Your body must become familiar with its death—in all its possible forms and degrees—as a self-evident, imminent, and emotionally neutral step on the way towards the goal you have found worthy of your life.
—Dag Hammarskjold (1905–61) Swedish Statesman, UN Diplomat
Either he’s dead or my watch has stopped.
—Groucho Marx (1890–1977) American Actor, Comedian, Singer
‘Tis very certain the desire of life prolongs it.
—Lord Byron (George Gordon Byron) (1788–1824) English Romantic Poet
Tom’s no more—and so no more of Tom.
—Lord Byron (George Gordon Byron) (1788–1824) English Romantic Poet
It’s not that I’m afraid to die. I just don’t want to be there when it happens.
—Woody Allen (b.1935) American Film Actor, Director
What did it matter where you lay once you were dead?. In a dirty sump or in a marble tower on top of a high hill?. You were dead, you were sleeping the big sleep, you were not bothered by things like that. Oil and water were the same as wind and air to you.
—Raymond Chandler (1888–1959) American Novelist
Land and sea, weakness and decline are great separators, but death is the great divorcer for ever.
—John Keats (1795–1821) English Poet
If life must not be taken too seriously, then so neither must death.
The gods conceal from men the happiness of death, that they may endure life.
—Lucian (c.120–c.200 CE) Greek Satirist, Rhetorician, Writer
I’m not afraid of death. It’s the stake one puts up in order to play the game of life.
—Jean Giraudoux (1882–1944) French Novelist, Playwright, Essayist
Death the last voyage, the longest, and the best.
—Thomas Wolfe (1900–38) American Novelist
Do the thing you fear and the death of fear is certain.
—Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803–82) American Philosopher
Death and love are the two wings that bear the good man to heaven.
—Michelangelo (1475–1564) Italian Painter, Sculptor, Architect, Poet, Engineer
How frighteningly few are the persons whose death would spoil our appetite and make the world seem empty.
—Eric Hoffer (1902–83) American Philosopher, Author
Early to rise and early to bed makes a male healthy and wealthy and dead.
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 (1842–1913) American Short-story Writer, Journalist
To himself everyone is an immortal. He may know that he is going to die, but he can never know that he is dead.
Man has the possibility of existence after death. But possibility is one thing and the realization of the possibility is quite a different thing.
—Georges Gurdjieff (1877–1949) Armenian Spiritual Leader, Occultist
The fear of death often proves mortal, and sets people on methods, to save their lives, which infallibly destroy them. This is a reflection made upon observing that there are more thousands killed in a flight, than in a battle; and may be applied to those multitudes of imaginary sick persons that break their constitutions by physic, and throw themselves into the arms of death, by endeavoring to escape it.
—Joseph Addison (1672–1719) English Essayist, Poet, Playwright, Politician
The air is full of farewells to the dying, and mournings for the dead.
—Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1807–82) American Poet, Educator, Academic
For death is no more than a turning of us over from time to eternity.
—William Penn (1644–1718) American Entrepreneur, Political leader, Philosopher
We sometimes congratulate ourselves at the moment of waking from a troubled dream; it may be so the moment after death.
—Nathaniel Hawthorne (1804–64) American Novelist, Short Story Writer
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 (1913–83) American Journalist, Author
Death is a Dialogue between, the Spirit and the Dust.
—Emily Dickinson (1830–86) American Poet
Death is the wish of some, the relief of many, and the end of all.
—Seneca the Younger (Lucius Annaeus Seneca) (c.4 BCE–65 CE) Roman Stoic Philosopher, Statesman, Tragedian
Men are born soft and supple; dead, they are stiff and hard. Plants are born tender and pliant; dead, they are brittle and dry. Thus whoever is stiff and inflexible is a disciple of death. Whoever is soft and yielding is a disciple of life. The hard and stiff will be broken. The soft and supple will prevail.
—Laozi (fl.6th Century BCE) Chinese Philosopher, Sage
Death is the mother of Beauty; hence from her,
Alone, shall come fulfillment to our dreams
And our desires.
