below; the fatal hour
Was register'd in Heav'n ere time began.
We turn to dust, and all our mightiest works
Die too.
William Cowper, The Task (1785), Book V, The Winter Morning Walk, line 540
Two hands upon the breast,
And labor's done;
Two pale feet cross'd in rest,
The race is won.
Dinah Craik, Now and Afterwards
Life, that dares send
A challenge to his end,
And when it comes, say, "Welcome, friend!"
Richard Crashaw, Wishes to his (Supposed) Mistress, Stanza 29
One of the great tragedies of our present outlook on existence is our attitude to that recurring event which we call death. We approach it, for the most part, with fear and loathing, seeking by every means to resist its call, prolonging, often beyond its usefulness, the activity of the physical body as a guarantee of "life"....Despite the vast amount of evidence gathered over the years... that life of some kind continues after death; despite the intellectual acceptance by many that death is but an awakening into new and freer life; in spite of the growing belief in reincarnation; notwithstanding the testimony of the wisest Teachers down the ages... ~ Benjamin Creme
If we did but realise and experience that that identity is an immortal Being which cannot die or be obliterated, our fear of death would vanish... our whole approach to death would change for the better. ~ Benjamin Creme
The most heaven-like spots I have ever visited, have been certain rooms in which Christ's disciples were awaiting the summons of death. So far from being a "house of mourning," I have often found such a house to be a vestibule of glory. ~ Theodore L. Cuyler
She'l bargain with them; and will giue
Them GOD; teach them how to liue
In him; or if they this deny,
For him she'l teach them how to Dy.
Richard Crashaw, Hymn to the Name and Honor of Saint Teresa, as reported in Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922)
One of the great tragedies of our present outlook on existence is our attitude to that recurring event which we call death. We approach it, for the most part, with fear and loathing, seeking by every means to resist its call, prolonging, often beyond its usefulness, the activity of the physical body as a guarantee of "life". Our dread of death is the dread of the unknown, of complete and utter dissolution, of being "no more". Despite the vast amount of evidence gathered over the years by the many spiritualist groups that life of some kind continues after death; despite the intellectual acceptance by many that death is but an awakening into new and freer life; in spite of the growing belief in reincarnation; notwithstanding the testimony of the wisest Teachers down the ages, we continue to approach that great transition with fear and trepidation.
Benjamin Creme in Life after death & rebirth, Share International Foundation
What makes this attitude so tragic is that it is so far from the reality, the source of so much unnecessary suffering. Our fear of death is our fear that our identity will be obliterated. It is this which terrifies. If we did but realise and experience that that identity is an immortal Being which cannot die or be obliterated, our fear of death would vanish. If, further, we realised that after so-called death we enter into a new and clearer light in which the sense of our identity is altogether more vivid, and also that there are yet higher aspects of our Being of which till then we are unaware which await our recognition, our whole approach to death would change for the better.
Benjamin Creme in Life after death & rebirth, Share International Foundation
What happens to us upon death? It depends at what point we are in evolution... The great magnet of evolution brings us into incarnation over and over again. Because we have a lot to learn, we need frequent teaching — the experience of life, over and over again, to make any progress at all... There comes a time when... the man or woman in incarnation... ceases to make too much karma of a negative nature, and becomes more and more harmless. We can see, therefore, the need for harmlessness in all human relationships. By being destructive we create negative karma, which means we have to work it off. We come in with this karma, and all the misfortune of our life, the pain, the suffering, is put down to bad luck. It is not bad luck but the direct result of our karma...
Benjamin Creme in The Ageless Wisdom, An Introduction to Humanity's Spiritual Legacy, ' , p. 15, (1996)
We are born, then cry,
We know not for why,
And all our lives long
Still but the same song.
Nathaniel Crouch (attributed), in Fly Leaves (pub. 1854), taken from Bristol Drollery (1674)
The most heaven-like spots I have ever visited, have been certain rooms in which Christ's disciples were awaiting the summons of death. So far from being a "house of mourning," I have often found such a house to be a vestibule of glory.
Theodore L. Cuyler, as reported in, Dictionary of Burning Words of Brilliant Writers (1895) edited by Josiah Hotchkiss Gilbert, p. 183
D
Death is not a curse, it's the only thing that's keeping us alive. [Tigers on Trains, "A Year in the Garden Shed"]
Death is utterly acceptable to consciousness and life. There has been endless times of numberless deaths, but neither consciousness nor life has ceased to arise. The felt quality and cycle to death has not modified the fragility of flowers, even the flowers within the human body.
Adi Da, "Prologue", The Knee of Listening
Round, round the cypress bier
Where she lies sleeping,
On every turf a tear,
Let us go weeping!
Wail!
George Darley, Dirge, as reported in Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922)
We are going to die, and that makes us the lucky ones. Most people are never going to die because they are never going to be born. The potential people who could have been here in my place but who will in fact never see the light of day outnumber the sand grains of Sahara. Certainly those unborn ghosts include greater poets than Keats, scientists greater than Newton. We know this because the set of possible people allowed by our DNA so massively outnumbers the set of actual people. In the teeth of these stupefying odds it is you and I, in our ordinariness, that are here.
Richard Dawkins, 'Unweaving The Rainbow'; Dawkins has stated on many occasions that this passage will be read at his funeral.
And though mine arm should conquer twenty worlds,
There's a lean fellow beats all conquerors.
Thomas Dekker, Old Fortunatus (1599), Act I, scene 1
I expressed just now my mistrust of what is called Spiritualism—… I owe it a trifle for a message said to come from Voltaire's Ghost. It was asked, "Are you not now convinced of another world?" and rapped out, "There is no other world — Death is only an incident in Life."
William De Morgan, Joseph Vance, Chapter XI
Death carries off a man who is gathering flowers and whose mind is distracted, as a flood carries off a sleeping village.
Dhammapada, Verse 47; F. Max Müller, translator
What argufies pride and ambition?
Soon or late death will take us in tow:
Each bullet has got its commission,
And when our time's come we must go.
Charles Dibdin, Each Bullet has its Commission
"People can't die, along the coast," said Mr. Peggotty, "except when the tide's pretty nigh out. They can't be born, unless it's pretty nigh in—not properly born, till flood. He's a-going out with the tide."
Charles Dickens, David Copperfield (1849-1850), Chapter XXX
Beloved in the Lord, if you only will lay hold of the Saviour's strength, and cast yourself entirely on His kind arms, with His dying grace He will do wonders for you in the dying hour. A great trembling may come upon you when you think of going down to tread the verge of Jordan: "for ye have not passed this way heretofore." But Jesus has; and you shall see His footprints on the shore. He will be your guide unto death, and through death.
Alexander Dickson, as reported in, Dictionary of Burning Words of Brilliant Writers (1895) edited by Josiah Hotchkiss Gilbert, p. 183
Death be not proud, though some have called thee
Mighty and dreadfull, for, thou art not so,
For, those, whom thou think'st, thou dost overthrow,
Die not, poore death, nor yet canst thou kill me.
From rest and sleepe, which but thy pictures bee,
Much pleasure, then from thee, much more must flow,
And soonest our best men with thee doe goe,
Rest of their bones, and soules deliverie.
Thou art slave to Fate, Chance, kings, and desperate men,
And dost with poyson, warre, and sicknesse dwell,
And poppie, or charmes can make us sleepe as well,
And better then thy stroake; why swell'st thou then;
One short sleepe past, wee wake eternally,
And death shall be no more; death, thou shalt die.
John Donne, in "Holy Sonnets, "Divine Poems", No. 17
Soon for me the light of day
Shall forever pass away;
Then from sin and sorrow free,
Take me, Lord, to dwell with Thee.
William Croswell Doane, as reported in, Dictionary of Burning Words of Brilliant Writers (1895) edited by Josiah Hotchkiss Gilbert, p. 177
Welcome, thou kind deceiver!
Thou best of thieves! who, with an easy key,
Dost open life, and, unperceived by us,
Even steal us from ourselves.
John Dryden, All for Love, Act V, scene 1
Death in itself is nothing; but we fear
To be we know not what, we know not where.
John Dryden, Aurengzebe, Act IV, scene 1
So was she soon exhaled, and vanished hence;
As a sweet odour, of a vast expense.
She vanished, we can scarcely say she died.
John Dryden, Elegiacs, To the Memory of Mrs. Anne Killegrew, line 303
Of no distemper, of no blast he died,
But fell like autumn fruit that mellow'd long.
John Dryden, Œdipus, Act IV, scene 1, line 265
Heaven gave him all at once; then snatched away,
Ere mortals all his beauties could survey;
Just like the flower that buds and withers in a day.
John Dryden, On the Death of Amyntas, as reported in Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922)
He was exhal'd; his great Creator drew
His spirit, as the sun the morning dew.
John Dryden, On the Death of a Very Young Gentleman, line 25
Like a led victim, to my death I'll go,
And dying, bless the hand that gave the blow.
John Dryden, The Spanish Friar, Act II, scene 1, line 64
In the jaws of death.
Guillaume de Salluste Du Bartas, Divine Weekes and Workes, Second Week, First day
Death is the way to immortality. Love will begin when the world ends.
Aleksandr Dugin, as quoted in "Dugin’s Evil Theology" (18 June 2014), by Robert Zubrin, National Review
E
Death is the king of this world: 'tis his park
Where he breeds life to feed him. Cries of pain
Are music for his banquet.
George Eliot, Spanish Gypsy (1868), Book II
If we could know
Which of us, darling, would be first to go,
Who would be first to breast the swelling tide
And step alone upon the other side—
If we could know!
Mrs. Foster Ely, If We could Know, as reported in Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922)
He thought it happier to be dead,
To die for Beauty, than live for bread.
Ralph Waldo Emerson, Beauty, line 25
But learn that to die is a debt we must all pay.
Euripides, Alcestis, 418. Also Andromache, 1,271
F
Our new Constitution is now established, and has an appearance that promises permanency; but in this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes! ~ Benjamin Franklin
Out of the strain of the Doing,
Into the peace of the Done;
Out in the thirst of Pursuing,
Into the rapture of Won.
Out of grey mist into brightness,
Out of pale dusk into Dawn—
Out of all wrong into rightness,
We from these fields shall be gone.
"Nay," say the saints, "Not gone but come,
Into eternity's Harvest Home."
W. M. L. Fay, Poem in Sunday at Home (May, 1910), as reported in Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922)
He that always waits upon God is ready whenever He calls. Neglect not to set your accounts even; he is a happy man who to lives as that death at all times may find him at leisure to die.
Owen Feltham, as reported in, Dictionary of Burning Words of Brilliant Writers (1895) edited by Josiah Hotchkiss Gilbert, p. 180
I am not in the least surprised that your impression of death becomes more lively, in proportion as age and infirmity bring it nearer. God makes use of this rough trial to undeceive us in respect to our courage, to make us feel our weakness, and to keep us in all humility in His hands.
François Fénelon, as reported in, Dictionary of Burning Words of Brilliant Writers (1895) edited by Josiah Hotchkiss Gilbert, p. 185
Sit the comedy out, and that done,
When the Play's at an end, let the Curtain fall down.
Thomas Flatman, The Whim, as reported in Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922)
Young Never-Grow-Old, with your heart of gold
And the dear boy's face upon you;
It is hard to tell, though we know it well,
That the grass is growing upon you.
Alice Fleming, Spion Kop, as reported in Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922)
Death hath so many doors to let out life.
John Fletcher and Philip Massinger, The Custom of the Country (c. 1619–23; published 1647), Act II, scene 2
We must all die!
All leave ourselves, it matters not where, when,
Nor how, so we die well; and can that man that does so
Need lamentation for him?
John Fletcher, Valentinian (1610–14; published 1647), Act IV, scene 4
"Paid the debt of nature." No; it is not paying a debt; it is rather like bringing a note to the bank to obtain solid gold for it. In this case you bring this cumbrous body which is nothing worth, and which you could not wish to retain long; you lay it down, and receive for it from the eternal treasures — liberty, victory, knowledge, rapture.
John Foster, as reported in, Dictionary of Burning Words of Brilliant Writers (1895) edited by Josiah Hotchkiss Gilbert, p. 179
When you take the wires of the cage apart, you do not hurt the bird, but help it. You let it out of its prison. How do vou know that death does not help me when it takes the wires of my cage down? — that it does not release me, and put me into some better place, and better condition of life?
Bishop Randolph S. Foster, as reported in, Dictionary of Burning Words of Brilliant Writers (1895) edited by Josiah Hotchkiss Gilbert, p. 184
If there is a meaning in life at all, then there must be a meaning in suffering. Suffering is an ineradicable part of life, even as fate and death.
Viktor Frankl, in JW.org ; Why We Are Here
Our new Constitution is now established, and has an appearance that promises permanency; but in this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes!
A dying man can do nothing easy.
Benjamin Franklin, last words, as reported in Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922)
La montagne est passée; nous irons mieux.
The mountain is passed; now we shall get on better.
Frederick the Great, said to be his last words, as reported in Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922)
Why fear death? It is the most beautiful adventure in life.
Charles Frohman, last words before he sank in the wreck of the Lusitania, torpedoed by the Germans (7 May 1915), as reported through Rita Joliet, in Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922)
We may feel only anxious (or even sick) for a number of reasons which have no apparent connection with our conscience. [...] One form of this anxiety is the fear of death; not the normal fear of having to die which every human being experiences in the contemplation of death, but a horror of dying by which people can be possessed constantly. This irrational fear of death results from the failure of having lived; it is the expression of our guilty conscience for having wasted our life and missed the chance of productive use of our capacities. To die is poignantly bitter, but the idea of having to die without having lived is unbearable.
Erich Fromm, Man for himself, an inquiry into the psychology of ethics (1947), Ch. 4, ISBN 978-0-8050-1403-7
Drawing near her death, she sent most pious thoughts as harbingers to heaven; and her soul saw a glimpse of happiness through the chinks of her sicknesse broken body.
Thomas Fuller, The Holy State and the Profane State, Book I, Chapter II
Had [Christ] the death of death to death
Not given death by dying:
The gates of life had never been
To mortals open lying.
On the tombstone of Rev. Fyge, in the churchyard of Castle-Camps, Cambridgeshire, as reported in Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922)
G
To the man whom death’s wing has touched, what once seemed important is so no longer; and other things become so which once did not seem important or which he did not even know existed. The layers of acquired knowledge peel away from the mind like a cosmetic and reveal, in patches, the naked flesh beneath, the authentic being hidden there. ~ André Gide
All religions speak about death during this life on earth. Death must come before rebirth. But what must die? False confidence in one’s own knowledge, self-love and egoism. Our egoism must be broken. ~ G. I. Gurdjieff
Every one of those unfortunates during the process of existence should constantly sense and be cognizant of the inevitability of his own death as well as of the death of everyone upon whom his eyes or attention rests. ~ G. I. Gurdjieff
Life's race well run,
Life's work well done,
Life's crown well won,
Now comes rest.
Epitaph of President James Garfield, as reported in, Dictionary of Burning Words of Brilliant Writers (1895) edited by Josiah Hotchkiss Gilbert, p. 177
To die is landing on some silent shore,
Where billows never break nor tempests roar;
Ere well we feel the friendly stroke 'tis o'er.
Sir Samuel Garth, The Dispensary (1699), Canto III, line 225
The prince who kept the world in awe,
The judge whose dictate fix'd the law;
The rich, the poor, the great, the small,
Are levell'd; death confounds 'em all.
John Gay, Fables (1727), Part II. Fable 16
Dead as a door nail.
John Gay, New Song of New Similes. Langland, Piers Ploughman, II, line 183. (1362). William of Palerne, Romance (About 1350), II Henry IV, Act V, scene 3. Deaf as a door nail. Rabelais, III. 34; translation. by Urquhart
Where the brass knocker, wrapt in flannel band,
Forbids the thunder of the footman's hand,
The' upholder, rueful harbinger of death,
Waits with impatience for the dying breath.
John Gay, Trivia, Book II, line 467
Human beings desire more than small pleasures in the routines of life. We also seek great challenges in the face of death.
Matt Frose, "The Anti-Christian Alt-Right" (2018), First Things
Ever has it been that love knows not its own depth until the hour of separation. ~ Kahlil Gibran, The Prophet
Ever has it been that love knows not its own depth until the hour of separation.
Kahlil Gibran The Prophet
To the man whom death’s wing has touched, what once seemed important is so no longer; and other things become so which once did not seem important or which he did not even know existed. The layers of acquired knowledge peel away from the mind like a cosmetic and reveal, in patches, the naked flesh beneath, the authentic being hidden there.
Henceforth this was what I sought to discover: the authentic being, “the old Adam” whom the Gospels no longer accepted; the man whom everything around me—books, teachers, family and I myself—had tried from the first to suppress. And I had already glimpsed him, faint, obscured by their encrustations, but all the more valuable, all the more urgent. I scorned henceforth that secondary, learned being whom education had pasted over him.
And I would compare myself to a palimpsest; I shared the thrill of the scholar who beneath more recent script discovers. on the same paper, an infinitely more precious ancient text.
André Gide, Michael in The Immoralist, R. Howard trans., p. 51
What if thou be saint or sinner,
Crooked gray-beard, straight beginner,—
Empty paunch, or jolly dinner,
When Death thee shall call.
All alike are rich and richer,
King with crown, and cross-legged stitcher,
When the grave hides all.
R. W. Gilder, Drinking Song, as reported in Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922)
None who e'er knew her can believe her dead;
Though, should she die, they deem it well might be
Her spirit took its everlasting flight
In summer's glory, by the sunset sea,
That onward through the Golden Gate is fled.
Ah, where that bright soul is cannot be night.
R. W. Gilder, "H. H."
He had never feared the entity Death but was often afraid of dying.
Phyllis Gotlieb, Blue Apes (Originally published in The Berkley Showcase: New Writings in Science Fiction and Fantasy, Vol. 4 (July 1981) and reprinted in her collection Son of the Morning and Other Stories)
Can storied urn or animated bust
Back to its mansion call the fleeting breath?
Can honour's voice provoke the silent dust,
Or flattery soothe the dull cold ear of death?
Thomas Gray, Elegy, Stanza 11
He pass'd the flaming bounds of place and time:
The living throne, the sapphire blaze,
Where angels tremble while they gaze,
He saw; but blasted with excess of light,
Closed his eyes in endless night.
