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Quotations about Death


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God pours life into death and death into life without a drop being spilled. ~Author Unknown


All say, "How hard it is that we have to die" — a strange complaint to come from the mouths of people who have had to live. ~Mark Twain


I'm not afraid of death. It's the stake one puts up in order to play the game of life. ~Jean Giraudoux, Amphitryon, 1929


All our knowledge merely helps us to die a more painful death than animals that know nothing. ~Maurice Maeterlinck


To himself everyone is immortal; he may know that he is going to die, but he can never know that he is dead. ~Samuel Butler


Watching a peaceful death of a human being reminds us of a falling star; one of a million lights in a vast sky that flares up for a brief moment only to disappear into the endless night forever. ~Elisabeth Kübler-Ross


Gaily I lived as ease and nature taught,
And spent my little life without a thought,
And am amazed that Death, that tyrant grim,
Should think of me, who never thought of him.
~René Francois Regnier


The fear of death follows from the fear of life. A man who lives fully is prepared to die at any time. ~Mark Twain


We cannot banish dangers, but we can banish fears. We must not demean life by standing in awe of death. ~David Sarnoff


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


If you spend all your time worrying about dying, living isn't going to be much fun. ~From the television show Roseanne


Some people are so afraid to die that they never begin to live. ~Henry Van Dyke


He who doesn't fear death dies only once. ~Giovanni Falcone


People do not die for us immediately, but remain bathed in a sort of aura of life which bears no relation to true immortality but through which they continue to occupy our thoughts in the same way as when they were alive. It is as though they were traveling abroad. ~Marcel Proust


Because I could not stop for Death—
He kindly stopped for me—
The Carriage held but just Ourselves—
And Immortality....
~Emily Dickinson, c.1863


A man does not die of love or his liver or even of old age; he dies of being a man. ~Percival Arland Ussher


The idea is to die young as late as possible. ~Ashley Montagu


'Tis very certain the desire of life prolongs it. ~Lord Byron


No one can confidently say that he will still be living tomorrow. ~Euripides


Boy, when you're dead, they really fix you up. I hope to hell when I do die somebody has sense enough to just dump me in the river or something. Anything except sticking me in a goddam cemetery. People coming and putting a bunch of flowers on your stomach on Sunday, and all that crap. Who wants flowers when you're dead? Nobody. ~J.D. Salinger, The Catcher in the Rye, 1945


While I thought that I was learning how to live, I have been learning how to die. ~Leonardo Da Vinci


Life is better than death, I believe, if only because it is less boring, and because it has fresh peaches in it. ~Alice Walker


I shall not die of a cold. I shall die of having lived. ~Willa Cather


Death is a distant rumor to the young. ~Andrew A. Rooney


A man's dying is more the survivors' affair than his own. ~Thomas Mann, The Magic Mountain


There are so many little dyings that it doesn't matter which of them is death. ~Kenneth Patchen


If man were immortal he could be perfectly sure of seeing the day when everything in which he had trusted should betray his trust, and, in short, of coming eventually to hopeless misery. He would break down, at last, as every good fortune, as every dynasty, as every civilization does. In place of this we have death. ~Charles Sanders Peirce


Death, the sable smoke where vanishes the flame. ~George Gordon, Lord Byron, Childe Harold's Pilgrimage


God himself took a day to rest in, and a good man's grave is his Sabbath. ~John Donne


The day which we fear as our last is but the birthday of eternity. ~Seneca


Years, following years, steal something every day;
At last they steal us from ourselves away.
~Horace


Our death is not an end if we can live on in our children and the younger generation. For they are us, our bodies are only wilted leaves on the tree of life. ~Albert Einstein


Death may be the greatest of all human blessings. ~Socrates


In any man who dies there dies with him
his first snow and kiss and fight....
Not people die but worlds die in them.
~Yevgeny Yevtushenko, "People"


Death never takes the wise man by surprise; He is always ready to go. ~Jean de La Fontaine