—Wallace Stevens (1879–1955) American Poet
A good man dies when a boy goes wrong.
But the peasants—how do the peasants die?
—Leo Tolstoy (1828–1910) Russian Novelist
Every man goes down to his death bearing in his hands only that which he has given away.
The soul is pure when it leaves the body and drags nothing bodily with it, by virtue of having no willing association with the body in life but avoiding it…….Practicing philosophy in the right way is a training to die easily.
—Socrates (469BCE–399BCE) Ancient Greek Philosopher
There’s nothing certain in a man’s life except this: That he must lose it.
—Aeschylus (525–456 BCE) Greek Poet
If you don’t know how to die, don’t worry; Nature will tell you what to do on the spot, fully and adequately. She will do this job perfectly for you; don’t bother your head about it.
—Michel de Montaigne (1533–92) French Essayist
I answer the heroic question Death where is thy sting?. It is here in my heart and mind and memories
—Maya Angelou (1928–2014) American Poet
Lord, make me to know mine end, and the measure of my days, what it is; that I may know how frail I am.
—The Holy Bible Scripture in the Christian Faith
To die is poignantly bitter, but the idea of having to die without having lived is unbearable.
—Erich Fromm (1900–80) German-American Psychoanalyst, Social Philosopher
Here he lies where he longed to be;
Home is the sailor, home from sea,
and the hunter home from the hill.
—Robert Louis Stevenson (1850–94) Scottish Novelist
Be happy while you’re living, for you’re a long time dead.
‘Tis the maddest trick a man can ever play in his whole life, to let his breath sneak out of his body without any more ado, and without so much as a rap o’er the pate, or a kick of the guts; to go out like the snuff of a farthing candle, and die merely of the mulligrubs, or the sullens.
—Miguel de Cervantes (1547–1616) Spanish Novelist
The idea is to die young as late as possible.
—Ashley Montagu (1905–1999) British-American Anthropologist
How strange this fear of death is! We are never frightened at a sunset.
—George MacDonald (1824–1905) Scottish Novelist, Lecturer, Poet
The goal of all life is death.
—Sigmund Freud (1856–1939) Austrian Psychiatrist, Psychoanalytic
Men may live fools, but fools they cannot die.
—Edward Young (1683–1765) English Poet
An awareness of death encourages us to live more intensely.
—Paulo Coelho (b.1947) Brazilian Songwriter, Novelist
But the man who dares to live his life with death before his eyes, the man who receives life back bit by bit and lives as though it did not belong to him by right but has been bestowed on him as a gift, the man who has such freedom and peace of mind that he has overcome death in his thoughts—such a man believes in eternal life because it is already his, it is a present experience, and he already benefits from its peace and joy. He cannot describe this experience in words. He may not be able to conform his view with the traditional picture of it. But one thing he knows for certain: Something within us does not pass away, something goes on living and working wherever the kingdom of the spirit is present. It is already working and living within us, because in our hearts we have been able to reach life by overcoming death.
—Albert Schweitzer (1875–1965) French Theologian, Musician, Philosopher, Physician
Not by lamentations and mournful chants ought we to celebrate the funeral of a good man, but by hymns, for in ceasing to be numbered with mortals he enters upon the heritage of a diviner life.
—Plutarch (c.46–c.120 CE) Greek Biographer, Philosopher
No man who is fit to live need fear to die. 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; what home is to the exile; 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.
—Thomas Fuller (1608–61) English Cleric, Historian
You gotta love livin’, baby, ’cause dyin’ is a pain in the ass.
—Frank Sinatra (1915–1998) American Singer
Doctor, as I believe you would not choose to tell any thing but the truth, you had better tell him, that I am dying as fast as my enemies, if I have any, could wish, and as easily and cheerfully as my best friends could desire.
—David Hume (1711–76) Scottish Philosopher, Historian
We begin to die as soon as we are born, and the end is linked to the beginning.
—Marcus Manilius (c.48 BCE–20 CE) Roman Poet, Astrologer