Thomas Gray, Progress of Poesy, III. 2, line 99
Fling but a stone, the giant dies.
Matthew Green, The Spleen, line 93
When life is woe,
And hope is dumb,
The World says, "Go!"
The Grave says, "Come!"
Arthur Guiterman, Betel-Nuts, as reported in Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922)
Man has the possibility of existence after death. But possibility is one thing and the realization of the possibility is quite a different thing.
G. I. Gurdjieff, Quotations of Gurdjieff from In Search of the Miraculous: Fragments of an Unknown Teaching (1949) by P. D. Ouspensky
Every one of those unfortunates during the process of existence should constantly sense and be cognizant of the inevitability of his own death as well as of the death of everyone upon whom his eyes or attention rests. Only such a sensation and such a cognizance can now destroy the egoism completely crystallized in them that has swallowed up the whole of their Essence, and also that tendency to hate others which flows from it.
G. I. Gurdjieff,, All and Everything: Beelzebub's Tales to His Grandson (1950)
The sole means now for the saving of the beings of the planet Earth would be to implant again into their presences a new organ … of such properties that every one of these unfortunates during the process of existence should constantly sense and be cognizant of the inevitability of his own death as well as the death of everyone upon whom his eyes or attention rests. Only such a sensation and such a cognizance can now destroy the egoism completely crystallized in them.
G. I. Gurdjieff, All and Everything: Beelzebub's Tales to His Grandson (1950)
H
Who says that we shall pass, or the fame of us fade and die,
While the living stars fulfil their round in the living sky? ~ William Ernest Henley
Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the Horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
Finds and shall find me unafraid. ~ William Ernest Henley
Life is worth Living
Through every grain of it,
From the foundations
To the last edge
Of the cornerstone, death. ~ William Ernest Henley
Dear, was it really you and I?
In truth the riddle's ill to read,
So many are the deaths we die
Before we can be dead indeed. ~ William Ernest Henley
From the winter’s gray despair,
From the summer’s golden languor,
Death, the lover of Life,
Frees us for ever. ~ William Ernest Henley
Life — give me life until the end… ~W.E. Henley
Behold—not him we knew!
This was the prison which his soul looked through. Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr.,

Death borders upon our birth; and our cradle stands in our grave.
Bishop Hall, Epistles, Decade III. Ep, II
Come to the bridal-chamber, Death!
Come to the mother's, when she feels,
For the first time, her first-born's breath!
Come when the blessed seals
That close the pestilence are broke,
And crowded cities wail its stroke!
Fitz-Greene Halleck, Marco Bozzaris
Ere the dolphin dies
Its hues are brightest. Like an infant's breath
Are tropic winds before the voice of death.
Fitz-Greene Halleck, Fortune, as reported in Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922)
We shall be in the midst of some great work, when the tools shall drop from our relaxing fingers, and we shall work no more; we shall be planning some mighty project — house, business, society, book — when in one shattering moment all our thoughts shall perish. Life shall seem strong in us when we shall find that it is done. Oh, how happy they to whom all that remains is immortality; happy you who have that confidence in the Saviour, that, although nature start at the sudden midnight cry, "The Bridegroom cometh!" faith shall answer, the moment that we remember who He is, "Even so, come, Lord Jesus!"
James Hamilton, as reported in, Dictionary of Burning Words of Brilliant Writers (1895) edited by Josiah Hotchkiss Gilbert, p. 175
All life is surrounded by a great circumference of death; but to the believer in Jesus, beyond this surrounding death is a boundless sphere of life. He has only to die once to be done with death forever.
James Hamilton, as reported in, Dictionary of Burning Words of Brilliant Writers (1895) edited by Josiah Hotchkiss Gilbert, p. 177
Seek such union to the Son of God, as, leaving no present death within, shall make the second death impossible, and shall leave in all your future only that shadow of death which men call dissolution, and which the gospel calls sleeping in Jesus.
James Hamilton, as reported in, Dictionary of Burning Words of Brilliant Writers (1895) edited by Josiah Hotchkiss Gilbert, p. 181
"Come and see how a Christian can die," said the dying sage to his pupil; how would it do to say, "Come and see how an infidel can die?" How would it have done for Voltaire to say this, who, in his panic at the prospect of eternity, offered his physician half his fortune for six weeks more of life?
James Hamilton, as reported in, Dictionary of Burning Words of Brilliant Writers (1895) edited by Josiah Hotchkiss Gilbert, p. 182
And now, with busy, but noiseless process, the Comforter is giving the last finish to the sanctifying work, and making the heir of glory meet for home, till, at a signal given, the portal opens, and even the numb body feels the burst of blessedness as the rigid features smile and say, "I see Jesus," then leave tne vision pictured on the pale but placid brow.
James Hamilton, as reported in, Dictionary of Burning Words of Brilliant Writers (1895) edited by Josiah Hotchkiss Gilbert, p. 183
When at last the angels come to convey your departing spirit to Abraham's bosom, depend upon it, however dazzling in their newness they may be to you, you will find that your history is no novelty, and you yourself no stranger to them.
James Hamilton, as reported in, Dictionary of Burning Words of Brilliant Writers (1895) edited by Josiah Hotchkiss Gilbert, p. 185
Yes, even pricks turn into top blokes after death
Andrew Hansen, "The Eulogy Song" from The Chaser's War on Everything
The ancients dreaded death: the Christian can only fear dying.
J. C. and A. W. Hare, Guesses at Truth, as reported in Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922)
And I hear from the outgoing ship in the bay
The song of the sailors in glee:
So I think of the luminous footprints that bore
The comfort o'er dark Galilee,
And wait for the signal to go to the shore,
To the ship that is waiting for me.
Bret Harte, The Two Ships; see also Alfred Tennyson, Crossing the Bar, Whitman
On a lone barren isle, where the wild roaring billows
Assail the stern rock, and the loud tempests rave,
The hero lies still, while the dew-drooping willows,
Like fond weeping mourners, lean over his grave.
The lightnings may flash and the loud thunders rattle;
He heeds not, he hears not; he's free from all pain.
He sleeps his last sleep, he has fought his last battle;
No sound can awake him to glory again!
Attributed to Lyman Heath, The Grave of Bonaparte, as reported in Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922)
Death rides on every passing breeze,
He lurks in every flower.
Bishop Heber, At a Funeral, Stanza 3, as reported in Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922)
Leaves have their time to fall,
And flowers to wither at the north wind's breath,
And stars to set—but all.
Thou hast all seasons for thine own, O Death.
Felicia Hemans, Hour of Death, as reported in Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922)
"Passing away" is written on the world and all the world contains.
Felicia Hemans, Passing Away, as reported in Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922)
Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the Horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
Finds and shall find me unafraid.
William Ernest Henley, Invictus (1875)
What is Death
But Life in act? How should the Unteeming Grave
Be victor over thee,
Mother, a mother of men?
W. E. Henley, Echoes, XLVI. Matri Dilectissimæ
So be my passing.
My task accomplished and the long day done,
My wages taken, and in my heart
Some late lark singing,
Let me be gathered to the quiet west,
The sundown splendid and serene,
Death.
W. E. Henley, Margaritæ Sorori
Those incantations of the Spring
That made the heart a centre of miracles
Grow formal, and the wonder-working bours
Arise no more — no more.
Something is dead . . .
'Tis time to creep in close about the fire
And tell grey tales of what we were, and dream
Old dreams and faded, and as we may rejoice
In the young life that round us leaps and laughs,
A fountain in the sunshine, in the pride
Of God's best gift that to us twain returns,
Dear Heart, no more — no more.
William Ernest Henley, Rhymes And Rhythms, "Prologue"
Who says that we shall pass, or the fame of us fade and die,
While the living stars fulfil their round in the living sky?
William Ernest Henley, Rhymes And Rhythms, II
Life is worth Living
Through every grain of it,
From the foundations
To the last edge
Of the cornerstone, death.
William Ernest Henley, Rhymes And Rhythms, XII
Think on the shame of dreams for deeds,
The scandal of unnatural strife,
The slur upon immortal needs,
The treason done to life:
Arise! no more a living lie,
And with me quicken and control
Some memory that shall magnify
The universal Soul.
William Ernest Henley, Rhymes And Rhythms, XII
Dear, was it really you and I?
In truth the riddle's ill to read,
So many are the deaths we die
Before we can be dead indeed.
William Ernest Henley, Rhymes And Rhythms, XV
Life — give me life until the end,
That at the very top of being,
The battle-spirit shouting in my blood,
Out of the reddest hell of the fight
I may be snatched and flung
Into the everlasting lull,
The immortal, incommunicable dream.
William Ernest Henley, Rhymes And Rhythms, XVI
From the winter’s gray despair,
From the summer’s golden languor,
Death, the lover of Life,
Frees us for ever.
William Ernest Henley, In Hospital (1908), p. 20
Not lost, but gone before.
Matthew Henry, Commentaries, Matthew II; itle of a song published in Smith's Edinburgh Harmony (1829)
Is life so dear or peace so sweet as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God! I know not what course others may take; but as for me, give me liberty or give me death!
Patrick Henry, Speech at the Second Virginia Convention at St. John's Church in Richmond, Virginia (23 March 1775)
Those that God loves, do not live long.
George Herbert, Jacula Prudentum (1651)
I know thou art gone to the home of thy rest—
Then why should my soul be so sad?
I know thou art gone where the weary are blest,
And the mourner looks up, and is glad;
I know thou hast drank of the Lethe that flows
In a land where they do not forget,
That sheds over memory only repose,
And takes from it only regret.
Thomas Kibble Hervey, I Know Thou Art Gone, as reported in Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922)
Upon the Grave which swallows fast/'Tis peace at last, oh peace at last.
Metallica, "Cyanide" (Death Magnetic), lyric by James Hetfield
And death makes equal the high and low.
John Heywood, Be Merry Friends, as reported in Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922)
(Mors, mortis morti mortem nisi morte dedisset [dedisses].)
Death when to death a death by death hath given
Then shall be op't the long shut gates of heaven.
Thomas Heywoode, Nine Bookes of various History concerning Women, Book II, of the Sybells
Now I am about to take my last voyage, a great leap in the dark.
Thomas Hobbes. His reported last words. Hence "Hobbes' voyage," expression used by Vanbrugh in The Provoked Wife, Act V, scene 6
How frighteningly few are the persons whose death would spoil our appetite and make the world seem empty.
Eric Hoffer, "Thoughts of Eric Hoffer, Including: ‘Absolute Faith Corrupts Absolutely,'" The New York Times Magazine (April 25, 1971), p. 62
And when, in the evening of life, the golden clouds rest sweetly and invitingly upon the golden mountains, and the light of heaven streams down through the gathering mists of death, I wish you a peaceful and abundant entrance into that world of blessedness, where the great riddle of life will be unfolded to you in the quick consciousness of a soul redeemed and purified.
Josiah Gilbert Holland, as reported in, Dictionary of Burning Words of Brilliant Writers (1895) edited by Josiah Hotchkiss Gilbert, p. 185
When darkness gathers over all.
And the last tottering pillars fall,
Take the poor dust Thy mercy warms.
And mould it into heavenly forms.
Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr., as reported in, Dictionary of Burning Words of Brilliant Writers (1895) edited by Josiah Hotchkiss Gilbert, p. 179
The mossy marbles rest
On the lips that he has pressed
In their bloom;
And the names he loved to hear
Have been carved for many a year
On the tomb.
Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr., The Last Leaf, as reported in Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922)
Behold—not him we knew!
This was the prison which his soul looked through.
Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr., The Last Look, as reported in Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922)
And they die
An equal death,—the idler and the man
Of mighty deeds.
Homer, The Iliad, Book IX, line 396; Bryant's translation
He slept an iron sleep,—
Slain fighting for his country.
Homer, The Iliad, Book XI, line 285; Bryant's translation
It is not right to glory in the slain.
Homer, The Odyssey of Homer, trans. George H. Palmer (1929), book 22, line 412, p. 288. Another translation is: "It isn't right to gloat over the dead." Homer's Odyssey, trans. Denison B. Hull (1978), p. 252
One more unfortunate
Weary of breath,
Rashly importunate,
Gone to her death!
Thomas Hood, Bridge of Sighs, as reported in Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922)
We watch'd her breathing thro' the night,
Her breathing soft and low,
As in her breast the wave of life
Kept heaving to and fro.
Our very hopes belied our fears,
Our fears our hopes belied;
We thought her dying when she slept,
And sleeping when she died.
Thomas Hood, The Death-bed, as reported in Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922)
'Tis after death that we measure men.
James Barron Hope, "Our Heroic Dead," A Wreath of Virginia Bay Leaves, ed. Janey Hope Marr, p. 71 (1895). As commander of the camp, he addressed the Confederate veterans on their first decoration day with this poem. Samuel A. Link, Pioneers of Southern Literature (1903), vol. 2, p. 423
Pallida mors æquo pulsat pede pauperum tabernas
Regumque turres.
Pale death, with impartial step, knocks at the hut of the poor and the towers of kings.
Horace, Carmina, I. 4. 13
Omnes una manet nox,
Et calcanda semel via leti.
One night is awaiting us all, and the way of death must be trodden once.
Horace, Carmina, I. 28. 15
Omnes eodem cogimur; omnium
Versatur urna serius, ocius
Sors exitura.
We are all compelled to take the same road; from the urn of death, shaken for all, sooner or later the lot must come forth.
Horace, Carmina, II. 3. 25
Omne capax movet urna nomen.
In the capacious urn of death, every name is shaken.
Horace, Carmina, III. 1. 16
Cita mors ruit.
Swift death rushes upon us.
Horace, adapted from Satire 1. 8
Aequa lege Necessitas
Sortitur insignes et imos;
Omne capax movet urna nomen.
Dulce et decorum est pro patria mori.
Sweet and glorious it is to die for our country.
Horace, Odes, book 3, ode 2, line 13. The Works of Horace, trans. J. C. Elgood (1893), p. 58; there have been various translations of this sentence, including that in the Modern Library edition, The Complete Works of Horace (1936), p. 217, "For country 'tis a sweet and seemly thing to die." Ernest Hemingway, in "Notes on the Next War," Esquire (September 1935), p. 156, said, "They wrote in the old days that it is sweet and fitting to die for one's country. But in modern war there is nothing sweet nor fitting in your dying."
Melius est bene mori, quam male vivere (...) qui mortem metuit, amittit gaudia vitae; super omnia vincit veritas, vincit, qui occiditur, quia nulla ei nocet adversitas, si nulla ei dominatur iniquitas.
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Duty is weightier than a mountain, while death is lighter than a feather.
Imperial Rescript to Soldiers and Sailors (1882), as quoted in Sources of the Japanese tradition, Volume II. Columbia University Press. 1964. p. 199.
In the democracy of the dead all men at last are equal. There is neither rank nor station nor prerogative in the republic of the grave.
John James Ingalls, eulogy on the death of Representative James N. Burnes, January 24, 1889, reported in A Collection of the Writings of John James Ingalls (1902), p. 273
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You're on your way to meet your maker... Are you ready? No exceptions to the rule; death is promised. ~ Curtis J. Jackson
I can sleep, when I die. ~ Jay Wayne Jenkins
Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart. ~ Steve Jobs
Death is very likely the single best invention of Life. It is Life’s change agent. It clears out the old to make way for the new. ~ Steve Jobs
Death often appears senseless and severe, but remember that man can only visualize a very narrow sector of the overall Plan, and his perspective must inevitably remain limited. Remember also that the earthly life which has been cut short will, after a longer or shorter spiritual sojourn, be resumed in a new physical vehicle, to continue the experiences planned by the soul. ~ Aart Juriaanse
Death's got to be easy, because life is hard. It'll leave you physically, mentally, and emotionally scarred.
Curtis J. Jackson, "Many Men" (2003), Get Rich or Die Tryin'
You're on your way to meet your maker... Are you ready? No exceptions to the rule; death is promised.
Curtis J. Jackson, "Gunz Come Out" (2005), The Massacre
Remembering that I'll be dead soon is the most important tool I've ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life. Because almost everything — all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure — these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important. Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart.
Steve Jobs, Stanford University commencement address (12 June 2005)
No one wants to die. Even people who want to go to heaven don’t want to die to get there. And yet death is the destination we all share. No one has ever escaped it. And that is as it should be, because Death is very likely the single best invention of Life. It is Life’s change agent. It clears out the old to make way for the new. Right now the new is you, but someday not too long from now, you will gradually become the old and be cleared away. Sorry to be so dramatic, but it is quite true.
Steve Jobs, Stanford University commencement address (12 June 2005)
Your time is limited, so don't waste it living someone else's life. Don't be trapped by dogma — which is living with the results of other people's thinking. Don't let the noise of others' opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.
Steve Jobs, Stanford University commencement address (12 June 2005)
I am not afraid to kill you for their is no death.
Alejandro's Jodorowsky, El Topo
Then with no fiery throbbing pain,
No cold gradations of decay,
Death broke at once the vital chain,
And freed his soul the nearest way.
Samuel Johnson, Verses on the Death of Mr. Robert Levet, Stanza 9. ("No fiery throbs of pain" in first edition)
Depend upon it, Sir, when a man knows he is to be hanged in a fortnight, it concentrates his mind wonderfully.
Samuel Johnson, reported in James Boswell, Boswell's Life of Johnson, ed. George B. Hill, rev. and enl. ed., ed. L. F. Powell (1934), entry for September 19, 1777, vol. 3, p. 167
Disease generally begins that equality which death completes.
Samuel Johnson, The Rambler, vol. 1 (1793), p. 110
Thou art but gone before,
Whither the world must follow.
Ben Jonson, Epitaph on Sir John Roe, in Dodd's Epigrammatists, p. 190
Suicide is a huge folly, because it places the committer of it in an infinitely worse position than he was in under the conditions from which he foolishly hoped to escape. It is not death. It is only a leaving of one well-known house in familiar surroundings to go into a new place where terror and despair alone have place.
