The life of the dead consists in the recollection cherished of them by the living.

—Marcus Tullius Cicero, 43 BC

The play is the tragedy “Man,” And its hero the conqueror worm.

—Edgar Allan Poe, 1843

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

A god cannot procure death for himself, even if he wished it, which, so numerous are the evils of life, has been granted to man as our chief good.

—Pliny the Elder, c. 77

Whoever has died is freed from sin.

—St. Paul, c. 50

Those from whom we were born have long since departed, and those with whom we grew up exist only in memory. We, too, through the approach of death, become, as it were, trees growing on the sandy bank of a river.

—Bhartrihari, c. 400

I don’t believe in an afterlife, although I am bringing a change of underwear.

—Woody Allen, 1971

I am about to take my last voyage, a great leap in the dark.

—Thomas Hobbes, 1679

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

There is no man so fortunate that there shall not be by him when he is dying some who are pleased with what is going to happen.

—Marcus Aurelius, c. 175

The call of death is a call of love. Death can be sweet if we answer it in the affirmative, if we accept it as one of the great eternal forms of life and transformation.

—Hermann Hesse, 1950

Every individual existence goes out in a lonely spasm of helpless agony.

—William James, 1902

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