Death is caused by swallowing small amounts of saliva over a long period of time. ~Attributed to George Carlin


As o'er the stormy sea of human Life
We sail, until our anchor'd spirits rest
In the far haven of Eternity,...
~Robert Montgomery, "A Universal Prayer," A Universal Prayer; Death; A Vision of Heaven; and A Vision of Hell; &c. &c., 1829


Death does not wait to see if things are done or not done. ~Kularnava


Healthy children will not fear life if their elders have integrity enough not to fear death. ~Erik H. Erikson


Millions long for immortality who do not know what to do with themselves on a rainy Sunday afternoon. ~Susan Ertz, Anger in the Sky


Death is a delightful hiding place for weary men. ~Herodotus


We say that the hour of death cannot be forecast, but when we say this we imagine that hour as placed in an obscure and distant future. It never occurs to us that it has any connection with the day already begun or that death could arrive this same afternoon, this afternoon which is so certain and which has every hour filled in advance. ~Marcel Proust


Thou art not dead! Thou art the whole
Of life that quickens in the sod.
~Charles Hanson Towne


Time rushes towards us with its hospital tray of infinitely varied narcotics, even while it is preparing us for its inevitably fatal operation. ~Tennessee Williams, "The Rose Tattoo"


We understand death for the first time when he puts his hand upon one whom we love. ~Madame de Stael


 
 
From my rotting body, flowers shall grow and I am in them and that is eternity. ~Edvard Munch


There's nothing certain in a man's life except this: That he must lose it. ~Aeschylus, Agamemnon


Death is not the greatest loss in life. The greatest loss is what dies inside us while we live. ~Norman Cousins


The death of someone we know always reminds us that we are still alive — perhaps for some purpose which we ought to re-examine. ~Mignon McLaughlin, The Neurotic's Notebook, 1960


We never bury the dead, son. We take them with us. It's the price of living. ~Mark Goffman and Jose Molina, Sleepy Hollow, "The Golem" (season 1, episode 10), original airdate 2013 December 9th, spoken by the character Henry Parrish


Let life be as beautiful as summer flowers
And death as beautiful as autumn leaves.
~Rabindranath Tagore


Death is a debt we all must pay. ~Euripides


They tell us that suicide is the greatest piece of cowardice... that suicide is wrong; when it is quite obvious that there is nothing in the world to which every man has a more unassailable title than to his own life and person. ~Arthur Schopenhauer


In tears alone must my full heart have vent,
And in no language but in sighs lament?
And these my only tribute to thy shade,
And shall thy virtues with thy dust be laid?...
~Ophelia, "To the Memory of a deceased Friend," The Gentleman's Magazine, June 1751


He who has gone, so we but cherish his memory, abides with us, more potent, nay, more present than the living man. ~Antoine de Saint-Exupery


People living deeply have no fear of death. ~Anaïs Nin, Diary, 1967


When I think of ages past
That have floated down the stream
Of life and love and death,
I feel how free it makes us
To pass away.
~Rabindranath Tagore


To die proudly when it is no longer possible to live proudly. Death of one's own free choice, death at the proper time, with a clear head and with joyfulness, consummated in the midst of children and witnesses: so that an actual leave-taking is possible while he who is leaving is still there. ~Friedrich Nietzsche, Expeditions of an Untimely Man


Death is for many of us the gate of hell; but we are inside on the way out, not outside on the way in. ~George Bernard Shaw


If the people we love are stolen from us, the way to have them live on is to never stop loving them. Buildings burn, people die, but real love is forever. ~The Crow, written by James O'Barr, David J. Schow, and John Shirley, 1994


I knew a man who once said, "death smiles at us all; all a man can do is smile back." ~Gladiator, written by David Franzoni, John Logan, and William Nicholson, 2000


Our birth is nothing but our death begun. ~Edward Young, Night Thoughts


I want a priest, a rabbi, and a Protestant clergyman. I want to hedge my bets. ~Wilson Mizner