William Quan Judge Suicide Is Not Death, The Lamp, (September 1894)
Hence one whose fire is burned out is reborn through the tendencies in mind; according to his thoughts he enters life. But linked by the fire with the Self, this life leads to a world of recompense.--Prashna Upanishad... The above quotation from Prashna Upanishad gives the old doctrine, the same as in Buddhism, that re-birth is due to mind and to the tendencies therein. "Whose fire has burned out" means the fire of life expiring. "According to his thoughts" does not refer to what one wishes to have for rebirth, but to the seeds of thought left in the mind from the thinking of each hour of life; these in a mass make a tendency or many tendencies which on coming out either keep the soul to that family in all modes of thought and act or tend to segregate the soul from the circle into which it was born. "This life leads to a world of recompense," because by the fire of life it is linked to the Self, which being thus bound goes after death to the state where recompense is its portion. The alternation to and fro from one state to another for purposes of compensation is not the attainment of knowledge but the subjection to results eternally, unless the soul strives to find the truth and becomes free, and ceases to set up causes for future births.
William Quan Judge Upanishads on Rebirth, The Path, (February 1894)
There is no 'death'; it is only a question of passing from one level of awareness to another, from physical consciousness to spiritual consciousness. If man could only come to this realization then all fears would vanish. 'Death' is not something to be feared, but on the contrary, in many respects, it is a phase to be welcomed what a wonderful thought for the older person who has been through life's treadmill and experienced its weal and woe, that he can shed the dense physical prison with all its aches and pains and fears, that he can exchange physical life with all its worries, doubts, disappointments and mental strain, for a spell of life in a spiritual body that will no longer tire and be subject to all the earthly troubles...
Aart Juriaanse, Fear of death
From the human standpoint death often appears senseless and severe, but remember that man can only visualize a very narrow sector of the overall Plan, and his perspective must inevitably remain limited. Remember also that the earthly life which has been cut short will, after a longer or shorter spiritual sojourn, be resumed in a new physical vehicle, to continue the experiences planned by the soul.
Aart Juriaanse, Fear of death
Mors sola fatetur
Quantula sint hominum corpuscula.
Trust to a plank, draw precarious breath,
At most seven inches from the jaws of death.
Juvenal, Satires (early 2nd century), XII. 57. Gifford's translation
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Strange—is it not?—that of the myriads who
Before us passed the door of Darkness through,
Not one returns to tell us of the road
Which to discover we must travel too. ~ Omar Khayyam
They say you only live once, but come to think of it - you only die once as well.
Eyran Katsenelenbogen, One Time (2021).
Verse, Fame and beauty are intense indeed,
But Death intenser – Death is life's high mead.
John Keats, Sonnet: Why did I laugh to-night?
Love masters agony; the soul that seemed
Forsaken feels her present God again
And in her Father's arms
Contented dies away.
John Keble, as reported in, Dictionary of Burning Words of Brilliant Writers (1895) edited by Josiah Hotchkiss Gilbert, p. 182
Nemo impetrare potest a papa bullam nunquam moriendi.
No one can obtain from the Pope a dispensation for never dying.
Thomas à Kempis, as reported in Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922)
Dying is not a crime.
Jack Kevorkian, as quoted in Introducing Christian Ethics (2010), by Samuel Wells and Ben Quash, John Wiley and Sons, p. 329
Despite the solace of hypocritical religiosity and its seductive promise of an after-life of heavenly bliss, most of us will do anything to thwart the inevitable victory of biological death.
Jack Kevorkian, describing his painting "Nearer My God To Thee", as quoted in "I Can Think of Life, and Nothing Else" by Cliff Walker (January 2002)
When you and I behind the Veil are past.
Omar Khayyam, Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam (1120), Stanza 47. (Not in first edition); FitzGerald's translation
Strange—is it not?—that of the myriads who
Before us passed the door of Darkness through,
Not one returns to tell us of the road
Which to discover we must travel too.
Omar Khayyam, Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam (1120), Stanza 68. FitzGerald's translation
If being a kid is about learning how to live, then being a grown-up is about learning how to die.
Narration; Stephen King, Christine, Part 1, Chapter 5
Fear makes us blind, and we touch each fear with all the avid curiousity of self-interest, trying to make a whole out of a hundred parts, like the blind men with their elephant. We sense the shape. Children grasp it easily, forget it, and relearn it as adults. The shape is there, and most of us come to realize what it is sooner or later: it is the shape of a body under a sheet. All our fears add up to one great fear, all our fears are part of that great fear - an arm, a leg, a finger, an ear. We're afraid of the body under the sheet. It's our body. And the great appeal of horror fiction through the ages is that it serves as a rehearsal for our own deaths.
Stephen King, Night Shift, foreword
My friend, there will come one day to you a Messenger, whom you cannot treat with contempt. He will say, "Come with me;" and all your pleas of business cares and earthly loves will be of no avail. When his cold hand touches yours, the key of the counting-room will drop forever, and he will lead you away from all your investments, your speculations, your bank-notes and real estate, and with him you will pass into eternity, up to the bar of God. You will not be too busy to die.
Abbott Eliot Kittredge, as reported in, Dictionary of Burning Words of Brilliant Writers (1895) edited by Josiah Hotchkiss Gilbert, p. 174
Nay, why should I fear Death,
Who gives us life, and in exchange takes breath?
Frederic L. Knowles, Laus Mortis, as reported in Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922)
When I have folded up this tent
And laid the soiled thing by,
I shall go forth 'neath different stars,
Under an unknown sky.
Frederic L. Knowles, The Last Word, as reported in Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922)
Let the dead bury the dead? But, the dead can bury no one.
Alan Charles Kors, "Socialism's Legacy" (2011), The John W. Pope Lecture Series, The Clemson Institute for the Study of Capitalism
Painting the sensual with thy hues divine,—
Thou turn'st away thy face, while scattering
Perchance upon his brow some fading flowers,
Of which he strives to twine a funeral crown,
Spending his life to weave a wreath of death!
Zygmunt Krasiński, The Undivine Comedy
The thunderstorm is a constant phenomenon, raging alternately over some part of the world or the other. Can a single man or creature escape death if all that charge of lightning strikes the earth?
Kalki Krishnamurthy, in "Sivakozhundu of Tiruvazhundur" as translated in Kalki: Selected Stories (1999)

You must bear your karma cheerfully, whatever it may be, taking it as an honor that Suffering comes to you, because it shows that the Lords of Karma think you worth helping. However hard it is, be thankful that it is no worse.
Jiddu Krishnamurti, At the Feet of the Master (1911)
You must give up all feeling of possession. Karma may take from yon the things which yon like best — even the people whom you love most. Even then you must be cheerful — ready to part with anything and everything.
Jiddu Krishnamurti, At the Feet of the Master (1911)
Karma takes no account of custom; and the karma of cruelty is the most terrible of all... The fate of the cruel must fall also upon all who go out intentionally to kill God's creatures, and call it "sport".
Jiddu Krishnamurti, At the Feet of the Master (1911)
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If popular theology had not most unhappily altogether lost sight of the cardinal doctrine of reincarnation, its· views on this subject of death would naturally be entirely different. A man who realizes that he has died many times before regards the operation more philosophically than one who believes it to be an absolutely new experience fraught with all kinds of vague· and awful possibilities. ~ C.W. Leadbeater
Our statement is not that man possesses a soul, but that man is a soul, and that the body is merely a vestment which he casts off when it is worn out... Man is a far more complex being than to physical sight he appears to be; and the only way in which we can thoroughly understand him is by raising our consciousness to altogether higher planes, where we can see much more...[than] one who has not previously studied the subject. ~ C.W. Leadbeater
To refuse death is to refuse life. ~ Ursula K. Le Guin
O Time! consumer of all things; O envious age! Thou dost destroy all things and devour all things with the relentless teeth of years, little by little in a slow death. ~ Leonardo da Vinci
Gone before
To that unknown and silent shore.
Charles Lamb, Hester, Stanza 1, as reported in Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922)
No one dies but some one is glad of it.
Letitia Elizabeth Landon, Lady Anne Granard, Chapter 1, 1842, posthumous.
One destin'd period men in common have,
The great, the base, the coward, and the brave,
All food alike for worms, companions in the grave.
Lord Lansdowne, Meditation on Death, as reported in Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922)
The first day after a death, the new absence
Is always the same; we should be careful
Of each other, we should be kind
While there is still time.
Philip Larkin, "The Mower" (1979)
We think each one will heave to and unload
All good into our lives, all we are owed
For waiting so devoutly and so long.
But we are wrong:
Only one ship is seeking us, a black-
Sailed unfamiliar, towing at her back
A huge and birdless silence. In her wake
No waters breed or break.
Philip Larkin, “Next, Please"
...a giant tombstone fell out of the sky to mark the place, but I didn’t care any more, because I was far away, in that place where the heroes and the cowards lie together with a fine impartiality, waiting for eternity to pass, slowly, like a procession of snails creeping across an endless desert toward a distant line of mountains.
Keith Laumer, The Star Treasure, in Venture Science Fiction (February, 1970), p. 18
If popular theology had not most unhappily altogether lost sight of the cardinal doctrine of reincarnation, its· views on this subject of death would naturally be entirely different. A man who realizes that he has died many times before regards the operation more philosophically than one who believes it to be an absolutely new experience fraught with all kinds of vague· and awful possibilities.
C.W. Leadbeater, in The Other side Of Death, p. 42, (1903)
Death is a subject which cannot but be of the deepest interest to every one, since the one thing which is absolutely certain in the future biography of all men alike is that one day they must die-still more since there is hardly anyone, except the very young, from whose kin death has not already removed some dearly loved one. Yet though this is thus a question of such universal interest, there is perhaps none about which the misconceptions current in the popular mind are so many and so serious. It is impossible for us to calculate the vast amount of utterly unnecessary sorrow and terror and misery which mankind in the aggregate has suffered simply from its ignorance and superstition with regard to this one most important matter. There is amongst us a mass of ·false and foolish belief along this line which has worked untold evil in the past and is causing indescribable suffering in the present, and its eradication would be one of the greatest benefits that could be conferred upon the human race.
C.W. Leadbeater, in The Other side Of Death, (1903)
The Theosophical Explanation. We endorse the theory that the soul leaves the body; but we are perhaps a little more definite in our explanation of what we mean by the soul than are many religious people. Our statement is not that man possesses a soul, but that man is a soul, and that the body is merely a vestment which he casts off when it is worn out... Man is a far more complex being than to physical sight he appears to be; and the only way in which we can thoroughly understand him is by raising our consciousness to altogether higher planes, where we can see much more...[than] one who has not previously studied the subject. This benefit the Theosophical teaching at once confers on those who, from their study of philosophy in past lives, now find themselves able to accept it. It robs death forthwith of all its terror and much of its sorrow, and enables us to see it in its true proportions and to understand its place in the scheme of our evolution.
C.W. Leadbeater, in The Other side Of Death, (1903)
Things of real worth, such as the mental life of the ant or the crab, fill psychological and scientific literature; but such a thing as death, which involves the whole human race more intimately than anything else possibly can-since all must die-is regarded as hardly worthy of serious discussion!
C.W. Leadbeater, in The Other side Of Death, (1903) Ch. I
The first and most fatal of all misconceptions about death is the idea that it is the end of all things; that there is nothing in man which survives it. Many people seem to be under the impression that this gross form of materialism has almost died out from among us; that it was a mental disease of the earlier part of the last century, and that the race has now outgrown it. It is much to be wished that this view represented the facts of the case, but I fear a careful student of contemporary thought can hardly endorse it. It is happily true that this noxious weed of materialism no longer -rears its, head in high places with the confidence of yore, for the men whose opinion is worthy of attention have by this time learnt better than that.
C.W. Leadbeater, in The Other side Of Death, (1903)
The highly developed soul, who during earth life has gained complete control over his lower nature, and entirely dominated passion and desire, does in consequence sweep through the astral life with such rapidity that when he regains his consciousness he finds opening out before it the indescribable glory and bliss of the heaven-world. But the ordinary man has by no means succeeded in entirely dominating all earthly desires and passions before his death. Thus he finds himself upon the astral plane with a fairly vigorous desire-body, which he has made for himself during physical life, in which he now has to live until the process of its disintegration is in turn completed. It disintegrates only as · the desire which is its life dies out of it, and this often involves Suffering which is not inaptly symbolized by the fires of purgatory.
C.W. Leadbeater, in The Other side Of Death, (1903)
One of our most serious losses at that time was the custom of prayer for the dead, and the nations who blindly threw away that means of helping their fellows have ever since paid the penalty of their folly in the persons of their departed members, who have had to fight their way unaided through the astral world...
What is a prayer for the dead but an expression of an earnest wish and loving thought for those who have passed on before us? We who study Theosophy know well that in physical life such wishes and such thoughts are real and objective things-storage batteries of spiritual force which will discharge themselves only when they reach the persons towards whom they are directed... The prayer or the strong loving wish for a particular dead person always reaches him and helps him, nor can it ever fail to do so while the great law of cause and effect remains part of the constitution of the universe. Even the earnest general prayer or wish for the good of the dead as a whole, though it is likely to be a vague and therefore a less efficient force, has yet in the aggregate produced an effect whose importance it would be difficult to exaggerate.
C.W. Leadbeater, in The Other side Of Death, (1903)
If it should be asked what it is that· we ought to wish for our dear· ones who have passed away-we who in many cases know so little of their condition that we might well fea to set in motion a force which might be ill-directed, for want of more exact knowledge of their need-we cannot do better than turn to the formulae of the Catholic Church once more, and use that beautiful antiphon which appears so often in the services for the dead: Eternal rest grant unto him, 0 Lord, and let light perpetual shine upon him.
C. W. Leadbeater in The Other side Of Death, (1903)
It is not infrequently our custom to seek to cover our own blank ignorance of certain subjects with the confident assertion that nothing ever has been or can be really known... our treatment of this question of the life after death is one of the worst examples of this habit. If popular theology had not most unhappily altogether lost sight of the cardinal doctrine of reincarnation, its· views on this subject of death would naturally be entirely different. A man who realizes that he has died many times before regards the operation more philosophically than one who believes it to be an absolutely new experience fraught with all kinds of vague and awful possibilities. (p. 42)
C. W. Leadbeater in The Other side Of Death, (1903)
If you have been able to assimilate what I have already said, you will now understand that, however natural it may be for us to feel sorrow at the death of our relatives, that sorrow is an error and an evil, and we ought to overcome it. There is no need to sorrow for them, for they have passed into a far wider and happier life. If we sorrow for our own fancied separation from them, we are, in the first place, weeping over an illusion, for in truth they are not separated from us; and, secondly, we are acting selfishly, because we are thinking more of our own apparent loss than of their great and real gain. We must strive to be utterly unselfish, as indeed all love should be. We must think of them and not of ourselves-not of what we wish or we feel, but solely of what is best for them and most helpful to their progress.
C. W. Leadbeater in The Other side Of Death, (1903) Ch XXXIV
A knowledge of the hidden side of life by no means teaches us to forget our dead, but it makes us exceedingly careful as to how we think of them; it warns us that we must adopt a resolutely unselfish attitude, that we must forget all about ourselves, and the pain of the apparent separation, and think of them neither with grief nor with longing, but always with strong affectionate wishes for their happiness and their progress. The clairvoyant sees exactly in what manner such wishes affect them, and at once perceives the truth which underlies the teaching of the Catholic Church with regard to the advisability of prayers for the dead. By these both the living and the dead are helped; for the former, instead of being thrown back upon his grief with a hopeless feeling that now he can do nothing, since there is a great gulf between himself and his loved one, is encouraged to turn his affectionate thought into definite action which promotes the happiness and advancement of him who has passed from his sight in the physical world. Of all this and much more I have written fully in the book called The Other Side of Death''... p. 340
C.W. Leadbeater The Hidden Side of things , (1913)
It is one of the many evils resulting from the absurdly erroneous teaching as to conditions after death which is unfortunately current in our western world, that those who have recently shaken off this mortal coil are usually much puzzled and often very seriously frightened at finding everything so different from what their religion had led them to expect. The mental attitude of a large number of such people was pithily voiced the other day by an English general, who three days after his death met one of the band of helpers whom he had known in physical life. After expressing his great relief that he had at last found someone with whom he was able to communicate, his first remark was: “But if I am dead, where am I? For if this is heaven I don’t think much of it; and if it is hell, it is better than I expected.” Ch. 12
C.W. Leadbeater, Invisible Helpers (1915)
Unfortunately a far greater number take things less philosophically. They have been taught that all men are destined to eternal flames except a favoured few who are superhumanly good; and since a very small amount of self examination convinces them that they do not belong to that category, they are but too often in a condition of panic terror, dreading every moment that the new world in which they find themselves may dissolve and drop them into the clutches of the devil, in whom they have been sedulously taught to believe. In many cases they spend long periods of acute mental suffering before they can free themselves from the fatal influence of this blasphemous doctrine of everlasting punishment - before they can realize that the world is governed, not according to the caprice of a hideous demon who gloats over human anguish, but according to a benevolent and wonderfully patient law of evolution, which is absolutely just indeed, but yet again and again offers to man opportunities of progress, if he will but take them, at every stage of his career.
C.W. Leadbeater, Invisible Helpers (1915)
'What you love, you will love. What you undertake you will complete. You are a fulfiller of hope; you are to be relied on. But seventeen years give little armor against despair...Consider, Arren. To refuse death is to refuse life.
Ursula K. Le Guin, The Farthest Shore (1972), Chapter 8, "The Children of the Open Sea" (Ged)
O Time! consumer of all things; O envious age! thou dost destroy all things and devour all things with the relentless teeth of years, little by little in a slow death. Helen, when she looked in her mirror, seeing the withered wrinkles made in her face by old age, wept and wondered why she had twice been carried away.
Leonardo da Vinci, The Notebooks of Leonardo Da Vinci (1938), XIX Philosophical Maxims. Morals. Polemics and Speculations., as translated by Edward MacCurdy
You are a player in the rigorous game of living.
You can’t blame the game if you don’t believe the rules or bother to remember them.
The first rule is: every player dies; none knows when it’s coming; the youngest and best often go first.
Everyone has to play.
The game goes on forever – or until you win.
You win by finding death before it finds you.
The prize – is life.
Barry Long, from the audio tape Seeing through Death (1983)
And, as she looked around, she saw how Death, the consoler,
Laying his hand upon many a heart, had healed it forever.
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Evangeline: A Tale of Acadie (1847), Part II. V
The young may die, but the old must!
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Christus, The Golden Legend (1872), Part IV. The Cloisters
There is no confessor like unto Death!
Thou canst not see him, but he is near:
Thou needest not whisper above thy breath,
And he will hear;
He will answer the questions,
The vague surmises and suggestions,
That fill thy soul with doubt and fear.
