Notable Quotes
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Death submits to no one.

HOMER, The Iliad

What is death but a traversing of eternities and a crossing of cosmic oceans?

ROBERT E. HOWARD, Kull: Exile of Atlantis

Some men are like oak leaves -- they don't know when they're dead, but still hang right on; and there are others who let go before anything has really touched them.


Why is a door-knob deader than anything else?

D. H. LAWRENCE, Sons and Lovers

Dying--shucks! If you kin handle the living, what's to be afraid of the dying?


You’ve never seen death? Look in the mirror every day and you will see it like bees working in a glass hive.

JEAN COCTEAU, The Dick Cavett Show, Oct. 6, 1981

You cannot avoid mortality. But you can choose your way of meeting it. And that is the most that any man can hope for.

DAVID GERROLD, The Man Who Folded Himself

Spending your life concentrating on death is like watching a whole movie and thinking only about the credits that are going to roll at the end. It’s a mistake of emphasis.

NICHOLSON BAKER, The Anthologist

The sorrow for the dead is the only sorrow from which we refuse to be divorced. Every other wound we seek to heal - every other affliction to forget; but this wound we consider it a duty to keep open - this affliction we cherish and brood over in solitude.

WASHINGTON IRVING, "The Rural Funeral"

The mind will not believe in death, perhaps because, as far as the mind is concerned, death never happens.


Death was far more certain than God.

GRAHAM GREENE, The Quiet American

The day of my birth, my death began its walk. It is walking toward me, without hurrying.

JEAN COCTEAU, "Postambule," La Fin du Potomac

That is the gods' work, spinning threads of death
through the lives of mortal men,
an all to make a song for those to come.

HOMER, The Odyssey

Death is only a small interruption.


Death comes black and hard, rushing down on me from the future, with no possible chance of escape.

DAVID GERROLD, The Man Who Folded Himself

I don't like tombstones. They're like bookends to spent lives, trapping the person inside.

ELIZABETH DANIELS, "A Rose in the Willow Garden," Red Velvet and Absinthe

The road to death is a long march beset with all evils, and the heart fails little by little at each new terror, the bones rebel at each step, the mind sets up its own bitter resistance and to what end? The barriers sink one by one, and no covering of the eyes shuts out the landscape of disaster, nor the sight of crimes committed there.

KATHERINE ANNE PORTER, "Pale Horse, Pale Rider"

It has always seemed to me that the only painless death must be that which takes the intelligence by violent surprise and from the rear so to speak since if death be anything at all beyond a brief and peculiar emotional state of the bereaved it must be a brief and likewise peculiar state of the subject as well and if aught can be more painful to any intelligence above that of a child or an idiot than a slow and gradual confronting with that which over a long period of bewilderment and dread it has been taught to regard as an irrevocable and unplumbable finality, I do not know it.

WILLIAM FAULKNER, Absalom, Absalom!

Death will come in any case, and there is a long afterwards if the priests are right and nothing to fear if they are wrong.

GRAHAM GREENE, The Honorary Consul

But the great leveler, Death: not even the gods
can defend a man, not even one they love, that day
when fate takes hold and lays him out at last.

HOMER, The Odyssey

As men, we are all equal in the presence of death.


We may, indeed, say that the hour of death is uncertain, but when we say this we think of that hour as situated in a vague and remote expanse of time; it does not occur to us that it can have any connexion with the day that has already dawned and can mean that death -- or its first assault and partial possession of us, after which it will never leave hold of us again -- may occur this very afternoon, so far from uncertain, this afternoon whose time-table, hour by hour, has been settled in advance.

MARCEL PROUST, The Guermantes Way

From too much love of living
From hope and fear set free,
We thank with brief thanksgiving
Whatever gods may be
That no life lives for ever;
That dead men rise up never;
That even the weariest river
Winds somewhere safe to sea.

ALGERNON CHARLES SWINBURNE, "The Garden of Proserpine"

The fear of death is more to be dreaded than death itself.


Dying makes what is left of living seem precious. The dying, and those about to die, feel that these last moments must be made beautiful. The cannot be permitted to include the bitterness and the enmities of the living that seem so inexhaustible. So often we hear people who, in dying, resign the old enmities and ask and grant forgiveness. Through such forgiveness they help to make dying beautiful. And, incidentally, they offer a lesson to those who go on living the apparently inexhaustibel life.

JOHN DANIEL BARRY, "The Dead," Reactions and Other Essays

We give our dead
To the orchards
And the groves.
We give our dead
To life.

OCTAVIA E. BUTLER, Parable of the Talents

The cure for death is not being born.

K. J. PARKER, Evil for Evil

Death unites as well as separates; it silences all paltry feeling.

HONORE DE BALZAC, Letters of Two Brides

A corpse is what's left after waking too often.

CESARE PAVESE, "Imagination's End"

Death is not the end; there remains the litigation over the estate.

AMBROSE BIERCE, "Epigrams of a Cynic"

Death has this much to be said for it:
You don't have to get out of bed for it.

KINGSLEY AMIS, "Delivery Guaranteed", Collected Poems

All are stoics in the grave.


Death joins us to the great majority.


I am stigmatized by a living death in which real death holds no terrors for me.

ANTONIN ARTAUD, Selected Writings

Death, with funereal shades in vain surrounds me,
My reason through his darkness seeth light:
'Tis the last step which brings me close to Thee:
'Tis the veil falling, 'twixt Thy face and mine.

ALPHONSE DE LAMARTINE, "Prayer", Poetical Meditations

Death, vicious death,
Leave a green branch for love.


If we were sensible we would seek death--the same blissful blank which we enjoyed before we existed.

H. P. LOVECRAFT, "Nietzscheism and Realism"

Deach becomes some men. Others wear it shamefully; others still, defiantly. Their protest choking, suffocating.

CHRIS ABANI, Kalakuta Republic

Few people know death, we only endure it, usually from determination, and even from stupidity and custom; and most men only die because they know not how to prevent dying.

FRANÇOIS DE LA ROCHEFOUCAULD, Reflections; or Sentences and Moral Maxims

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