Philander lives, but on what distant shore?
Philander lives, but lives to me no more....
More than Ophelia lost Philander gain'd,
A friend I lose, that friend has heav'n attain'd....
~Ophelia, "To the Memory of a deceased Friend," The Gentleman's Magazine, June 1751


No one knows whether death is really the greatest blessing a man can have, but they fear it is the greatest curse, as if they knew well. ~Plato


For what is it to die but to stand naked in the wind and to melt into the sun? ~Khalil Gibran, "The Prophet" (Thanks, Roxalanne)


Life and death are balanced on the edge of a razor. ~Homer, Iliad


Death is the surest calculation that can be made. ~Ludwig Büchner, Force and Matter


Suicide is man's way of telling God, "You can't fire me — I quit." ~Bill Maher, on Politically Incorrect, 1995


Suicide is... the sincerest form of criticism life gets. ~Wilfred Sheed, The Good Word, 1978


After all, to the well-organized mind, death is but the next great adventure. ~J.K. Rowling


You will never find that life for which you are looking. When the gods created man they allotted to him death, but life they retained in their own keeping. ~The Epic of Gilgamesh


Death hath ten thousand several doors
For men to take their exits.
~John Webster, The Duchess of Malfi


My soul is full of whispered song;
My blindness is my sight;
The shadows that I feared so long
Are all alive with light.
~Alice Cary, Dying Hymn


God is growing bitter, He envies man his mortality. ~Jacques Rigaut, Pensées


Embalm, v.: To cheat vegetation by locking up the gases upon which it feeds. By embalming their dead and thereby deranging the natural balance between animal and vegetable life, the Egyptians made their once fertile and populous country barren and incapable of supporting more than a meagre crew. The modern metallic burial casket is a step in the same direction, and many a dead man who ought now to be ornamenting his neighbor's lawn as a tree, or enriching his table as a bunch of radishes, is doomed to a long inutility. We shall get him after awhile if we are spared, but in the meantime the violet and the rose are languishing for a nibble at his glutaeus maximus. ~Ambrose Bierce


He first deceas'd; She for a little tri'd
To live without him: lik'd it not, and di'd.
~Henry Worton


The goal of all life is death. ~Sigmund Freud


I sing of Death; yet soon, perchance may be
A dweller in the tomb. But twenty years
Have wither'd, since my pilgrimage began,
And I look back upon my boyish days
With mournful joy; as musing wand'rers do,
With eye reverted, from some lofty hill,
Upon the bright and peaceful vale below.—
Oh! let me live, until the fires that feed
My soul, have work'd themselves away, and then,
Eternal Spirit, take me to Thy home!
For when a child, I shaped inspiring dreams,
And nourish'd aspirations that awoke
Beautiful feelings flowing from the face
Of Nature; from a child, I learn'd to reap
A harvest of sweet thoughts for future years.
~Robert Montgomery, "Death," A Universal Prayer; Death; A Vision of Heaven; and A Vision of Hell; &c. &c., 1829


Every word affords me pain. Yet how sweet it would be if I could hear what the flowers have to say about death! ~E.M. Cioran


In any man who dies there dies with him, his first snow and kiss and fight. Not people die but worlds die in them. ~Yevgeny Yevtushenko


Death is a release from the impressions of sense, and from impulses that make us their puppets, from the vagaries of the mind, and the hard service of the flesh. ~Marcus Aurelius, Meditations


For death,
Now I know, is that first breath
Which our souls draw when we enter
Life, which is of all life center.
~Edwin Arnold


And as to you Death, and you bitter hug of mortality, it is idle to try to alarm me....
And as to you corpse, I think you are good manure, but that does not offend me,
I smell the white roses sweet-scented and growing,
I reach to the leafy lips — I reach to the polished breasts of melons.
And as to you life, I reckon you are the leavings of many deaths,
No doubt I have died myself ten thousand times before.
~Walt Whitman, Leaves of Grass


When I die I shall be content to vanish into nothingness.... No show, however good, could conceivably be good forever.... I do not believe in immortality, and have no desire for it. ~H.L. Mencken


Oh, for the time when I shall sleep
Without identity.
~Emily Bronte


The graveyards are full of people the world could not do without. ~Quoted in Elbert Hubbard, "The Philistine: A Periodical of Protest," 1907; often modernized as "The graveyards are full of indispensable men." (Thanks, Garson O'Toole of quoteinvestigator.com!)


