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Quotes

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

—Edna St. Vincent Millay, 1928

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

I looked and there was a pale green horse! Its rider’s name was Death, and Hades followed with him.

—Book of Revelations, c. 90

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

Men have written in the most convincing manner to prove that death is no evil, and this opinion has been confirmed on a thousand celebrated occasions by the weakest of men as well as by heroes. Even so I doubt whether any sensible person has ever believed it, and the trouble men take to convince others as well as themselves that they do shows clearly that it is no easy undertaking. 

—La Rochefoucauld, 1665

To desire immortality for the individual is really the same as wanting to perpetuate an error forever.

—Arthur Schopenhauer, 1819

Nobody, sir, dies willingly.

—Antiphanes, c. 370 BC

I’m doomed to die, right? Why should I care if I go to Hades either with gout in my leg or a runner’s grace? Plenty of people will carry me there.

—Nicharchus, c. 90

Can we not live without pleasure, who cannot but with pleasure die?

—Tertullian, c. 215

Epitaph, n. An inscription on a tomb, showing that virtues acquired by death have a retroactive effect.

—Ambrose Bierce, 1906

What is death? A scary mask. Take it off—see, it doesn’t bite.

—Epictetus, c. 110

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

Bereavement is a darkness impenetrable to the imagination of the unbereaved.

—Iris Murdoch, 1974