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Christus, The Golden Legend (1872), Part V. The Inn at Genoa
Death never takes one alone, but two!
Whenever he enters in at a door,
Under roof of gold or roof of thatch,
He always leaves it upon the latch,
And comes again ere the year is o'er,
Never one of a household only.
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Christus, The Golden Legend (1872), Part VI. The Farm-House in the Odenwald
There is a Reaper whose name is Death,
And with his sickle keen,
He reaps the bearded grain at a breath,
And the flowers that grow between.
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Reaper and the Flowers. Compare Arnim and Brentano—Erntelied, in Des Knaben Wunderhorn. (Ed. 1857), Volume I, p. 59
There is no Death! What seems so is transition;
This life of mortal breath
Is but a suburb of the life elysian,
Whose portal we call Death.
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Resignation, as reported in Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922)
There is no flock, however watched and tended,
But one dead lamb is there!
There is no fireside howsoe'er defended,
But has one vacant chair.
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Resignation, as reported in Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922)
Oh, what hadst thou to do with cruel Death,
Who wast so full of life, or Death with thee,
That thou shouldst die before thou hadst grown old!
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Three Friends of Mine, Part II, as reported in Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922)
Then fell upon the house a sudden gloom,
A shadow on those features fair and thin;
And softly, from the hushed and darkened room,
Two angels issued, where but one went in.
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Two Angels, Stanza 9
Were a star quenched on high,
For ages would its light,
Still travelling downward from the sky,
Shine on our mortal sight.
So when a great man dies,
For years beyond our ken,
The light he leaves behind him lies
Upon the paths of men.
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, "Charles Sumner", stanzas 8 and 9, The Poetical Works of Longfellow (1893, reprinted 1975), p. 324
J'avais cru plus difficile de mourir.
I imagined it was more difficult to die.
Louis XIV, To Madame de Maintenon. See Martin, History of France, XIV, Book XCI
That is not dead which can eternal lie / And with strange aeons even Death may die.
H.P. Lovecraft, in "The Call of Cthulhu"
But life is sweet, though all that makes it sweet
Lessen like sound of friends' departing feet;
And Death is beautiful as feet of friend
Coming with welcome at our journey's end.
James Russell Lowell, An Epistle to George William Curtis, as reported in Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922)
Victorosque dei celant, ut vivere durent felix esse mori.
Translation: The gods conceal from those destined to live how sweet it is to die, that they may continue living.
Marcus Annaeus Lucanus, Pharsalia, IV. 519
Libera Fortunæ mors est; capit omnia tellus
Quæ genuit.
Death is free from the restraint of Fortune; the earth takes everything which it has brought forth.
Marcus Annaeus Lucanus, Pharsalia, VII. 818
Pavido fortique cadendum est.
The coward and the courageous alike must die.
Marcus Annaeus Lucanus, Pharsalia, IX. 582
E mediis Orci faucibus ad hunc evasi modum.
From the very jaws of death I have escaped to this condition.
Lucretius, App. Met, VII, p. 191
Adde repertores doctrinarum atque leporum;
Adde Heliconiadum comites; quorum unus Homerus
Sceptra potitus, eadem aliis sopitu quiete est.
Nay, the greatest wits and poets, too, cease to live;
Homer, their prince, sleeps now in the same forgotten sleep as do the others.
Lucretius, De Rerum Natura, III. 1,049
What is our death but a night's sleep? For as through sleep all weariness and faintness pass away and cease, and the powers of the spirit come back again, so that in the morning we arise fresh and strong and joyous; so at the Last Day we shall rise again as if we had only slept a night, and shall be fresh and strong.
Martin Luther, as reported in, Dictionary of Burning Words of Brilliant Writers (1895) edited by Josiah Hotchkiss Gilbert, p. 178
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In the midst of death we are in life. Life is the only reality; what men call death is but a shadow… ~ George MacDonald
Death is something inevitable. When a man has done what he considers to be his duty to his people and his country, he can rest in peace. ~ Nelson Mandela
Each year, at least 20,000 people donate their whole body, after death, to medical facilities throughout the country to be used in medical research projects, anatomy lessons and surgical practice. After using your body, these facilities will then provide free cremation... and will either bury or scatter your ashes in a local cemetery or return them to your family, usually within a year or two. ~Jim T. Miller, Huffington Post (2014)
To every man upon this earth
Death cometh soon or late,
And how can man die better
Than facing fearful odds,
For the ashes of his fathers
And the temples of his gods?
Thomas Babington Macaulay, 1st Baron Macaulay, Lays of Ancient Rome, Horatius, XXVII
"In the midst of life we are in death," said one; it is more true that in the midst of death we are in life. Life is the only reality; what men call death is but a shadow — a word for that which cannot be — a negation, owing the very idea of itself to that which it would deny. But for life there could be no death. If God were not, there would not even be nothing. Not even nothingness preceded life. Nothingness owes its very idea to existence.
George MacDonald, From "Life" (Essay)
There is no such thing as death.
In nature nothing dies.
From each sad remnant of decay
Some forms of life arise.
Charles Mackay, There is No Such Thing as Death, as reported in Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922)
"God giveth His beloved sleep;" and in that peaceful sleep, realities, not dreams, come round their quiet rest, and fill their conscious spirits and their happy hearts with blessedness and fellowship. In His own time He will make the eternal morning dawn, and the hand that kept them in their slumbers shall touch them into waking, and shall clothe them when they arise according to the body of His own glory; and they, looking into His face, and flashing back its love, its light, its beauty, shall each break forth into singing as the rising light of that unsetting day touches their transfigured and immortal heads, in the triumphant thanksgiving, "I am satisfied, for I awake in Thy likeness."
Alexander Maclaren, as reported in, Dictionary of Burning Words of Brilliant Writers (1895) edited by Josiah Hotchkiss Gilbert, p. 178
If life has not made youby God's grace, through faith, holy — think you, will death, without faith do it? The cold waters of that narrow stream are no purifying bath in which you may wash and be clean. No! no! as you go down into them, you will come up from them.
Alexander Maclaren, as reported in, Dictionary of Burning Words of Brilliant Writers (1895) edited by Josiah Hotchkiss Gilbert, p. 180
I do not know why a man should be either regretful or afraid, as he watches the hungry sea eating away this "bank and shoal of time" upon which he stands, even though the tide has all but reached his feet — if he knows that God's strong hand will be stretched forth to him at the moment when the sand dissolves from under him, and will draw him out of many waters, and place him high above the floods on the stable land where there is "no more sea."
Alexander Maclaren, as reported in, Dictionary of Burning Words of Brilliant Writers (1895) edited by Josiah Hotchkiss Gilbert, p. 184
It is an ideal for which I am prepared to die.
Nelson Mandela, I am prepared to die statement in the Rivonia trial, Pretoria Supreme court (20 April 1964)
Death is something inevitable. When a man has done what he considers to be his duty to his people and his country, he can rest in peace. I believe I have made that effort and that is, therefore, why I will sleep for the eternity.
Nelson Mandela, from an interview for the documentary Mandela (1994); also in From Nelson Mandela By Himself: The Authorised Book of Quotations © 2010 by Nelson R. Mandela and The Nelson Mandela Foundation
In the real world, people die, and no self-promoting asshole in a fucking leotard can stop it.
Logan (2017), by James Mangold.
All our knowledge merely helps us to die a more painful death than the animals that know nothing.
Manilius. Joyzelle, Act I
Nascentes morimur, finiaque ab origine pendet.
We begin to die as soon as we are born, and the end is linked to the beginning.
Manilius, Astronomica, IV. 16
I want to meet my God awake.
Maria-Theresa, who refused to take a drug when dying, according to Thomas Carlyle
Hic rogo non furor est ne moriare mori?
This I ask, is it not madness to kill thyself in order to escape death?
Martial, Epigrams (c. 80-104 AD), II. 80. 2
When the last sea is sailed and the last shallow charted,
When the last field is reaped and the last harvest stored,
When the last fire is out and the last guest departed
Grant the last prayer that I shall pray, Be good to me, O Lord.
John Masefield, D'Avalos' Prayer, as reported in Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922)
When Life knocks at the door no one can wait,
When Death makes his arrest we have to go.
John Masefield, Widow in the Bye Street, Part II
Death opens unknown doors. It is most grand to die.
John Masefield, Pompey the Great, I
She thought our good-night kiss was given,
And like a lily her life did close;
Angels uncurtain'd that repose,
And the next waking dawn'd in heaven.
Gerald Massey, The Ballad of Babe Christabel, as reported in Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922)
Death hath a thousand doors to let out life.
I shall find one.
Philip Massinger, A Very Woman, Act V, scene 4
In this world, one day death is going to take the life from everything that you love. So while you're able, love what you have. Takes the death from your life.
Mercy Ealing to Joe Carpenter, from Sole Survivor (2000 film), teleplay by Richard Christian Matheson
Death is for the living and not for the dead.
Floyd McClure in Gates of Heaven (1980)
There is no death! the stars go down
To rise upon some other shore,
And bright in Heaven's jeweled crown,
They shine for ever more.
John L. McCreery, Arthur's Home Magazine (July, 1863), Volume 22, p. 41. Wrongly ascribed to Bulwer-Lytton
At the end of your life, you're lucky if you die.
Bret McKenzie, "Think About It Think Think About It" - Flight of the Conchords
It nice it happen to you. Like you come to the island and had a holiday. Sun didn't burn you red-red, just brown. You sleep and no mosquito eat you. But the truth is, it bound to happen if you stay long enough. So take that nice picture you got in your head home with you, but don't be fooled. We lonely here mostly too. If we lucky, maybe, we got some nice pictures to take with us.
Jamaican Woman, in Meet Joe Black, (1998)
O that we may all be living in such a state of preparedness, that, when summoned to depart, we may ascend the summit whence faith looks forth on all that Jesus hath suffered and done, and exclaiming, " We have waited for Thy salvation, O Lord," lie down with Moses on Pisgah, to awake with Moses in paradise.
Henry Melvill, as reported in, Dictionary of Burning Words of Brilliant Writers (1895) edited by Josiah Hotchkiss Gilbert, p. 181
He whom the gods love dies young.
Menander, Dis Exapaton; also in Dionysius, Ars Rhetorica, Volume V, p. 364, Reiske's Edition
There's nothing certain in man's life but this:
That he must lose it.
Owen Meredith (Lord Lytton), Clytemnestra, Part XX
No man who is fit to live need tear to die. Poor, timorous, faithless souls that we are! How we shall smile at our vain alarms when the worst has happened! To us here, death is the most terrible thing we know. But when we have tasted its reality, it will mean to us birth, deliverance, a new creation of ourselves. It will be what health is to the sick man. It will be what home is to the exile. It will be what the loved one given - back is to the bereaved. As we draw near to it, a solemn gladness should fill our hearts. It is God's great morning lighting up the sky. Our fears are the terror of children in the night. The night with its terrors, its darkness, its feverish dreams, is passing away; and when we awake, it will be into the sunlight of God.
George S. Merriam, as reported in, Dictionary of Burning Words of Brilliant Writers (1895) edited by Josiah Hotchkiss Gilbert, p. 181
If I should die to-night,
My friends would look upon my quiet face
Before they laid it in its resting-place,
And deem that death had left it almost fair.
Robert C. V. Meyers, If I should Die Tonight, in 100 Choice Selections, No. 27, p. 172
Death did not come to my mother
Like an old friend.
She was a mother, and she must
Conceive him.
Up and down the bed she fought crying
Help me, but death
Was a slow child
Heavy.
Josephine Miles, "Conception" (1974) st. 1–2; Collected Poems (1983)
Aujourd'hui si la mort n' existait pas, il faudrait l'inventer.
Today if death did not exist, it would be necessary to invent it.
Millaud, when voting for the death of Louis XVI; Otto von Bismarck used same expression to Chevalier Nigra, referring to Italy, as reported in Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922)
Death is delightful. Death is dawn,
The waking from a weary night
Of fevers unto truth and light.
Joaquin Miller, Even So, Stanza 35
Death cannot come To him untimely who is fit to die; The less of this cold world, the more of heaven; The briefer life, the earlier immortality.
Henry Hart Milman, as reported in, Dictionary of Burning Words of Brilliant Writers (1895) edited by Josiah Hotchkiss Gilbert, p. 180
O fairest flower; no sooner blown but blasted,
Soft, silken primrose fading timelessly.
John Milton, Ode on the Death of a Fair Infant Dying of a Cough, as reported in Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922)
So spake the grisly Terror.
John Milton, Paradise Lost (1667; 1674), Book II, line 704
I fled, and cried out Death;
Hell trembled at the hideous name, and sigh'd
From all her caves, and back resounded Death.
John Milton, Paradise Lost (1667; 1674), Book II, line 787
Before mine eyes in opposition sits
Grim Death, my son and foe.
John Milton, Paradise Lost (1667; 1674), Book II, line 803
Death
Grinned horrible a ghastly smile, to hear
His famine should be filled.
John Milton, Paradise Lost (1667; 1674), Book II, line 845
Eas'd the putting off
These troublesome disguises which we wear.
John Milton, Paradise Lost (1667; 1674), Book IV, line 739
Behind her Death
Close following pace for pace, not mounted yet
On his pale horse.
John Milton, Paradise Lost (1667; 1674), Book X, line 588
How gladly would I meet
Mortality my sentence, and be earth
Insensible! how glad would lay me down
As in my mother's lap!
John Milton, Paradise Lost (1667; 1674), Book X, line 775
And over them triumphant Death his dart
Shook, but delay'd to strike, though oft invoked.
John Milton, Paradise Lost (1667; 1674), Book XI, line 491
Nous sommes tous mortels, et chacun est pour soi.
We are all mortal, and each one is for himself.
Molière, L'École des Femmes, II, 6
On n'a point pour la mort de dispense de Rome.
Rome can give no dispensation from death.
Molière, L'Etourdi, II, 4
Philosophy first commands us to have death ever before our eyes, to anticipate it and consider it beforehand, and then she gives us rules and caveats in order to forestall our being hurt by our reflections!
Montaigne, Essays, M. Screech, trans. (1991), Book III, Chapter 12, “Of Physiognomy,” p.1190
La mort (dict on) nous acquitte de toutes nos obligations.
Death, they say, acquits us of all obligations.
Michel de Montaigne, Essays, Book I, Chapter 7; also La mort est la recepte a touts maulx Montaigne—Essays, Book II, Chapter III
There's nothing terrible in death;
'Tis but to cast our robes away,
And sleep at night, without a breath
To break repose till dawn of day.
James Montgomery, In Memory of E. G, as reported in Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922)
Thus star by star declines
Till all are passed away,
As morning high and higher shines
To pure and perfect day:
Nor sink those stars in empty night;
They hide themselves in heaven's pure light.
James Montgomery, as reported in, Dictionary of Burning Words of Brilliant Writers (1895) edited by Josiah Hotchkiss Gilbert, p. 177
Weep not for those whom the veil of the tomb
In life's happy morning hath hid from our eyes,
Ere sin threw a blight o'er the spirit's young bloom
Or earth had profaned what was born for the skies.
Thomas Moore, Song, Weep not for Those, as reported in Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922)
How short is human life! the very breath
Which frames my words accelerates my death.
Hannah More, King Hezekiah, as reported in Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922)
A dreaded sunny day
So I meet you at the cemetry gates
Keats and Yeats are on your side
While Wilde is on mine
So we go inside and we gravely read the stones
All those people, all those lives
Where are they now?
With loves, and hates
And passions just like mine
They were born
And then they lived
And then they died
It seems so unfair
I want to cry
Morrissey and Johnny Marr, Cemetry Gates, The Queen Is Dead (1986)
At end of Love, at end of Life,
At end of Hope, at end of Strife,
At end of all we cling to so—
The sun is setting—must we go?

At dawn of Love, at dawn of Life,
At dawn of Peace that follows Strife,
At dawn of all we long for so—
The sun is rising—let us go.
Louise Chandler Moulton, At End, as reported in Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922)
There is rust upon locks and hinges,
And mould and blight on the walls,
And silence faints in the chambers,
And darkness waits in the halls.
Louise Chandler Moulton, House of Death, as reported in Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922)
Yes, death, — the hourly possibility of it, — death is the sublimity of life.
William Mountford, as reported in, Dictionary of Burning Words of Brilliant Writers (1895) edited by Josiah Hotchkiss Gilbert, p. 177
Death is not the opposite of life; it exists as a part of them.
Haruki Murakami, in Norwegian Wood (1987)
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When you think of your own death, the fact that all the good things in life will come to an end is certainly a reason for regret. But that doesn't seem to be the whole story. Most people want there to be more of what they enjoy in life, but for some people, the prospect of nonexistence is itself frightening, in a way that isn't adequately explained by what has been said so far. The thought that the world will go on without you, that you will become nothing, is very hard to take in.
Thomas Nagel, What Does It All Mean?: A Very Short Introduction to Philosophy (1987), Ch. 9. Death
The fear of death is very puzzling, in a way that regret about the end of life is not. It's easy to understand that we might want to have more life, more of the things it contains, so that we see death as a negative evil. But how can the prospect of your own nonexistence be alarming in a positive way? If we really cease to exist at death, there's nothing to look forward to, so how can there be anything to be afraid of? If one thinks about it logically, it seems as though death should be something to be afraid of only if we will survive it, and perhaps undergo some terrifying transformation. But that doesn't prevent many people from thinking that annihilation is one of the worst things that could happen to them.
Thomas Nagel, What Does It All Mean?: A Very Short Introduction to Philosophy (1987), Ch. 9. Death
I do not think life will change for the better without an assault on the establishment, which goes on exploiting the wretched of the earth. This belief lies at the heart of the concept of revolutionary suicide. Thus it is better to oppose the forces that would drive me to self-murder than to endure them. Although I risk the likelihood of death, there is at least the possibility, if not the probability, of changing intolerable conditions.
Huey P. Newton, Revolutionary Suicide (1973), p. 3
The biggest part of my life I did not trust people who were not scared of dying, because when you get older, you think about death more and more times. I think if we could choose, no one wants to die. That's why we can come to the conclusion that everyone wants to have the eternal life, which seems to become possible in the future due to the developments in the medical science. But the question is not really if you want eternal life, it is more if you want to have eternal life at your children's expense. By the way: we would get big ecologic problems if we all remain alive.