Into the winter's gray delight,
Into the summer's golden dream,
Holy and high and impartial,
Death, the mother of Life,
Mingles all men for ever.
~William Ernest Henley, "XIV: Ave, Caesar!", In Hospital


He himself had still the pale evening red of yesterday's joy on his face; but this very indifference to the gradual extinguishing of his days, this growing feebleness and faintness of tone in his conversation, caused Victor to turn away his eyes from him whenever they had for some time rested upon him. Emanuel looked down calm as an eternal sun on the autumn of his bodily life; nay, the more the sand fell from his life's hourglass, so much the more clearly did he look through the empty glass. And yet the earth was to him a beloved place, a fair meadow for our earliest plays of childhood; and he still hung upon his mother of our first life with the love wherewith the bride spends the evening full of childish remembrances on the bosom of her beloved mother, before on the morrow she goes to meet the bridegroom of her heart. ~Jean Paul Friedrich Richter, Hesperus, or Forty-Five Dog-Post-Days: A Biography, translated from German by Charles T. Brooks, 1865


And they die an equal death — the idler and the man of mighty deeds. ~Homer, Iliad


But a day must come when the fire of youth will be quenched in my veins, when winter will dwell in my heart, when his snow flakes will whiten my locks, and his mists will dim my eyes. Then my friends will lie in their lonely grave, and I alone will remain like a solitary stalk forgotten by the reaper. ~Heinrich Heine, "Ideas: Book Le Grand," 1826, translated from German by Charles Godfrey Leland, Pictures of Travel, 1855


Name me no names for my disease,
With uninforming breath;
I tell you I am none of these,
But homesick unto death.
~Witter Bynner, "The Patient to the Doctors"


Death is beautiful when seen to be a law, and not an accident — It is as common as life. ~Henry David Thoreau, 11 March 1842, letter to Ralph Waldo Emerson


Someday I'll be a weather-beaten skull resting on a grass pillow,
Serenaded by a stray bird or two.
Kings and commoners end up the same,
No more enduring than last night's dream.
~Ryokan


To the psychotherapist an old man who cannot bid farewell to life appears as feeble and sickly as a young man who is unable to embrace it. ~C.G. Jung


I see thy soul shake off its earthly load,
Spring into life, immortal, half a god.....
~Ophelia, "To the Memory of a deceased Friend," The Gentleman's Magazine, June 1751


Death a friend that alone can bring the peace his treasures cannot purchase, and remove the pain his physicians cannot cure. ~Mortimer Collins


Grandmother Hannah comes to me at Pesach
and when I am lighting the sabbath candles.
The sweet wine in the cup has her breath.
The challah is braided like her long, long hair....
When someone dies, it is the unspoken words
that spoil in the mind and ferment to wine....
It's a little low light the yahrtzeit candle
makes, you couldn't read by it or even warm
your hands. So the dead are with us only
as the scent of fresh coffee, of cinnamon,
of pansies excites the nose and then fades,
with us as the small candle burns in its glass.
We lose and we go on losing as long as we live,
a little winter no spring can melt.
~Marge Piercy, "A candle in a glass," Available Light, 1988


Death is patiently making my mask as I sleep. Each morning I awake to discover in the corners of my eyes the small tears of his wax. ~Philip Dow


