I was born without knowing why, I have lived without knowing why, and I am dying without either knowing why or how.

—Pierre Gassendi, 1655

Man has here two and a half minutes—one to smile, one to sigh, and half a one to love; for in the midst of this minute he dies.

—Jean Paul Richter, 1795

Imagine a number of men in chains, all under sentence of death, some of whom are each day butchered in the sight of the others; those remaining see their own condition in that of their fellows and, looking at each other with grief and despair, await their turn. This is an image of the human condition.

—Blaise Pascal, 1669

When a man dies, and his kin are glad of it, they say, “He is better off.”

—Edgar Watson Howe, 1911

Anyone who’s never watched somebody die is suffering from a pretty bad case of virginity.

—John Osborne, 1956

I am not resigned to the shutting away of loving hearts in the hard ground.

—Edna St. Vincent Millay, 1928

A little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to rest.

—Book of Proverbs, c. 350 BC

Whoever has died is freed from sin.

—St. Paul, c. 50

There never is absolute birth nor complete death, in the strict sense, consisting in the separation of the soul from the body. What we call births are developments and growths, while what we call deaths are envelopments and diminutions.

—Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz, 1714

In dealing with the dead, if we treat them as if they were entirely dead, that would show a want of affection and should not be done; or, if we treat them as if they were entirely alive, that would show a want of wisdom and should not be done.

—Confucius, c. 500 BC

Death and vulgarity are the only two facts in the nineteenth century that one cannot explain away.

—Oscar Wilde, 1891

The only evidence, so far as I know, about another life is, first, that we have no evidence; and, secondly, that we are rather sorry that we have not, and wish we had.

—Robert G. Ingersoll, 1879

I do not amuse myself by thinking of dead people.

—Napoleon Bonaparte, 1807