Jack Nicholson replying to the question if he would like to have the eternal life in an interview with Dutch magazine FilmValley (April 2008)
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File:Chromology The Mirror.jpg
I don't know what God is.
I don't know what death is.
But I believe they have between them
some fervent and necessary arrangement. ~ Mary Oliver
All humans will, without exception, eventually die. After they die, the place they go is Mu (nothingness).
Death Note vol. 12 pg. 188 by Tsugumi Ohba
I don't know what God is.
I don't know what death is.
But I believe they have between them
some fervent and necessary arrangement.
Mary Oliver, Red Bird (2008), "Sometimes", § 1
And die with decency.
Thomas Otway, Venice Preserved, Act V, scene 3
Tendimus huc omnes; metam properamus ad unam. Omnia sub leges mors vocat atra suas.
We are all bound thither; we are hastening to the same common goal. Black death calls all things under the sway of its laws.
Ovid, Ad Liviam, 359
Stulte, quid est somnus, gelidæ nisi mortis imago?
Longa quiescendi tempora fata dabunt.
Thou fool, what is sleep but the image of death? Fate will give an eternal rest.
Ovid, Amorum (16 BC), II. 9. 41
Ultima semper
Expectanda dies homini est, dicique beatus
Ante obitum nemo et suprema funera debet.
Man should ever look to his last day, and no one should be called happy before his funeral.
Ovid, Metamorphoses, III. 135
Nec mihi mors gravis est posituro morte dolores.
Death is not grievous to me, for I shall lay aside my pains by death.
Ovid, Metamorphoses, III. 471
Quocunque adspicias, nihil est nisi mortis imago.
Wherever you look there is nothing but the image of death.
Ovid, Tristium, I. 2. 23
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It was said that life was cheap in Ankh-Morpork. This was, of course, completely wrong. Life was often very expensive; you could get death for free. ~ Terry Pratchett in Pyramids
See my lips tremble and my eyeballs roll, Suck my last breath, and catch my flying soul! ~ Alexander Pope
I don't care when I die, when you die, you die. What I don't want is to die in my bed. To be killed in an accident or to be shot is my preferred way to die.
Ashraf Pahlavi, In Bitter American Exile, the Shah's Twin Sister, Ashraf, Defends Their Dynasty, People (May 05, 1980)
Death's but a path that must be trod,
If man would ever pass to God.
Thomas Parnell, Night-Piece on Death, line 67
Reflect on death as in Jesus Christ, not as without Jesus Christ. Without Jesus Christ it is dreadful, it is alarming, it is the terror of nature. In Jesus Christ it is fair and lovely, it is good and holy, it is the joy of saints.
Blaise Pascal, as reported in, Dictionary of Burning Words of Brilliant Writers (1895) edited by Josiah Hotchkiss Gilbert, p. 176
Death ends a life, but not a relationship. Those memories, I think, linger in love. These honored dead have returned to the love that created them, and we miss their faces that we’ll see no more. Yet, we know at the deepest level of our being that something of who they were, and are now, endures at a whole new dimension of reality. And our true nature is to trust and embrace both life and death. As Thornton Wilder once wrote, 'There is a land of the living and the land of the dead, and the only bridge is love, the only survivor, the only meaning.'
Jerry Parr, speech (December 2000)
Death is repose, but the thought of death disturbs all repose.
Cesare Pavese, This Business of Living, 1938-06-07
Death comes to all. His cold and sapless hand
Waves o'er the world, and beckons us away.
Who shall resist the summons?
Thomas Love Peacock, Time
O lady, he is dead and gone!
Lady, he's dead and gone!
And at his head a green grass turfe,
And at his heels a stone.
Thomas Percy, Reliques. The Friar of Orders Gray
For death betimes is comfort, not dismay,
And who can rightly die needs no delay.
Petrarch, To Laura in Death. Canzone V, Stanza 6
Earl of Sandwich: 'Pon my honor, Wilkes, I don't know whether you'll die on the gallows or of the pox.
John Wilkes: That must depend my Lord, upon whether I first embrace your Lordship's principles, or your Lordship's mistresses.
Exchange retold by Sir Charles Petrie, in The Four Georges, p. 133 (1935)
Nam vita morti propior est quotidie.
For life is nearer every day to death.
Phaedrus, Fables, Book IV. 25. 10
Look forward a little further to the period when all the noise and tumult and business of this world shall have closed forever.
John Gregory Pike, as reported in, Dictionary of Burning Words of Brilliant Writers (1895) edited by Josiah Hotchkiss Gilbert, p. 174
Quem dii diligunt,
Adolescens moritur, dum valet, sentit, sapit.
He whom the gods love dies young, whilst he is full of health, perception, and judgment.
Plautus, Bacchides, Act IV. 7. 18
Omnibus a suprema die eadem, quæ ante primum; nec magis a morte sensus ullus aut corpori aut animæ quam ante natalem.
His last day places man in the same state as he was before he was born; nor after death has the body or soul any more feeling than they had before birth.
Pliny the Elder, Historia Naturalis, LVI. 1
De mortuis nil nisi bonum.
Concerning the dead nothing but good shall be spoken.
Plutarch, Life of Solon. Given as a saying of Solon. Attributed also to Chilo
Come! let the burial rite be read—
The funeral song be sung!—
An anthem for the queenliest dead
That ever died so young—
A dirge for her, the doubly dead
In that she died so young.
Edgar Allan Poe, Lenore, Stanza 1
Out—out are the lights—out all!
And, over each quivering form,
The curtain, a funeral pall,
Comes down with the rush of a storm,
And the angels, all pallid and wan,
Uprising, unveiling, affirm
That the play is the tragedy, "Man,"
And its hero the Conqueror Worm.
Edgar Allen Poe, The Conqueror Worm, Stanza 5
See my lips tremble and my eyeballs roll,
Suck my last breath, and catch my flying soul!
Alexander Pope, Eloisa to Abelard (1717), line 323
O Death, all eloquent! you only prove
What dust we dote on, when 'tis man we love.
Alexander Pope, Eloisa to Abelard (1717), line 355
Till tired, he sleeps, and life's poor play is o'er.
Alexander Pope, An Essay on Man (1733-34), Epistle II, line 282
But thousands die without or this or that,
Die, and endow a college or a cat.
Alexander Pope, Moral Essays (1731-35), Epistle III, line 95
Tell me, my soul! can this be death?
Alexander Pope, The Dying Christian to His Soul; Pope attributes his inspiration to Hadrian and to a Fragment of Sappho, as reported in Croly's edition of Pope (1835). Thomas Flatman, used a similar paraphrase before Pope was born in Thoughts on Death (1674).
The world recedes; it disappears;
Heav'n opens on my eyes; my ears
With sounds seraphic ring:
Lend, lend your wings! I mount! I fly!
O Grave! where is thy victory?
O Death! where is thy sting?
Alexander Pope, The Dying Christian to His Soul
Vital spark of heavenly flame!
Quit, oh quit this mortal frame.
Alexander Pope, The Dying Christian to His Soul
By foreign hands thy dying eyes were clos'd,
By foreign hands thy decent limbs compos'd,
By foreign hands thy humble grave adorn'd,
By strangers honour'd, and by strangers mourn'd.
Alexander Pope, Elegy to the Memory of an Unfortunate Lady (1717), line 51
A heap of dust remains of thee;
'Tis all thou art, and all the proud shall be!
Alexander Pope, Elegy to the Memory of an Unfortunate Lady (1717), line 73
An uneasy rhythm of life
is more life like than an easy death.
Suman Pokhrel, Khorampa
It was said that life was cheap in Ankh-Morpork. This was, of course, completely wrong. Life was often very expensive; you could get death for free.
Terry Pratchett in Pyramids (1989)
I am death, not taxes. I turn up only once.
Terry Pratchett, Feet of Clay (1996)
Teach him how to live,
And, oh! still harder lesson! how to die.
Beilby Porteus, Death, line 316
Sunt aliquid Manes: letum non omnia finit,
Luridaque evictos effugit umbra rogos.
Q
Death aims with fouler spite
At fairer marks.
Francis Quarles, Divine Poems (Ed. 1669)
It is the lot of man but once to die.
Francis Quarles, Emblems, Book V, Emblem 7
Withdrawn into the peace of this desert,
along with some books, few but wise,
I live in conversation with the deceased,
and listen to the dead with my eyes.
Francisco de Quevedo, From the Tower
R
But death we are, and death have always been. ~ Anne Rice
Mortal danger is an effective antidote for fixed ideas. ~ Erwin Rommel
To fear love is to fear life, and those who fear life are already three parts dead. ~ Bertrand Russell
Je m'en vais chercher un grand peut-être; tirez le rideau, la farce est jouée.
I am going to seek a great perhaps; draw the curtain, the farce is played.
Attributed to Rabelais by tradition; in Motteux's Life of Rabelais this is paraphrased: "I am about to leap into the dark"; also Notice sur Rabelais in Œuvres de F. Rabelais. Paris, 1837, as reported in Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922)
Et l'avare Achéron ne lâche pas sa proie.
And greedy Acheron does not relinquish its prey.
Jean Racine, Phèdre, Act II, scene 5
O eloquent, just, and mighty Death! whom none could advise, thou hast persuaded; what none hath dared, thou hast done; and whom all the world hath flattered, thou only hast cast out of the world and despised: thou hast drawn together all the far stretchèd greatness, all the pride, cruelty and ambition of man, and covered it all over with those two narrow words, Hic jacet!
Sir Walter Raleigh, Historie of the World, Book V, Part I, Chapter VI
Hushed in the alabaster arms of Death,
Our young Marcellus sleeps.
James R. Randall, John Pelham, as reported in Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922)
Death is always pointless... That is the point.
Michael Reaves & Brynne Chandler Reaves, in "Grief", episode of Gargoyles
Sorry about your Uncle Fred, but hey, sometimes you end up dead. Did somebody bonk him in the head? Did somebody pump him full of lead? What the...? Are they trying to be humorous? Betcha glad it wasn't you instead.
Brian Regan, Standing Up (2007)
Fort Belle, Elle Dort.
Sort Frele, Quelle Mort!
Rose Close, La Brise L'a Prise.
Very Fair, She Sleeps.
Frame Frail, What a Death!
Rose, Close, The Breeze Her Seized.
Comte de Resseguier, as reported in Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922)
But death we are, and death have always been.
Anne Rice, Interview with the Vampire (film), 1994, 1h16m14s
Der lange Schlaf des Todes schliesst unsere Narben zu, und der kutze des Lebens unsere Wunden.
The long sleep of death closes our scars, and the short sleep of life our wounds.
Jean Paul Richter, Hesperus, XX
The imminence of death serves to sweep away the inessential preoccupations for those who do not flee from the thought of death into triviality.
David Riesman, “Clinical and Cultural Aspects of the Aging Process,” Individualism Reconsidered (1954), p. 485
Some people think that we are stuck in physical reality like flies in flypaper or victims in quicksand, so that each motion we make only worsens our predicament and hastens our extinction. Others see the universe as a sort of theater into which we are thrust at birth and from which we depart forever at death. In the backs of their minds people with either attitude will see a built-in threat in each new day; even joy will be suspect because it, too, must end in the body's eventual death. I used to feel this way. When I fell in love with Rob, my joy served to double the underlying sense of tragedy I felt, as if death mocked me all the more by making life twice as precious. I saw each day bringing me closer to a total extinction that I could hardly imagine, but which I resented with growing vehemence.
Jane Roberts, The Seth Material (1970), p. 123
However dreary we may have felt life to be here, yet when that hour comes — the winding up of all things, the last grand rush of darkness on our spirits, the hour of that awful sudden wrench from all we have ever known or loved, the long farewell to sun, moon, stars, and light — brother man, I ask you this day, and I ask myself humbly and fearfully, "What will then be finished? When it is finished, what will it be? Will it be the butterfly existence of pleasure, the mere life of science, a life of uninterrupted sin and self-gratification, or will it be, 'Father, I have finished the work which Thou gavest me to do?'"
Frederick William Robertson, as reported in, Dictionary of Burning Words of Brilliant Writers (1895) edited by Josiah Hotchkiss Gilbert, p. 175
Every day His servants are dying modestly and peacefully — not a word of victory on their lips; but Christ's deep triumph in their hearts — watching the slow progress of their own decay, and yet so far emancipated from personal anxiety that they are still able to think and plan for others, not knowing that they are doing any great thing. They die, and the world hears nothing of them; and yet theirs was the completest victory. They came to the battle field, the field to which they had been looking forward all their lives, and the enemy was not to be found. There was no foe to fight with.
Frederick William Robertson, as reported in, Dictionary of Burning Words of Brilliant Writers (1895) edited by Josiah Hotchkiss Gilbert, p. 182
Those that he loved so long and sees no more,
Loved and still loves—not dead, but gone before,
He gathers round him.
Samuel Rogers, Human Life, line 739
Mortal danger is an effective antidote for fixed ideas.
Erwin Rommel, as quoted in The Rommel Papers (1982) edited by Basil Henry Liddell Hart
Sleep that no pain shall wake,
Night that no morn shall break,
Till joy shall overtake
Her perfect peace.
Christina G. Rossetti, Dream-Land, Stanza 4
There is no music more for him:
His lights are out, his feast is done;
His bowl that sparkled to the brim
Is drained, is broken, cannot hold.
Christina G. Rossetti, Peal of Bells
When I am dead, my dearest,
Sing no sad songs for me;
Plant thou no roses at my head,
No shady cypress tree.
Christina G. Rossetti, Song, as reported in Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922)
It has been commonly observed that blood, wounds, cries and groans, the preparations for painful operations, and everything which directs the senses towards things connected with suffering, are usually the first to make an impression on all men. The idea of destruction, a more complex matter, does not have so great an effect; the thought of death affects us later and less forcibly, for no one knows from his own experience what it is to die; you must have seen corpses to feel the agonies of the dying. But when once this idea is established in the mind, there is no spectacle more dreadful in our eyes, whether because of the idea of complete destruction which it arouses through our senses, or because we know that this moment must come for each one of us and we feel ourselves all the more keenly affected by a situation from which we know there is no escape.
Rousseau, Emile Book IV
Je m'em vais voir le soleil pour la dernière fois.
I go to see the sun for the last time.
Rousseau's last words, as reported in Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922)
Death is the privilege of human nature,
And life without it were not worth our taking:
Thither the poor, the pris'ner, and the mourner
Fly for relief, and lay their burthens down.
Nicholas Rowe, The Fair Penitent (1703), Act V, scene 1, line 138
I died as a mineral and became a plant,
I died as plant and rose to animal,
I died as animal and I was Man.
Why should I fear? When was I less by dying?
Yet once more I shall die as Man, to soar
With angels blest; but even from angelhood
I must pass on: all except God doth perish.
When I have sacrificed my angel-soul,
I shall become what no mind e'er conceived.
Oh, let me not exist! for Non-existence
Proclaims in organ tones, To Him we shall return.
I believe that when I die I shall rot, and nothing of my ego will survive. I am not young and I love life. But I should scorn to shiver with terror at the thought of annihilation. Happiness is nonetheless true happiness because it must come to an end, nor do thought and love lose their value because they are not everlasting. Many a man has borne himself proudly on the scaffold; surely the same pride should teach us to think truly about man's place in the world. Even if the open windows of science at first make us shiver after the cosy indoor warmth of traditional humanizing myths, in the end the fresh air brings vigour, and the great spaces have a splendour of their own.
Bertrand Russell, What I Believe (1925)
To fear love is to fear life, and those who fear life are already three parts dead.
Bertrand Russell, Marriage and Morals (1929), Ch. 19: Sex and Individual Well-Being
S
One day in the afternoon of the world, glum death will come and sit in you... ~ William Saroyan
Cowards die many times before their deaths; The valiant never taste of death but once. Of all the wonders that I yet have heard, It seems to me most strange that men should fear; Seeing that death, a necessary end, Will come when it will come. ~ William Shakespeare
To be, or not to be, —that is the question. ~ William Shakespeare
First our pleasures die—and then Our hopes, and then our fears—and when
These are dead, the debt is due, Dust claims dust—and we die too. ~Percy Bysshe Shelley
Death tending to his flowers, in Kuoleman puutarha, Hugo Simberg (1906)
A free man thinks of nothing less than of death; and his wisdom is a meditation not on death but on life. ~ Baruch Spinoza
Life into death—life’s other shape; no rupture, only crossing. ~ Dejan Stojanovic
If birth is a manifestation of life, death is another. ~ Dejan Stojanovic
Out of the chill and the shadow,
Into the thrill and the shine;
Out of the dearth and the famine,
Into the fulness divine.
Margaret E. Sangster, Going Home, as reported in Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922)
Death must be an evil — and the gods agree;
for why else would they live for ever?
Sappho (c. 600 B.C.). Poetarum Lesbiorum Fragmenta, ed. Edgar Lobel and Denys Page. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1955, no. 201
Yes [death has become a taboo]. Today people want to avoid the subject and hide the deaths that happen around them. It is as if the world were a hotel where the dead usually disappear at night, without any guest being able to notice their presence. While movies and television address death, they do not touch the fundamental point of finitude. The deaths are false, the good guys get shot and come back to life. It's another way of treating death as unreal.
José Saramago, in an interview with "ÉPOCA", 2005
Death is the inventor of God.
José Saramago, in an interview with "El País", 2009
One day in the afternoon of the world, glum death will come and sit in you, and when you get up to walk, you will be as glum as death, but if you're lucky, this will only make the fun better and the love greater.
William Saroyan, "One Day in the Afternoon of the World" (1964)
We may have years, we may have hours, but sooner or later, we push up flowers.
Tim Schafer, Grim Fandango
Death makes sad stories of us all.
Tim Schafer, Grim Fandango
I hope that Allah will not make me immortal, for death is his greatest gift to any true believer.
Scheherazade One Thousand and One Nights Tale of King Umar al-Numan, as reported in Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922)
Day's lustrous eyes grow heavy in sweet death.
Friedrich Schiller, Assignation, Stanza 4. Lord Lytton's translation
Und setzet ihr nicht das Leben ein,
Nie wird euch das Leben gewonnen sein.
If you do not dare to die you will never win life.
Friedrich Schiller, Wallenstein's Lager, XI. Chorus
Gut' Nacht, Gordon.
Ich denke einen langen Schlaf zu thun.
Good night, Gordon. I am thinking of taking a long sleep.