Immortality—dazzling idea! who first imagined thee! Was it some jolly burgher of Nuremburg, who with night-cap on his head, and white clay pipe in mouth, sat on some pleasant summer evening before his door, and reflected in all his comfort, that it would be right pleasant, if, with unextinguishable pipe, and endless breath, he could thus vegetate onwards for a blessed eternity? Or was it a lover, who in the arms of his loved one, thought the immortality-thought, and that because he could think and feel naught beside!—Love! Immortality! ~Heinrich Heine, "The Hartz Journey" (1824), Pictures of Travel, translated from German by Charles Godfrey Leland, 1855


For death is no more than a turning of us over from time to eternity. ~William Penn


But in a story, which is a kind of dreaming, the dead sometimes smile and sit up and return to the world. ~Tim O'Brien, The Things They Carried


Paradise -
I see flowers
from the cottage where I lie.
~Yaitsu's death poem, 1807


Old persons are sometimes as unwilling to die as tired-out children are to say good night and go to bed. ~Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu


Death is just another stage of life, although the one you kind of hope comes last. ~Robert Brault, rbrault.blogspot.com


As a well-spent day brings happy sleep, so a life well used brings happy death. ~Leonardo da Vinci


On a large enough time line, the survival rate for everyone will drop to zero. ~Chuck Palahniuk, Fight Club


God made death so we'd know when to stop. ~Steven Stiles


And when my flutt'ring soul shall break away,
Spurn this low world, and seek the realms of day,
If then some ready minister of love
Thy nod commissions from the throne above,
To guide my flight amidst the worlds that roll,
In shining circles round the glowing pole,
O! to my friend, that grateful task assign,
And let his kindred spirit mix with mine;
Together then we'll gain the blissful shore,
Exchange the joys of heav'n, and part no more.
~Ophelia, "To the Memory of a deceased Friend," The Gentleman's Magazine, June 1751


Now he has departed from this strange world a little ahead of me. That signifies nothing. For us believing physicists the distinction between past, present, and future is only a stubbornly persistent illusion. ~Albert Einstein


There is only one ultimate and effectual preventive for the maladies to which flesh is heir, and that is death. ~Harvey Cushing


A dying man needs to die, as a sleepy man needs to sleep, and there comes a time when it is wrong, as well as useless, to resist. ~Stewart Alsop


I do not believe that any man fears to be dead, but only the stroke of death. ~Thomas Browne, An Essay on Death


The really frightening thing about middle age is the knowledge that you'll grow out of it. ~Doris Day


Well, right now... I'm not dead. But when I am, it's like... I don't know, I guess it's like being inside a book that nobody's reading.... An old one. It's up on a library shelf, so you're safe and everything, but the book hasn't been checked out for a long, long time. All you can do is wait. Just hope somebody'll pick it up and start reading. ~Tim O'Brien, The Things They Carried


Death is a low chemical trick played on everybody except sequoia trees. ~J.J. Furnas


Oh, may I join the choir invisible
Of those immortal dead who live again.
~George Eliot, The Choir Invisible


Die, v.: To stop sinning suddenly. ~Elbert Hubbard


I intend to live forever. So far, so good. ~Steven Wright


I wouldn't mind dying — it's the business of having to stay dead that scares the shit out of me. ~R. Geis


Anyhow, it's not so bad.... I mean, when you're dead, you just have to be yourself. ~Tim O'Brien, The Things They Carried


You can be a king or a street sweeper,
but everybody dances with the Grim Reaper.
~Robert Alton Harris


Death is life's way of telling you you're fired. ~Author Unknown


On no subject are our ideas more warped and pitiable than on death. Instead of the sympathy, the friendly union, of life and death so apparent in Nature, we are taught that death is an accident, a deplorable punishment for the oldest sin, the arch-enemy of life, etc.... But let children walk with Nature, let them see the beautiful blendings and communions of death and life, their joyous inseparable unity, as taught in woods and meadows, plains and mountains and streams of our blessed star, and they will learn that death is stingless indeed, and as beautiful as life, and that the grave has no victory for, for it never fights. All is divine harmony. ~John Muir (1838–1914), A Thousand-Mile Walk To the Gulf



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