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 think it makes small difference to the dead if they are buried in the tokens of luxury. All this is an empty glorification left for those who live.

—Euripides, 415 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

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

—Edgar Watson Howe, 1911

I order that my funeral ceremonies be extremely modest, and that they take place at dawn or at the evening Ave Maria, without song or music.

—Giuseppe Verdi, 1900

Death keeps no calendar.

—George Herbert, 1640

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

—Edgar Allan Poe, 1843

I imagined it was more difficult to die. 

—Louis XIV, 1715

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

—John Osborne, 1956

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

The hour of departure has arrived, and we go our ways—I to die, and you to live. Which is better, only the god knows.

—Socrates, 399 BC

The dead are often just as living to us as the living are, only we cannot get them to believe it. They can come to us, but till we die we cannot go to them. To be dead is to be unable to understand that one is alive. 

—Samuel Butler, c. 1888

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

—Edna St. Vincent Millay, 1928

Is this dying? Is this all? Is this all that I feared when I prayed against a hard death? Oh, I can bear this! I can bear it!

—Cotton Mather, 1728

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

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 renders all equal.

—Claudian, c. 395

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

—Iris Murdoch, 1974

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

—Ambrose Bierce, 1906

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

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

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

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

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

—Marcus Tullius Cicero, 43 BC

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

—Epictetus, c. 110

You are dust, and to dust you shall return.

—Book of Genesis, c. 800 BC

Life is a farce, and should not end with a mourning scene.

—Horace Walpole, 1784

Drive your cart and your plow over the bones of the dead.

—William Blake, c. 1790

If a man will observe as he walks the streets, I believe he will find the merriest countenances in mourning coaches.

—Jonathan Swift, 1706

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

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

Whoever has died is freed from sin.

—St. Paul, c. 50

I doubt that we have any right to pity the dead for their own sakes.

—Lord Byron, 1817

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

—William James, 1902

I do not amuse myself by thinking of dead people.

—Napoleon Bonaparte, 1807

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

—Book of Proverbs, c. 350 BC

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

—Oscar Wilde, 1891

Under the wide and starry sky,

Dig the grave and let me lie.

—Robert Louis Stevenson, 1887

It is not my design to drink or sleep; my design is to make what haste I can to be gone.

—Oliver Cromwell, 1658

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

—Arthur Schopenhauer, 1819

We and the dead ride quick at night. 

—Gottfried August Bürger, 1773

Let my epitaph be, “Here lies Joseph, who failed in everything he undertook.”

—Holy Roman Emperor Joseph II, 1790

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

—Tertullian, c. 215

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

It is noble to die before doing anything that deserves death.

—Anaxandrides, c. 376

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

If a parricide is more wicked than anyone who commits homicide—because he kills not merely a man but a near relative—without doubt worse still is he who kills himself, because there is none nearer to a man than himself. 

—Saint Augustine, c. 420