Friedrich Schiller, Wallenstein's Tod, V. 5. 85
Each day is a little life: every waking and rising a little birth, every fresh morning a little youth, every going to rest and sleep a little death.
Arthur Schopenhauer, Counsels and Maxims, T. B. Saunders, trans., § 13
Death is a human affirmation of a belief in “fate,” or level confusion. That is why the Bible says, “There is no death,” and why I demonstrated that death does not exist. I came to fulfill the law by reintepreting it. p. 10
When your body and your ego and your dreams are gone, you will know that you will last forever. Many think this is accomplished through death, but nothing is accomplished through death because death is nothing. Everything is accomplished through life, and life is of the mind and IN the Mind. The body neither lives nor dies because it cannot contain you who are life. If we share the same mind, you can overcome death because I did. Death is an attempt to resolve conflict by not willing at all. Like any other impossible solution which the ego attempts, it will not work. p. 132
Sleep is no more a form of death than death is a form of unconsciousness. Unconsciousness is impossible. You can rest in peace only because you are awake. Healing is release from the fear of waking and the substitution of the will to wake. The will to wake is the will to love, since ALL healing involves replacing fear with love. p. 195
Helen Schucman in A Course in Miracles (1976)
Death ends a life, not a relationship.
Morrie Schwartz, as quoted from Tuesdays with Morrie (1997)
Haste thee, haste thee, to be gone!
Earth flits fast and time draws on:
Gasp thy gasp, and groan thy groan!
Day is near the breaking.
Walter Scott, Death Chant, as reported in Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922)
Soon the shroud shall lap thee fast,
And the sleep be on thee cast
That shall ne'er know waking.
Walter Scott, Guy Mannering, Chapter XXVII
Like the dew on the mountain,
Like the foam on the river,
Like the bubble on the fountain,
Thou art gone, and for ever!
Walter Scott, Lady of the Lake (1810), Canto III, Stanza 16
Death is a stage in human progress, to be passed as we would pass from childhood to youth, or from youth to manhood, and with the same consciousness of an everlasting nature.
Edmund Sears, as reported in, Dictionary of Burning Words of Brilliant Writers (1895) edited by Josiah Hotchkiss Gilbert, p. 177
I have a rendezvous with Death
At some disputed barricade,
When Spring comes back with rustling shade
And apple-blossoms fill the air—
I have a rendezvous with Death
When Spring brings back blue days and fair.
It may be he shall take my hand
And lead me into his dark land
And close my eyes and quench my breath—
It may be I shall pass him still.
I have a rendezvous with Death
On some scarred slope of battered hill,
When Spring comes round again this year
And the first meadow-flowers appear.
God knows ’twere better to be deep
Pillowed in silk and scented down,
Where Love throbs out in blissful sleep,
Pulse nigh to pulse, and breath to breath,
Where hushed awakenings are dear …
But I’ve a rendezvous with Death
At midnight in some flaming town,
When Spring trips north again this year,
And I to my pledged word am true,
I shall not fail that rendezvous.
Alan Seeger, I Have a Rendezvous with Death, Poems (1917), p. 144
So die as though your funeral
Ushered you through the doors that led
Into a stately banquet hall
Where heroes banqueted.
Alan Seeger, Maktoob, as reported in Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922)
Quid est enim novi, hominem mori, cujus tota vita nihil aliud quam ad mortem iter est?
What new thing then is it for a man to die, whose whole life is nothing else but a journey to death?
Seneca the Younger, De Consol. ad Polyb. 30
Ultimum malorum est ex vivorum numero exire antequam moriaris.
It is an extreme evil to depart from the company of the living before you die.
Seneca the Younger, De Tranquilitate Animi. 2
Vivere nolunt, et mori nesciunt.
They will not live, and do not know how to die.
Seneca the Younger, Epistles, IV
Non amittuntur sed præmittuntur.
They are not lost but sent before.
Seneca the Younger, Epistles, LXIII. 16. Early sources in Cyprian—De Mortalitate. S, XX
Stultitia est timore mortis mori.
It is folly to die of the fear of death.
Seneca the Younger, Epistles, LXIX
Incertum est quo te loco mors expectet: itaque tu illam omni loco expecta.
It is uncertain in what place death may await thee; therefore expect it in any place.
Seneca the Younger, Epistolæ Ad Lucilium, XXVI
Dies iste, quem tamquam extremum reformidas, æterni natalis est.
This day, which thou fearest as thy last, is the birthday of eternity.
Seneca the Younger, Epistolæ Ad Lucilium, CII
Interim pœna est mori,
Sed sæpe donum; pluribus veniæ fuit.
Sometimes death is a punishment; often a gift; it has been a favor to many.
Seneca the Younger, Hercules Oetæus, CMXXX
Eripere vitam nemo non homini potest;
At nemo mortem; mille ad hanc aditus patent.
Any one may take life from man, but no one death; a thousand gates stand open to it.
Seneca the Younger, Phœnissæ, CLII
Optanda mors est, sine metu mortis mori.
To die without fear of death is to be desired.
Seneca the Younger, Troades, DCCCLXIX
Illi mors gravis incubat
Qui notus nimis omnibus
Ignotus moritur sibi
On him does death lie heavily, who, but too well known to all, dies to himself unknown.
Seneca the Younger, Thyestes, lines 401-403 (Chorus)
Mr. Bookman: Mr. Death, that little girl's only 8 years old. I'm ready now.
Mr. Death: I'm sorry Mr. Bookman, but I had to make other arrangements. It's impossible to change now. She's to come with me at midnight, so I must be there at midnight.
Mr. Bookman: And if you're not in there?
Mr. Death': You see if I didn't get in there at precisely midnight, then the whole timetable would be upset.
Rod Serling, in Twilight Zone episode "One for the Angels"
Death's pale flag advanced in his cheeks.
Seven Champions, Part III, Chapter XI
Main article: William Shakespeare quotes about death
To be, or not to be, —that is the question:—
Whether 'tis nobler in the mind to suffer
The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune
Or to take arms against a sea of troubles,
And by opposing end them? —To die, —to sleep,—
No more; and by a sleep to say we end
The heartache, and the thousand natural shocks
That flesh is heir to, —'tis a consummation
Devoutly to be wish'd. To die, —to sleep;—
To sleep! perchance to dream: —ay, there's the rub;
For in that sleep of death what dreams may come,
When we have shuffled off this mortal coil,
Must give us pause: there's the respect
That makes calamity of so long life;
For who would bear the whips and scorns of time,
The oppressor's wrong, the proud man's contumely,
The pangs of despis'd love, the law's delay,
The insolence of office, and the spurns
That patient merit of the unworthy takes,
When he himself might his quietus make
With a bare bodkin? who would these fardels bear,
To grunt and sweat under a weary life,
But that the dread of something after death,—
The undiscover'd country, from whose bourn
No traveller returns,—puzzles the will,
And makes us rather bear those ills we have
Than fly to others that we know naught of?
Thus conscience does make cowards of us all;
And thus the native hue of resolution
Is sicklied o'er with the pale cast of thought;
And enterprises of great pitch and moment,
With this regard, their currents turn awry,
And lose the name of action.
William Shakespeare, Hamlet, Act III, Scene I, Hamlet's soliloquy
Cowards die many times before their deaths;
The valiant never taste of death but once.
Of all the wonders that I yet have heard,
It seems to me most strange that men should fear;
Seeing that death, a necessary end,
Will come when it will come.
William Shakespeare, Julius Caesar, Act 2 scene 2
To-morrow, and to-morrow, and to-morrow,
Creeps in this petty pace from day to day
To the last syllable of recorded time,
And all our yesterdays have lighted fools
The way to dusty death. Out, out, brief candle!
Life’s but a walking shadow, a poor player
That struts and frets his hour upon the stage
And then is heard no more: it is a tale
Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,
Signifying nothing.
William Shakespeare, Macbeth, Act 5 scene 5
The babe is at peace within the womb,
The corpse is at rest within the tomb.
We begin in what we end.
Percy Bysshe Shelley, Fragments. Same idea in Thomas Browne, Hydriotaphia, p. 221. (St. John's ed.)
First our pleasures die—and then
Our hopes, and then our fears—and when
These are dead, the debt is due,
Dust claims dust—and we die too.
Percy Bysshe Shelley, Death (1820)
All buildings are but monuments of death,
All clothes but winding-sheets for our last knell,
All dainty fattings for the worms beneath,
All curious music but our passing bell:
Thus death is nobly waited on, for why?
All that we have is but death's livery.
James Shirley, as reported in Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922)
Death calls ye to the crowd of common men.
James Shirley, Cupid and Death, as reported in Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922)
The glories of our blood and state
Are shadows, not substantial things;
There is no armour against fate,
Death lays his icy hand on kings.
Scepter and crown
Must tumble down,
And, in the dust, be equal made
With the poor crooked scythe and spade.
James Shirley, Contention of Ajax and Ulysses, scene 3. ("Birth and State" in Percy's Reliques. These lines are said to have terrified Cromwell), as reported in Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922)
He that on his pillow lies,
Fear-embalmed before he dies
Carries, like a sheep, his life,
To meet the sacrificer's knife,
And for eternity is prest,
Sad bell-wether to the rest.
James Shirley, The Passing Bell, as reported in Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922)
Death is the event in life. It is our chief organizing principle. It’s why we rush and why we dawdle, why we better up our bosses and fawn over our children, why we like both fast cars and fading flowers, why we write poetry, why sex thrills us. It's why we wonder why we are here.
Russell Shorto, Descartes’ Bones (2008), ISBN 978-0-307-27566-0, p. 43
La mort sans phrase.
Death without phrases.
Emmanuel-Joseph Sieyès, voting for the death of Louis XVI. (Denied by him). He no doubt voted "La mort"; "sans phrase" being a note on the laconic nature of his vote, i.e. without remarks. The voting usually included explanations of the decision; as reported in Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922)
Yet 'twill only be a sleep:
When, with songs and dewy light,
Morning blossoms out of Night,
She will open her blue eyes
'Neath the palms of Paradise,
While we foolish ones shall weep.
Edward Rowland Sill, Sleeping, as reported in Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922)
We count it death to falter, not to die.
Simonides, Jacobs I, 63, 20
Dead is she? No; rather let us call ourselves dead, who tire so soon in the service of the Master whom she has gone to serve forever.
W. S. Smart, as reported in, Dictionary of Burning Words of Brilliant Writers (1895) edited by Josiah Hotchkiss Gilbert, p. 184
To our graves we walk
In the thick footprints of departed men.
Alexander Smith, Horton, line 570
Your death and my death are mainly of importance to ourselves. The black plumes will be stripped off our hearses within the hour; tears will dry, hurt hearts close again, our graves grow level with the church-yard, and although we are away, the world wags on. It does not miss us; and those who are near us, when the first strangeness of vacancy wears off, will not miss us much either.
Alexander Smith, "Of Death and the Fear of Dying", Dreamthorp: A Book of Essays Written in the Country (1864, reprinted 1972), pp. 70–71
Tarry with me, O my Saviour!
Lay my head upon Thy breast,
Till the morning; then awake me —
Morning of eternal rest.
Caroline S. Smith, as reported in, Dictionary of Burning Words of Brilliant Writers (1895) edited by Josiah Hotchkiss Gilbert, p. 181
Death is one of two things. Either it is annihilation, and the dead have no consciousness of anything; or, as we are told, it is really a change: a migration of the soul from this place to another.
Socrates, in Plato's Apology, 41
Death is not the worst evil, but rather when we wish to die and cannot.
Sophocles Electra, 1007.
Death! to the happy thou art terrible;
But how the wretched love to think of thee,
O thou true comforter! the friend of all
Who have no friend beside!
Robert Southey, Joan of Arc, Book I, line 318
Death is the waiting-room where we robe ourselves for immortality.
Charles Spurgeon, as reported in, Dictionary of Burning Words of Brilliant Writers (1895) edited by Josiah Hotchkiss Gilbert, p. 180
David: Lieutenant Saavik was right: you never have faced death --
Kirk: Not like this -- no. I haven't faced death, I cheated death. I tricked my way out of death and patted myself on the back for my ingenuity. I know nothing.
Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, screenplay by Jack B. Sowards and Nicholas Meyer. Story by Harve Bennett, Jack B. Sowards, Nicholas Meyer and Samuel A. Peeples
Death, for the author of the John Gospel as for the strict Moslem, is not the end of life, but a Something, a death-force, that contends with a life-force for the possession of man.
Oswald Spengler, The Decline of the West
Death is an equall doome
To good and bad, the common In of rest.
Edmund Spenser, The Faerie Queene (1589-96), II. 59. Also III. 3. 30
Death slue not him, but he made death his ladder to the skies.
Edmund Spenser, An Epitaph upon Philip Sydney, line 20
A free man thinks of death least of all things; and his wisdom is a meditation not of death but of life.
It’s not until they tell you you’re going to die soon that you realize how short life is. Time is the most valuable thing in life because it never comes back. And whether you spend it in the arms of a loved one or alone in a prison-cell, life is what you make of it. Dream big.
Stefán Karl Stefánsson, as quoted in "LazyTown’s Stefan Karl Stefansson confirms ‘inoperable’ cancer has returned" (16 March 2018), by Emma Kelly, Metro
Life into death—life’s other shape; no rupture, only crossing.
Dejan Stojanovic in Circling, “Awakening of a Flower” (Sequence: “A Conversations with Atoms”)
If birth is a manifestation of life, death is another.
Dejan Stojanovic in ”Death.”
Life and death merge in greatness.
Dejan Stojanovic in The Shape, "Hush" (Sequence: "Big Chamber")
They are both spectacular, life and death.
Dejan Stojanovic in The Shape, "Hush" (Sequence: "Big Chamber")
Chicó - John! John! Died! Oh my God, poor died of John Cricket! So yellow, and so shameless to die like that! What do I do in the world without John? John! John! There is no way, John Cricket died. Ended the smartest Cricket in the world. He completed his sentence and met with the only irredeemable evil, what is the mark of our strange destiny on earth, that fact without explanation that matches everything that is alive in one flock of guilty, because all that is alive dies. What can I do now? Only your funeral and pray for his soul.
Ariano Suassuna, Auto da Compadecida (1955)
There's no time to think about the starting or the end. We'll find out I'm told, my mother she told me so.
Sugar Ray, "Fly" (1997)
Everyone dies—the rearrangement of when is a matter of only statistical interest.
Michael Swanwick, Stations of the Tide (1991), Chapter 13
The problem is, information degrades each time a human cell replenishes itself. Death is inherent in flesh people. It seems to be written into the basic program—a way, perhaps, of keeping the universe from filling up with old people.
Michael Swanwick, Ancient Engines, in Asimov's Science Fiction magazine (February 1999), reprinted in David G. Hartwell (ed.) Year's Best SF 5 (2000), p. 428
Death, if thou wilt, fain would I plead with thee:
Canst thou not spare, of all our hopes have built,
One shelter where our spirits fain would be
Death, if thou wilt?
Algernon Charles Swinburne, A Dialogue, Stanza 1
For thee, O now a silent soul, my brother,
Take at my hands this garland and farewell.
Thin is the leaf, and chill the wintry smell,
And chill the solemn earth, a fatal mother.
Algernon Charles Swinburne, Ave Atque Vale, Stanza 18
And hands that wist not though they dug a grave,
Undid the hasps of gold, and drank, and gave,
And he drank after, a deep glad kingly draught:
And all their life changed in them, for they quaffed
Death; if it be death so to drink, and fare
As men who change and are what these twain were.
Algernon Charles Swinburne, Tristram of Lyonesse, The Sailing of the Swallow, line 789
On the mountains of memory, by the world's wellsprings,
In all men's eyes,
Where the light of the life of him is on all past things,
Death only dies.
Algernon Charles Swinburne, "Super Flumina Babylonis", The Complete Works of Algernon C. Swinburne (1925), vol. 2, p. 106
T
The great world's altar-stairs
That slope thro' darkness up to God. Alfred Tennyson
While there's life there’s hope, and only the dead have none. ~ Theocritus
Do not go gentle into that good night. Rage, rage against the dying of the light. ~ Dylan Thomas
Approaching death and death itself, the dissolution of the physical form, is always a great opportunity for spiritual realization. This opportunity is tragically missed most of the time, since we live in a culture that is almost totally ignorant of death, as it is almost totally ignorant of anything that truly matters... You then realize that death is an illusion...The end of illusion - that's all that death is. ~ Eckhart Tolle
Our soul’s perfection is our life’s purpose; any other purpose, keeping death in mind, has no substance. ~ Leo Tolstoy
Honesta mors turpi vita potior.
An honorable death is better than a dishonorable life.
Tacitus, Agricola, XXXIII
As for myself, may the "sweet Muses," as Virgil says, bear me away to their holy places where sacred streams do flow, beyond the reach of anxiety and care, and free from the obligation of performing each day some task that goes against the grain. May I no longer have anything to do with the mad racket and the hazards of the forum, or tremble as I try a fall with white-faced Fame. I do not want to be roused from sleep by the clatter of morning callers or by some breathless messenger from the palace; I do not care, in drawing my will, to give a money-pledge for its safe execution through anxiety as to what is to happen afterwards; I wish for no larger estate than I can leave to the heir of my own free choice. Some day or other the last hour will strike also for me, and my prayer is that my effigy may be set up beside my grave, not grim and scowling, but all smiles and garlands, and that no one shall seek to honour my memory either by a motion in the senate or by a petition to the Emperor.
Tacitus, "A Dialogue on Oratory", section 13, Dialogus, Agricola, Germania, trans. William Peterson (1914), p. 51. Excerpts from this passage, in a different translation, were read at the funeral of Justice Hugo L. Black, September 28, 1971, as they were found underlined in his books and were said to be a favorite passage: "Let the sweet Muses lead me to their soft retreats, their living fountains, and melodious groves, where I may dwell remote from care, master of myself … let me no more be seen in the wrangling forum, a pale and odious candidate for precarious fame … let me live free from solicitude … and when nature shall give the signal to retire may I possess no more than I may bequeath to whom I will. At my funeral let no token of sorrow be seen, no pompous mockery of woe. Crown me with chaplets; strew flowers on my grave, and let my friends erect no vain memorial to tell where my remains are lodged." The Works of Tacitus, Oxford trans., rev., vol. 2, pp. 408–9 (1854). The reference to Virgil is to The Georgics, book 2, line 476
Trust not your own powers till the day of your death.
