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For though Death be a dark passage, it leads to immortality, and that is recompence enough for suffering of it.

WILLIAM PENN, Some Fruits of Solitude

That which we call Death is but a pause of suspension; and in truth a progress to life, only our thoughts look downwards upon the body, and not upwards upon things to come.

WELLINS CALCOTT, Thoughts Moral and Divine

Obituaries would be a lot more interesting if they told you how the person died.

MACKEY MILLER, Mouse Attack 5!!!

It is not desirable that we should live as in the constant atmosphere and presence of death; that would unfit us for life; but it is well for us, now and then, to talk with death as friend talketh with friend, and to bathe in the strange seas, and to anticipate the experiences of that land to which it will lead us. These forethinkings are meant, not to make us discontented with life, but to bring us back with more strength, and a nobler purpose in living.


The thorn of death falls from heaven, and its myriad forms leave us no room to move.

KOBO ABE, The Woman in the Dunes

How terrible is Death to one man, yet to another it appears the greatest providence in nature; even to all ages and conditions it is the wish of some, relief of many, and the end of all. It puts us all upon a level; the prince and peasant are doomed to the same fate.

WELLINS CALCOTT, Thoughts Moral and Divine

Which, I wonder, brother reader, is the better lot, to die prosperous and famous, or poor and disappointed? To have, and to be forced to yield; or to sink out of life, having played and lost the game? That must be a strange feeling when a day of our life comes and we say, "Tomorrow, success or failure won't matter much: and the sun will rise, and all the myriads of mankind go to their work or their pleasure as usual, but I shall be out of the turmoil.


Death is God's way of telling you not to be such a wise guy.

GRENVILLE KLEISER, Dictionary of Proverbs

Far happier he, who, young and full of pride
And radiant with the glory of the sun,
Leaves earth before his singing time is done.
All wounds of Time the graveyard flowers hide,
His beauty lives, as fresh as when he died.

JOYCE KILMER, "The Clouded Sun"

Death is no more than a turning of us over from Time to Eternity.

WILLIAM PENN, Some Fruits of Solitude

Now that you are dead,
You are splendid.
Photographs of people who have just died
Are worth twenty percent more,
And for suicides
There is an additional five percent.
Now that you are dead
You are much in demand.

KOBO ABE, The Ghost is Here

So they pass away: friends, kindred, the dearest-loved, grown people, aged, infants. As we go on the down-hill journey, the mile-stones are grave-stones, and on each more and more names are written; unless haply you live beyond man's common age, when friends have dropped off, and, tottering, and feeble, and unpitied, you reach the terminus alone.


Death is but crossing the world, as friends do the seas; they live in one another still.

WILLIAM PENN, Some Fruits of Solitude

Fair Death, kind Death, it was a gracious deed
To take that weary vagrant to thy breast.
Love, Song and Wine had he, and but one need--Rest.


Death envies those asleep in her ...
Extinguished softly in her womb.

EVELYN SCOTT, "For Wives and Mistresses"

Death is a child of stone.

EVELYN SCOTT, "Immortality"

Could the best and kindest of us who depart from the earth have an opportunity of revisiting it, I suppose he or she (assuming that any Vanity Fair feelings subsist in the sphere whither we are bound) would have a pang of mortification at finding how soon our survivors were consoled.


Dying men think of funny things--and that's what we all are here, aren't we? Dying men?

TAD WILLIAMS, Otherland: City of Golden Shadow

When I take a full view and circle of myself, without this reasonable moderator, and equal piece of justice, Death, I concieve myself the most miserable person extant; were there not another life that I hope for, all the vanities of this world should not entreat a moments breath from me.

WELLINS CALCOTT, Thoughts Moral and Divine

Death hides within every religion. And at any time it can flash forth--not with healing in its wings but with poison, with that which wounds.


Could we draw back the covering of the tomb; could we see, what those are now, who once were mortals, oh! how would it surprise and grieve us! Surprise us, to behold the prodigious transformation that has taken place on every individual; grieve us, to observe the dishonor done to our nature in general, within these subterraneous lodgments!

WELLINS CALCOTT, Thoughts Moral and Divine

Death! the deep, sublime and unsubdued fiat!
The licensed liberator of imprisoned souls!
The conqueror of conquerors! th' inexorable,
Unfathomed and unfathomable fate! Arch foe,
And dread antagonist of life! Its armed and fierce
Invader, horror, and dismay! whose naked sword,
In trembling balance hung, is over all its joys,
And banquets of delight, ready to pierce the heart
That with fond ardour beats! Oh! who can turn its point?
Or its swift aim arrest?

C. B. LANGSTON, "Death"

Ah! hear the dirge that all mankind must learn:
Place not on earth thy trust,
For dust thou art, to dust shalt thou return,
Dust unto dust.


You feel sorry for yourself. You think you're missing something and you don't know what it is. You're lonely inside your life. You have a job and a family and a fully executed will, already, at your age, because the whole point is to die prepared, die legal, with all the papers signed. Die liquid, so they can convert to cash.

DON DELILLO, Underworld

I think ... that I when I die, I can breathe back the breath that made me live. I can give back to the world all that I didn't do. All that I might have been and couldn't be. All the choices I didn't make. All the things I lost and spent and wasted. I can give them back to the world. To the lives that haven't been lived yet. That will be my gift back to the world that gave me the life I did live, the love I lived, the breath I breathed.

URSULA K. LE GUIN, The Other Wind

I'm not afraid of death because I don't believe in it. It's just getting out of one car, and into another.

JOHN LENNON, attributed, Magic Circles: The Beatles in Dream and History

Even dead,
we bony creatures do our best
to leave a mark--
if not a mask of beaten gold
or a casket engraved with feathers, perhaps
a richer concentration of fungus,
a patch where grass is younger and thicker,
a sunken place in a field.

SARAH LINDSAY, "Ritual Sandwich", Debt to the Bone-Eating Snotflower

In real life, good people die all the time and a**holes can live long and happy lives. It's a crapshoot.

BENTLEY LITTLE, "Bentley Little: The Elusive Dark Scribe Speaks", Dark Scribe Magazine

The longest-lived and the shortest-lived man, when they come to die, lose one and the same thing.


It is the fear of death--24/7 in every shade of hospital white and doomsday black--that sells the pharmaceutical, political, financial, film, and food product promising to make good the wish to live forever.

LEWIS H. LAPHAM, "Momento Mori", Lapham's Quarterly: Death, fall 2013

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