Talmud, Aboth, 2
Death is not rare, alas! nor burials few,
And soon the grassy coverlet of God
Spreads equal green above their ashes pale.
Bayard Taylor, The Picture of St. John, Book III, Stanza 84
He that would die well must always look for death, every day knocking at the gates of the grave; and then the gates of the grave shall never prevail upon him to do him mischief.
Jeremy Taylor, Holy Dying, Chapter II, Part I
However convergent it be, evolution cannot attain to fulfilment on earth except through a point of dissociation. With this we are introduced to a fantastic and inevitable event which now begins to take shape in our perspective, the event which comes nearer with every day that passes: the end of all life on our globe, the death of the planet, the ultimate phase of the phenomenon of man. ...
Now when sufficient elements have sufficiently agglomerated, this essentially convergent movement will attain such intensity and such quality that mankind, taken as a whole, will be obliged—as happened to the individual forces of instinct—to reflect upon itself at a single point; that is to say, in this case, to abandon its organo-planetary foothold so as to shift its centre on to the transcendent centre of its increasing concentration. This will be the end and the fulfilment of the spirit of the earth.
The end of the world: the wholesale internal introversion upon itself of the noosphere, which has simultaneously reached the uttermost limit of its complexity and its centrality.
The end of the world: the overthrow of equilibrium, detaching the mind, fulfilled at last, from its material matrix, so that it will henceforth rest with all its weight on God-Omega. ...
The death of the materially exhausted planet; the split of the noosphere, divided on the form to be given to its unity; and simultaneously (endowing the event with all its significance and with all its value) the liberation of that percentage of the universe which, across time, space and evil, will have succeeded in laboriously synthesising itself to the very end. Not an indefinite progress, which is an hypothesis contradicted by the convergent nature of noogenesis, but an ecstasy transcending the dimensions and the framework of the visible universe.
Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, The Phenomenon of Man 1955, pp. 273, 287–289
Do we not all, in this very hour, recall a death-bed scene in which some loved one has passed away? And, as we bring to mind the solemn reflections of that hour, are we not ready to hear and to heed the voice with which a dying wife once addressed him who stood sobbing by her side: "My dear husband, live for one thing, and only one thing; Just one thing, — the glory of God, the glory of God!"
E. P. Tenney, as reported in, Dictionary of Burning Words of Brilliant Writers (1895) edited by Josiah Hotchkiss Gilbert, p. 186
The great world's altar-stairs
That slope thro' darkness up to God.
Alfred Tennyson, In Memoriam A.H.H. (1849), Part LV
Death has made
His darkness beautiful with thee.
Alfred Tennyson, In Memoriam A.H.H. (1849), LXXIV
God's finger touched him, and he slept.
Alfred Tennyson, In Memoriam A.H.H. (1849), LXXXV
But O! for the touch of a vanish'd hand,
And the sound of a voice that is still!
Alfred Tennyson, Break, Break, Break
Sunset and evening star,
And one clear call for me!
And may there be no moaning of the bar
When I put out to sea.
Alfred Tennyson, Crossing the Bar
Twilight and evening bell,
And after that the dark!
And may there be no sadness of farewell
When I embark.
Alfred Tennyson, Crossing the Bar
For tho' from out our bourne of Time and Place
The flood may bear me far,
I hope to see my Pilot face to face
When I have crossed the bar.
Alfred Tennyson, Crossing the Bar
The night comes on that knows not morn,
When I shall cease to be all alone,
To live forgotten, and love forlorn.
Alfred Tennyson, Mariana in the South. Last stanza
Whatever crazy sorrow saith,
No life that breathes with human breath
Has ever truly long'd for death.
Alfred Tennyson, The Two Voices (1832; 1842), Stanza 132
Sleep sweetly, tender heart, in peace;
Sleep, holy spirit, blessed soul,
While the stars burn, the moons increase,
And the great ages onward roll.
Sleep till the end, true soul and sweet.
Nothing comes to thee new or strange.
Sleep full of rest from head to feet;
Lie still, dry dust, secure of change.
Alfred Tennyson, "To J. S." [James Spedding], stanzas 18–19, The Poetic and Dramatic Works of Alfred Lord Tennyson (1899), p. 78
Dead men bite not.
Theodotus, when counselling the death of Pompey; see Plutarch, Life of Pompey
τάχ᾽ αὔριον ἔσσετ᾽ ἄμεινον ἐλπίδες ἐν ζωοῖσιν, ἀνέλπιστοι δὲ θανόντες
Dylan Thomas, In Country Sleep, And Other Poems (Dent, 1952).
Et "Bene," discedens dicet, "placideque quiescas;
Terraque securæ sit super ossa levis."
And at departure he will say, "Mayest thou rest soundly and quietly, and may the light turf lie easy on thy bones."
Tibullus, Camina, II. 4. 49
I hear a voice you cannot hear,
Which says, I must not stay;
I see a hand you cannot see,
Which beckons me away.
Thomas Tickell, Colin and Lucy
These taught us how to live; and (oh, too high
The price for knowledge!) taught us how to die.
Thomas Tickell, On the Death of Mr. Addison, line 81
Since every day a little of our life is taken from us—since we are dying every day—the final hour when we cease to exist does not of itself bring death; it merely completes the death process.
Paul Tillich, The Courage To Be (1952), p. 14
Death is a stripping away of all that is not you. The secret of life is to "die before you die" - and find that there is no death. p. 34
Eckhart Tolle, The Power of Now (1997)
Conscious Death. Apart from dreamless sleep... there is one other involuntary portal. It opens up briefly at the time of physical death. Even if you have missed all the other opportunities for spiritual realization during your lifetime, one last portal will open up for you immediately after the body has died. There are countless accounts by people who had a visual impression of this portal as radiant light and then returned from what is commonly known as a near-death experience. Many of them also spoke of a sense of blissful serenity and deep peace... This portal opens up only very briefly, and unless you have already encountered the dimension of the Unmanifested in your lifetime, you will likely miss it. Most people carry too much residual resistance, too much fear, too much attachment to sensory experience, too much identification with the manifested world. So they see the portal, turn away in fear, and then lose consciousness. Most of what happens after that is involuntary and automatic. Eventually, there will be another round of birth and death. p. 91
Eckhart Tolle, The Power of Now (1997)
Approaching death and death itself, the dissolution of the physical form, is always a great opportunity for spiritual realization. This opportunity is tragically missed most of the time, since we live in a culture that is almost totally ignorant of death, as it is almost totally ignorant of anything that truly matters. Every portal is a portal of death, the death of the false self. When you go through it, you cease to derive your identity from your psychological, mind-made form. You then realize that death is an illusion, just as your identification with form was an illusion. The end of illusion - that's all that death is. It is painful only as long as you cling to illusion. p. 92
Eckhart Tolle, The Power of Now (1997)
Memento mori—remember death! These are important words. If we kept in mind that we will soon inevitably die, our lives would be completely different. If a person knows that he will die in a half hour, he certainly will not bother doing trivial, stupid, or, especially, bad things during this half hour. Perhaps you have half a century before you die—what makes this any different from a half hour?
Leo Tolstoy, Path of Life, M. Cote, trans. (2002), p. 209
Those who are lighthearted remind me of death.
Leo Tolstoy, “Buddhist Wisdom,” A Calendar of Wisdom, P. Sekirin, trans. (1997), November 5
Our soul’s perfection is our life’s purpose; any other purpose, keeping death in mind, has no substance.
Leo Tolstoy, A Calendar of Wisdom, P. Sekirin, trans. (1997), November 23
The syllogism he had learnt from Kiesewetter’s Logic: “Caius is a man, men are mortal, therefore Caius is mortal,” had always seemed to him correct as applied to Caius, but certainly not as applied to himself. That Caius—man in the abstract—was mortal, was perfectly correct, but he was not Caius, not an abstract man, but a creature quite, quite separate from all others.
Leo Tolstoy, The Death of Ivan Ilych, ch. 6
The awful, terrible act of his dying was, he could see, reduced by those about him to the level of a casual, unpleasant, and almost indecorous incident (as if someone entered a drawing room defusing an unpleasant odor) and this was done by that very decorum which he had served all his life long. He saw that no one felt for him, because no one even wished to grasp his position
Leo Tolstoy, The Death of Ivan Ilych, ch. 7
It occurred to him that what had appeared perfectly impossible before, namely that he had not spent his life as he should have done, might after all be true. It occurred to him that his scarcely perceptible attempts to struggle against what was considered good by the most highly placed people, those scarcely noticeable impulses which he had immediately suppressed, might have been the real thing, and all the rest false. And his professional duties and the whole arrangement of his life and of his family, and all his social and official interests, might all have been false. He tried to defend all those things to himself and suddenly felt the weakness of what he was defending.
Leo Tolstoy, The Death of Ivan Ilych, ch. 11
He lay on his back and began to pass his life in review in quite a new way. In the morning when he saw first his footman, then his wife, then his daughter, and then the doctor, their every word and movement confirmed to him the awful truth that had been revealed to him during the night. In them he saw himself—all that for which he had lived—and saw clearly that it was not real at all, but a terrible and huge deception which had hidden both life and death.
Leo Tolstoy, The Death of Ivan Ilych, ch. 11
I believe if I should die,
And you should kiss my eyelids where I lie
Cold, dead, and dumb to all the world contains,
The folded orbs would open at thy breath,
And from its exile in the Isles of Death
Life would come gladly back along my veins.
Mary Ashley Townsend, Love's Belief (Credo), as reported in Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922)
So what if a kid dies? God will take care of him.
Tamerlan Tsarnaev, in April 2013, as quoted in "Boston Bombing Day 1: The Stunning Stop the Killers Made After the Attack" (18 April 2016), by Brian Ross, ABC News
Death is so preoccupied with life, that is has no time for anything else.
Mikhail Turovsky (b. 1933), Russian-American artist and aphorist. Itch of Wisdom (Cicuta Press, 1986)
Say the report is exaggerated.
Mark Twain, "The Report of My Death," Mark Twain in Eruption, edited by Bernard De Voto (1940), pp. 252–53. In 1897, Twain was living in London where a cousin, Dr. Jim Clemens, fell ill. The newspapers, believing Twain was near death, sent reporters to investigate. Twain made his remark when the correspondent for the Evening Sun told him his death had been reported in New York, and asked what he should cable in reply. Albert Bigelow Paine, Mark Twain (1912), vol. 2, chapter 197, p. 1039, gives a slightly different version of the story, ending, "Just say the report of my death has been grossly exaggerated." Often heard "… greatly exaggerated."
And God said, "A way must be conceived to pursue the dead beyond the tomb."
Mark Twain, Letters From the Earth (1909)
U
Only the feeble resign themselves to final death and substitute some other desire for the longing for personal immortality. In the strong the zeal for perpetuity overrides the doubt of realizing it, and their superabundance of life overflows upon the other side of death.
Miguel de Unamuno, Tragic Sense of Life (1913)
If a man despises the applause of the crowd of today, it is because he seeks to survive in renewed minorities for generations. "Posterity is an accumulation of minorities," said Gounod. He wishes to prolong himself in time rather than in space. The crowd soon overthrows its own idols and the statue lies broken at the foot of the pedestal without anyone heeding it; but those who win the hearts of the elect will long be the objects of a fervent worship in some shrine, small and secluded no doubt, but capable of preserving them from the flood of oblivion.
Miguel de Unamuno, Tragic Sense of Life (1913)
V
No one says in the morning: A day is soon past, let us wait for the night. ... Yet what we cannot be certain of for an hour, we sometimes feel assured of for life, and say: “If death is the end of everything, why give ourselves so much trouble?"
Vauvenargues, Reflections and Maxims, E. Lee, trans. (1903), p. 173
Go thou, deceased, to this earth which is a mother, and spacious and kind. May her touch be soft like that of wool, or a young woman, and may she protect thee from the depths of destruction. Rise above him, O Earth, do not press painfully on him, give him good things, give him consolation, as a mother covers her child with her cloth, cover thou him.
Vedic Funeral Rite, quoted in New York Times on the death of "Buffalo Bill", as reported in Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922)
Venit summa dies et ineluctabile tempus.
The supreme day has come and the inevitable hour.
Virgil, Æneid (29-19 BC), II. 324. Same in Lucan, VII. 197
Vixi, et quem dederat cursum fortuna, peregi:
Et nunc magna mei sub terras currit imago.
I have lived, and I have run the course which fortune allotted me; and now my shade shall descend illustrious to the grave.
Virgil, Æneid (29-19 BC), IV. 653
Irreameabilis unda.
The wave from which there is no return [the river Styx].
Virgil, Æneid (29-19 BC), VI. 425
Usque adeone mori miserum est?
Is it then so sad a thing to die?
Virgil, Æneid (29-19 BC), XII. 646
Decet imperatorem stantem mori.
It becomes an emperor to die standing (i.e. "in harness").
Vespasian, as reported in Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922)
C'est demain, ma belle amie, que je fais le saut perilleux.
It is today, my dear, that I take a perilous leap.
Last words of Voltaire, quoting the words of King Henry to Gabrielle d'Estrées, when about to enter the Catholic Church, as reported in Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922)
Le lâche fuit en vain; la mort vole à sa suite:
C'est en la défiant que le brave l'évite.
It is vain for the coward to flee; death follows close behind; it is only by defying it that the brave escape.
Voltaire, Le Triumvirat, IV. 7
The most important thing I learned on Tralfamadore was that when a person dies he only appears to die. He is still very much alive in the past, so it is very silly for people to cry at his funeral. All moments, past, present and future, always have existed, always will exist. The Tralfamadorians can look at all the different moments just that way we can look at a stretch of the Rocky Mountains, for instance. They can see how permanent all the moments are, and they can look at any moment that interests them. It is just an illusion we have here on Earth that one moment follows another one, like beads on a string, and that once a moment is gone it is gone forever.
Kurt Vonnegut, Slaughterhouse-Five
Everything was beautiful and nothing hurt.
Kurt Vonnegut, Slaughterhouse-Five (1969)
W
Every man dies. Not every man really lives.
Randall Wallace, in lines for William Wallace in Braveheart
But God, who is able to prevail, wrestled with him, as the angel did with Jacob, and marked him; marked him for his own.
Izaak Walton, Life of Donne, as reported in Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922)
Softly his fainting head he lay
Upon his Maker's breast;
His Maker kiss'd his soul away,
And laid his flesh to rest.
Isaac Watts, "Death of Moses", in Lyrics, as reported in Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922)
Hark! from the tombs a doleful sound.
Isaac Watts, "Funeral Thought", as reported in Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922)
The tall, the wise, the reverend head,
Must lie as low as ours.
Isaac Watts, Hymns and Spiritual Songs, Book II, Hymn 63
One may live as a conqueror, a king, or a magistrate; but he must die as a man.
Daniel Webster, as reported in, Dictionary of Burning Words of Brilliant Writers (1895) edited by Josiah Hotchkiss Gilbert, p. 173
I know death hath ten thousand several doors
For men to take their exits.
John Webster, Duchess of Malfi, Act IV, scene 2
I saw him now going the way of all flesh.
John Webster, Westward Ho! 2. 2
Like Moses to thyself convey,
And kiss my raptur'd soul away.
Charles Wesley, Collection Hymn, 229. Folio 221
Mysterious Night! When our first parent knew
Thee from report Divine, and heard thy name,
Did he not tremble for this lovely frame,
This glorious canopy of light and blue?
Yet 'neath a curtain of translucent dew,
Bathed in the rays of the great setting flame,
Hesperus, with the host of heaven came;
And lo! creation widened in man's view.
Who could have thought such darkness lay concealed
Within thy beams, O sun? or who could find,
While fly and leaf and insect stood revealed,
That to such countless orbs thou mad'st us blind?
Why do we then shun death with anxious strife?
If light can thus deceive, wherefore not life?
Joseph Blanco White, as reported in, Dictionary of Burning Words of Brilliant Writers (1895) edited by Josiah Hotchkiss Gilbert, p. 179
Joy, shipmate, joy
(Pleas'd to my soul at death I cry,)
Our life is closed, our life begins,
The long, long anchorage we leave,
The ship is clear at last, she leaps!
Joy, shipmate, joy!
Walt Whitman, Joy, Shipmate, Joy, as reported in Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922)
O, I see now that life cannot exhibit all to me, as day cannot,
I see that I am to wait for what will be exhibited by death.
Walt Whitman, Night on the Prairies, as reported in Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922)
Nothing can happen more beautiful than death.
Walt Whitman, Starting from Paumanok, No. 12, as reported in Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922)
Death is nature's way of saying, "Your table is ready."
Robin Williams, as quoted in The Fourth—And by Far the Most Recent—637 Best Things Anybody Ever Said (1990) edited by Robert Byrne, p, 518
It is not the fear of death
That damps my brow;
It is not for another breath
I ask thee now;
I could die with a lip unstirred.
Nathaniel Parker Willis; paraphrase of André's letter to Washington, as reported in Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922)
How beautiful it is for a man to die
Upon the walls of Zion! to be called
Like a watch-worn and weary sentinel,
To put his armour off, and rest in heaven!
Nathaniel Parker Willis, On the Death of a Missionary, as reported in Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922)
I don't wanna die
But I ain't keen on living either
Robbie Williams and Guy Chambers, Feel, Escapology (18 November 2002)
For I know that Death is a guest divine,
Who shall drink my blood as I drink this wine;
And he cares for nothing! a king is he—
Come on, old fellow, and drink with me!
With you I will drink to the solemn past,
Though the cup that I drain should be my last.
William Winter, Orgia, The Song of a Ruined Man
But he lay like a warrior taking his rest,
With his martial cloak around him.
Charles Wolfe, The Burial of Sir John Moore, as reported in Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922)
If I had thought thou couldst have died
I might not weep for thee;
But I forgot, when by thy side,
That thou couldst mortal be;
It never through my mind had passed,
That time would e'er be o'er
When I on thee should look my last,
And thou shouldst smile no more!
Charles Wolfe, Song, The Death of Mary, as reported in Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922)
O, sir! the good die first,
And they whose hearts are dry as summer dust
Burn to the socket.
William Wordsworth, The Excursion (1814), Book I
Death is the quiet haven of us all.
William Wordsworth, as reported in, Dictionary of Burning Words of Brilliant Writers (1895) edited by Josiah Hotchkiss Gilbert, p. 178
"But they are dead; those two are dead!
Their spirits are in Heaven!"
'Twas throwing words away; for still
The little Maid would have her will,
And said, "Nay, we are seven!"
William Wordsworth, We Are Seven, as reported in Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922)
He first deceased; she for a little tried
To live without him, lik'd it not, and died.
Sir Henry Wotton, On the Death of Sir Albert Morton's Wife, as reported in Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922)
People don't die that easily, really. ...As long as they've got something worth living for.
Phoenix Wright, Apollo Justice: Ace Attorney, Turnabout Succession
X
Y
Insatiate archer! could not one suffice?
Thy shaft flew thrice; and thrice my peace was slain!
Edward Young, Night Thoughts (1742-1745), Night I, line 212
Who can take
Death's portrait? The tyrant never sat.
Edward Young, Night Thoughts (1742-1745), Night II, line 52
The chamber where the good man meets his fate
Is privileged beyond the common walk
Of virtuous life, quite in the verge of heaven.
Edward Young, Night Thoughts (1742-1745), Night II, line 633
A death-bed's a detector of the heart.
Edward Young, Night Thoughts (1742-1745), Night II, line 641
Lovely in death the beauteous ruin lay;
And if in death still lovely, lovelier there;
Far lovelier! pity swells the tide of love.
Edward Young, Night Thoughts (1742-1745), Night III, line 104
Death is the crown of life;
Were death denyed, poor man would live in vain;
Were death denyed, to live would not be life;
Were death denyed, ev'n fools would wish to die.
Edward Young, Night Thoughts (1742-1745), Night III, line 523
The knell, the shroud, the mattock and the grave,
The deep, damp vault, the darkness, and the worm.
Edward Young, Night Thoughts (1742-1745), Night IV, line 10
And feels a thousand deaths, in fearing one.
Edward Young, Night Thoughts (1742-1745), Night IV, line 17
As soon as man, expert from time, has found
The key of life, it opes the gates of death.
Edward Young, Night Thoughts (1742-1745), Night IV, line 122
Early, bright, transient, chaste, as morning dew
She sparkled, was exhal'd, and went to heaven.
Edward Young, Night Thoughts (1742-1745), Night V, line 600
Death loves a shining mark, a signal blow.
Edward Young, Night Thoughts (1742-1745), Night V, line 1,011
Men drop so fast, ere life's mid stage we tread,
Few know so many friends alive, as dead.
Edward Young, Love of Fame, line 97
Z
Prefiero morir de pie que vivir de rodillas.
I'd rather die on my feet, than live on my knees.
Emiliano Zapata, as quoted in Liberation Theologies in North America and Europe‎ (1979) by Gerald H. Anderson and Thomas F. Stransky, p. 281.
Death is mighty, and is no one's friend.
Roger Zelazny, Lord of Light (1967)
While on a journey, Chuang Tzu found a skull, dry and parched. With sorrow he questioned and lamented the end to all things. When he finished speaking, he dragged the skull over, and using it as a pillow, lay down to sleep. In the night, the skull came to his dreams and said, "You are a fool to rejoice in the entanglements of life." Chuang Tzu couldn't believe this and asked "If I could return you to your life, you would want that, wouldn't you?"
Stunned by Chuang Tzu's foolishness the skull replied, "How do you know that it is bad to be dead?"
Zhuangzi, Zhuangzi
Bible
The Bible on Wikisource.
One event happeneth to them all.
Ecclesiastes, II. 14
The grasshopper shall be a burden, and desire shall fail; because man goeth to his long home, and the mourners go about the streets.
Ecclesiastes, XII. 5
For the living know that they will die, but the dead know nothing at all, nor do they have any more reward, because all memory of them is forgotten.
Ecclesiastes 9:5, NWT
Whatever your hand finds to do, do with all your might, for there is no work nor planning nor knowledge nor wisdom in the Grave, where you are going.
Ecclesiastes 9:10, NWT
Judge none blessed before his death.
Ecclesiasticus, XI. 28
For dust thou art, and unto dust shall thou return.
Genesis, III. 19
We all do fade as a leaf.
Isaiah. LXIV. 6
And those slain by Jehovah in that day will be from one end of the earth clear to the other end of the earth. They will not be mourned, nor will they be gathered up or buried. They will become like manure on the surface of the ground.
Jeremiah 25:33
The Lord gave, and the Lord hath taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord.
Job. I. 21
He shall return no more to his house, neither shall his place know him any more.
Job, VII. 10
The land of darkness and the shadow of death.
Job. X. 21
And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in Hell.
Jesus, in Matthew 10:28
When the Lamb broke the fourth seal, I heard the voice of the fourth living creature saying, “Come.” I looked, and behold, an ashen horse; and he who sat on it had the name Death; and Hades was following with him. Authority was given to them over a fourth of the earth, to kill with sword and with famine and with pestilence and by the wild beasts of the earth.
John of Patmos Revelation 6:7-8
And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God. And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.
John of Patmos, Revelation 21: 3–4 (KJV)
John of Patmos, in Revelation 21:3-4, New World Translation of the Holy Scriptures
The axe is laid unto the root of the trees.
Luke, III. 9
For he must rule as king until God has put all enemies under his feet. And the last enemy, death, is to be brought to nothing.
Paul of Tarsus, 1 Corinthians 15: 25-26, NWT
Death is swallowed up in victory. O Death where is thy sting, O Grave where is thy victory?
Paul of Tarsus, I Corinthians 15:54 - 56
There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death.
Proverbs 14:12 (KJV)
I have said ye are gods … But ye shall die like men.
Psalms. LXXXII. 6. 7
Quran
How can you refute God that you were without life and He gave you life? Again, He will cause you to die and again bring you to life, then you shall be brought back to Him. It is He who created for you all that is in the earth. And He directed Himself to the heaven, so He made them complete seven heavens; and He is Knower of all things
Quran 2:28-29
And no soul can die except by God's permission -- the term is fixed. And whoever desires the reward of this world, We give him of it, and whoever desires the reward of the Hereafter, We give him of it. And We shall reward the grateful.
Quran 3:145
Every soul will taste death, and you will only be given your (full) compensation on the Day of Resurrection. So he who is drawn away from the Fire and admitted to Paradise has attained (his desire). And what is the life of this world except the enjoyment of delusion.
Quran 3:185
Wherever you are, death will find you even if you hide yourselves in fortresses built up strong and high. Whenever people experiencefortune, they say that it is from God but whenever they experience misfortune, they say it is because of you, (O Muhammad). Tell them, "Everything is from God." What is wrong with these people that they do not even try to understand?
Quran 4:78
And says man: When I am dead, shall I truly be brought forth alive? Does not man remember that We created him before, when he was nothing? So by thy Lord! We shall certainly gather them together and the devils, then shall We bring them around Hell on their knees. Then We shall draw forth from every sect those most rebellious against the Beneficent. Again, We certainly know best those who deserve most to be burned therein. And there is not one of you but shall come to it. This is an unavoidable decree of thy Lord. And We shall deliver those who guard against evil, and leave the wrongdoers therein on their knees.
Quran 19:66-72
See they not that God, who created the heavens and the earth and was not tired by their creation, is able to give life to the dead? Aye, He is surely Possessor of power over allthings. And on the day when those who disbelieve are brought before Hell: 'Is it not true?' They will say 'Yea, by our Lord' He will say: 'Then taste the chastisement, because you disbelieved.'
Quran 46:33-34
And the intoxication of death will bring the truth; that is what you were trying to avoid.
Quran 50:19
(Muhammad), tell them, "The death from which you run away will certainly approach you. Then you will be returned to the One who knows the unseen and the seen, and He will inform you of about all that you had been doing".
Quran 62:8
Anonymous
Be happy while you're living,
For you're a long time dead.
Oh, stanch my bootless tears, my weeping is in vain;
I am not lost, for we in heaven shall one day meet again.
"The Bride's Buriall", in Raxburghe Ballads edited by Charles Hindley, as reported in Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922)
The death of one man is a tragedy, the death of millions is a statistic.
Xerxes the great did die;
And so must you and I.
New England Primer (1814), as reported in Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922)
Be happy while you're living,
For you're a long time dead.
Scotch Motto for a house, in Notes and Queries, (7 December 1901), p. 469; expression used by Edgar Wilson Nye, as reported in Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922)
A samurai once asked Zen Master Hakuin where he would go after he died. Hakuin answered "How am I supposed to know?"
"How do you know? You're a Zen master!" exclaimed the samurai.
"Yes, but not a dead one", Hakuin answered
Zen mondō, in Straight to the Heart of Zen: Eleven Classic Koans and Their Inner Meanings (2001) by Philip Kapleau
Ave Cæsar, morituri te salutant.
Hail Cæsar, we who are about to die salute you.
Hail Emperor, we salute you.
Theosophical Manuals No III: Death & After by Annie Besant (1894)
(Full text online multiple formats)
Who does not remember the story of the Christian missionary in Britain, sitting one evening in the vast hall of a Saxon king, surrounded by his thanes, having come thither to preach the gospel of his Master; and as he spoke of life and death and immortality, a bird flew in through an unglazed window, circled the hall in its flight, and flew out once more into the darkness of the night. The Christian priest bade the king see in the flight of the bird within the hall the transitory life of man, and claimed for his faith that it showed the soul, in passing from the hall of life, winging its way not into the darkness of night, but into the sunlit radiance of a more glorious world. Out of the darkness, through the open window of Birth, the life of a man comes to the earth; it dwells for a while before our eyes; into the darkness, through the open window of Death, it vanishes out of our sight. And man has questioned ever of Religion, Whence comes it? Whither goes it? and the answers have varied with the faiths.
Today, many a hundred year since Paulinus talked with Edwin, there are more people in Christendom who question whether man has a spirit to come any whence or to go any whither than, perhaps, in the world’s history could ever before have been found at one time. And the very Christians who claim that Death’s terrors have been abolished, have surrounded the bier and the tomb with more gloom and more dismal funeral pomp than have the votaries of any other creed. What can be more depressing than the darkness in which a house is kept shrouded, while the dead body is awaiting sepulture?...During the last few years, a great and marked improvement has been made. The plumes, cloaks, and weepers have well-nigh disappeared. The grotesquely ghastly hearse is almost a thing of the past, and the coffin goes forth heaped over with flowers instead of shrouded in the heavy black velvet pall. Men and women, though still wearing black, do not roll themselves up in shapeless garments like sable winding-sheets, as if trying to see how miserable they could make themselves by the imposition of artificial discomforts. Welcome common-sense has driven custom from its throne, and has refused any longer to add these gratuitous annoyances to natural human grief.
In literature and in art, alike, this gloomy fashion of regarding Death has been characteristic of Christianity. Death has been painted as a skeleton grasping a scythe, a grinning skull, a threatening figure with terrible face and uplifted dart, a bony scarecrow shaking an hourglass – all that could alarm and repel has been gathered round this rightly-named King of Terrors. Milton, who has done so much with his stately rhythm to mould the popular conceptions of modern Christianity, has used all the sinewy strength of his magnificent diction to surround with horror the figure of Death.
Not to multiply to weariness quotations from a book that is wholly composed of the doings and sayings of the disembodied man, let it suffice to give the final judgment on the victorious Soul: The defunct shall be deified among the Gods in the lower divine region, he shall never be rejected. … He shall drink from the current of the celestial river. … His Soul shall not be imprisoned, since it is a Soul that brings salvation to those near it. The worms shall not devour it (clxiv. 14-16).
The general belief in Reincarnation is enough to prove that the religions of which it formed a central doctrine believed in the survival of the Soul after Death; but one may quote as an example a passage from the Ordinances of Manu, following on a disquisition on metempsychosis, and answering the question of deliverance from rebirths.
Amid all these holy acts, the knowledge of self (should be translated, knowledge of the Self, Ātmā) is said (to be) the highest; this indeed is the foremost of all sciences, since from it immortality is obtained.* [* xii. 85. Trans. of Burnell and Hopkins.]
The testimony of the great Zarathustrean Religion is clear, as is shown by the following, translated from the Avesta, in which, the journey of the Soul after [5] death having been described, the ancient Scripture proceeds:
The soul of the pure man goes the first step and arrives at (the Paradise) Humata; the soul of the pure man takes the second step and arrives at (the Paradise) Hukhta; it goes the third step and arrives at (the Paradise) Hvarst; the soul of the pure man takes the fourth step and arrives at the Eternal Lights.
To it speaks a pure one deceased before, asking it: How art thou, O pure deceased, come away from the fleshly dwellings, from the earthly possessions, from the corporeal world hither to the invisible, from the perishable world hither to the imperishable, as it happened to thee – to whom hail!<BRE>Then speaks Ahura-Mazda: Ask not him whom thou asketh, (for) he is come on the fearful, terrible, trembling way, the separation of body and soul.* [* From the translation of Dhunjeebhoy Jamsetjee Medhora, Zoroastrian and some other Ancient Systems, xxvii.]
Now in some people a sense of repulsion arises at the idea that the ties they form on earth in one life are not to be permanent in eternity. But let us look at the question calmly for a moment. When a mother first clasps her baby-son in her arms, that one relationship seems perfect, and if the child should die, her longing would be to repossess him as her babe; but as he lives on through youth to manhood the tie changes, and the protective love of the mother and the clinging obedience of the child merge into a different love of friends and comrades, richer than ordinary friendship from the old recollections; yet later, when the mother is aged and the son in the prime of middle life, their positions are reversed and the son protects while the mother depends on him for guidance. Would the relation have been more perfect had it ceased in infancy with only the one tie, or is it not the richer and the sweeter from the different strands of which the tie is woven?
To me it seems that this very variety of experiences makes the tie stronger, not weaker, and that it is a rather thin and poor thing to know oneself and another in only one little aspect of many-sided humanity for endless ages of years; a thousand or so years of one person in one character would, to me, be ample, and I should prefer to know him or her in some new aspect of his nature. But those who object to this view need not feel distressed, for they will enjoy the presence of their beloved in the one personal aspect held by him or her in the one incarnation they are conscious of for as long as the desire for that presence remains.
Only let them not desire to impose their own form of bliss on everybody else, nor insist that the kind of happiness which seems to them at this stage the only one desirable and satisfying, must be stereotyped to all eternity, through all the millions of years that lie before us.
Nature gives to each in Devachan the satisfaction of all pure desires, and Manas there exercises that faculty of his innate divinity, that he “never wills in vain”. Will not this suffice?
But leaving aside disputes as to what may be to us “happiness” in a future separated from our present by millions of years, so that we are no more fitted now to formulate its conditions than is a child, playing with its dolls, to formulate the deeper joys and interests of its maturity, let us understand that, according to the teachings of the Esoteric Philosophy, the Devachanī is surrounded by all he loved on earth, with pure affection, and the union being on the plane of the Ego, not on the physical plane, it is free from all the sufferings which would be inevitable were the Devachanī present in consciousness on the physical plane with all its illusory and transitory joys and sorrows. It is surrounded by its beloved in the higher consciousness, but is not agonised by the knowledge of what they are suffering in the lower consciousness, held in the bonds of the flesh.
According to the orthodox Christian view, Death is a separation, and the “spirits of the dead” wait for reunion until those they love also pass through Death’s gateway, or – according to some – until after the judgment-day is over. As against this the Esoteric Philosophy teaches that Death cannot touch the higher consciousness of man, and that it can only separate those who love each other so far as their lower vehicles are concerned; the man living on earth, blinded by matter, feels separated from those who have passed onwards, but the Devachanī, says H. P. Blavatsky, has a complete conviction “that there is no such thing as Death at all”, having left behind it all those vehicles “over which Death has power”. Therefore, to its less blinded eyes, its beloved are still with it; for it, the veil of matter that separates has been torn away.
The rule is that a person who dies a natural death will remain from “a few hours to several short years” within the earth’s attraction – i. e., the Kāmaloka. But exceptions are the cases of suicides and those who die a violent death in general. Hence, one... who was destined to live, say, eighty or ninety years – but who either killed himself or was killed by some accident, let us suppose at the age of twenty – would have to pass in the Kāmaloka not “a few years”, but in this case sixty or seventy years... Premature death brought on by vicious courses, by over-study, or by voluntary sacrifice for some great cause, will bring about delay in Kāmaloka, but the state of the disembodied entity will depend on the motive that cut short the life.
In the victim’s case the natural hour of death was anticipated accidentally, while in that of the suicide death is brought on voluntarily and with a full and deliberate knowledge of its immediate consequences. Thus a man who causes his death in a fit of temporary insanity is not a felo de se, to the great grief and often trouble of the Life Insurance Companies. Nor is he left a prey to the temptations of the Kāmaloka, but falls asleep like any other victim... The population of Kāmaloka is thus recruited with a peculiarly dangerous element by all the acts of violence, legal and illegal, which wrench the physical body from the soul and send the latter into Kāmaloka clad in the desire body, throbbing with pulses of hatred, passion, emotion, palpitating with longings for revenge, with un-satiated lusts.
And we must remember that thoughts and motives are material, and at times marvelously potent material, forces, an we may then begin to comprehend why the [98] hero, sacrificing his life on pure altruistic grounds, sinks as his life-blood ebbs way into a sweet dream, wherein All that he wishes and all that he loves Come smiling round his sunny way, only to wake into active or objective consciousness when reborn in the Region of Happiness, while the poor unhappy and misguided mortal who, seeking to elude fate, selfishly loosens the silver string and breaks the golden bowl, finds himself terribly alive and awake, instinct with all the evil cravings and desires that embittered his world-life, without a body in which to gratify these, and capable of only such partial alleviation as is possible by more or less vicarious gratification, and this only at the cost of the ultimate complete rupture with his sixth and seventh principles, and consequent ultimate annihilation after, alas! prolonged periods of suffering.
Let it not be supposed that there is no hope for this class – the sane deliberate suicide. If, bearing steadfastly his cross, he suffers patiently his punishment, striving against carnal appetites still alive in him, in all their intensity, though, of course, each in proportion to the degree to which it had been indulged in earth-life – if, we say, he bears this humbly, never allowing himself to be tempted here or there into unlawful gratifications of unholy desires – then when his fated death-hour strikes, his four higher principles reunite, and, in the final separation that then ensues, it may well be that all may be well with him, and that he passes on to the gestation period and its subsequent developments.
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Last edited on 19 September 2021, at 19:45
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