C.N. Douglas, comp. Forty Thousand Quotations: Prose and Poetical. 1917.


Death is the crown of life.


Not dead, but gone before.

Samuel Rogers.

Death is the gate of life.


Death is another life.


Death comes but once.

Beaumont and Fletcher.

Every moment of life is a step towards death.


Death is a mighty, universal truth.


God’s finger touched him, and he slept.


Passing through Nature to eternity.


Death is the quiet haven of us all.


God giveth quietness at last.


In the midst of life we are in death.

Burial Service.

Death levels all things.


O death! thou gentle end of human sorrows.


The blind cave of eternal night.


Where all life dies death lives.


There are remedies for all things but death.


Death is Life’s high meed.


Death hath a thousand doors to let out life.


A man can die but once.


I want to meet my God awake.


Death will have his day.


Tell me, my soul! can this be death?


Death robs the rich and relieves the poor.

J. L. Basford.

I must sleep now.

Dying words of Byron.

Thou hast all seasons for thine own, O death!

Mrs. Hemans.

Cruel as death and hungry as the grave.


Death, thou art infinite; it is life is little.


What can they suffer that do not fear to die?


This is the last of earth! I am content.

John Quincy Adams.

The breathing miracle into silence passed!

Gerald Massey.

Dear beauteous death, the jewel of the just.

Henry Vaughan.

Death is the greatest evil, because it cuts off hope.


Death ready stands to interpose his dart.


Death loves a shining mark, a signal blow.


The young may die, but the old must!


Heaven gives its favorites early death.


Is it then so sad a thing to die?


Tired he sleeps, and life’s poor play is o’er.


Death lays his icy hand on kings.


The sense of death is most in apprehension.


Death is a release from and an end of all pains.


’Tis long since death had the majority.


If some men died and others did not, death would indeed be a most mortifying evil.

La Bruyère.

Death, as the psalmist saith, is certain to all; all shall die.


Just death, kind umpire of men’s miseries.


Death is the last limit of all things.


Good men but see death, the wicked taste it.

Ben Jonson.

Death is not an end. It is a new impulse.

Henry Ward Beecher.

Man makes a death, which nature never made.


It is infamy to die, and not be missed.

Carlos Wilcox.

The most happy ought to wish for death.


Though death be poor, it ends a mortal woe.


The relations of all living end in separation.


He that dies pays all debts.


The sleeping partner of life—a change of existence.

Paul Chatfield.

Men fear death as children fear to go in the dark.


To have to die is a distinction of which no man is proud.

Alexander Smith.

He that dies this year is quit for the next.


There are few die well that die in a battle.


  • Death’s but a path that must be trod,
  • If man would ever pass to God.
  • Parnell.

  • Kings and mightiest potentates must die,
  • For that’s the end of human misery.
  • Shakespeare.

    Ah! surely nothing dies but something mourns.


    That which is so universal as death must be a benefit.


    Is death the last sleep? No, it is the last final awakening.

    Walter Scott.

    Death gives us sleep, eternal youth, and immortality.


    I heard that God had called your mother home to heaven. It will seem more than ever like home to you now.


    It is not I who die, when I die, but my sin and misery.


    I have often thought of death, and I find it the least of all evils.

    Jeremy Taylor.

    All my possessions for a moment of time.

    Last words of Queen Elizabeth.

    I regret not death. I am going to meet my friends in another world.


    No king nor nation one moment can retard the appointed hour.


    The farthest from the fear are often nearest to the stroke of fate.


    What is death, after all? We leave only mortals behind us.

    Ninon de Lenclos.

    The eyes of our souls only then begin to see when our bodily eyes are closing.

    William Law.

    That golden key that opes the palace of eternity.


    Death is the waiting-room where we robe ourselves for immortality.


    One may live as a conquerer, a king, or a magistrate; but he must die as a man.

    Daniel Webster.

  • Death, so called, is a thing that makes men weep,
  • And yet a third of life is pass’d in sleep.
  • Byron.

    How much of love lies buried in dusty graves!

    F. A. Durivage.

    The heart is the first part that quickens, and the last that dies.

    John Ray.

  • Gone before
  • To that unknown and silent shore.
  • Charles Lamb.

    We are dying from our very birth, and our end hangs on our beginning.


    Dead! God, how much there is in that little word!


    Faith builds a bridge across the gulf of death.


    Death is a black camel, which kneels at the gates of all.


    Soon as man, expert from time, has found the key of life, it opes the gates of death.


  • He that cuts off twenty years of life
  • Cuts off so many years of fearing death.
  • Horace.

  • The air is full of farewells to the dying,
  • And mournings for the dead.
  • Longfellow.

    Jesus does not want us to say, “dead,” for, He said, “all live unto Him,” though they seem dead to us.


    Life is the jailer, death the angel sent to draw the unwilling bolts and set us free.


  • How wonderful is Death, Death and his brother Sleep!
  • Shelley.

    Pale death enters with impartial step the cottages of the poor and the palaces of the rich.


  • Men drop so fast, ere life’s mid stage we tread,
  • Few know so many friends alive, as dead.
  • Young.

    It were well to die if there be gods, and sad to live if there be none.

    Marcus Antoninus.

    How wonderful is Death, Death and his brother Sleep!


    To how many is the death of the beloved the parent of faith!


  • Death lies on her like an untimely frost
  • Upon the sweetest flower of all the field.
  • Shakespeare.

    Men may live fools, but fools they cannot die.


    Death is the ultimate boundary of human matters.


    We turn to dust, and all our mightiest works die too.


    The ancients dreaded death: the Christian can only fear dying.

    J. C. and A. W. Hare.

    Yes, death—the hourly possibility of it—death is the sublimity of life.


    The finest day of life is that on which one quits it.

    Frederick the Great.

  • Death rides on every passing breeze,
  • He lurks in every flower.
  • Bishop Heber.

  • The first dark day of nothingness,
  • The last of danger and distress.
  • Byron.

    There is no fireside, howsoe’er defended, but has one vacant chair!


    To fear death is the way to live long; to be afraid of death is to be long a dying.


    There is nothing certain in man’s life but this, that be must lose it.

    Owen Meredith.

  • Knowledge by suffering endureth,
  • And life is perfected by Death.
  • Mrs. Browning.

  • Death in itself is nothing; but we fear
  • To be we know not what, we know not where.
  • Dryden.

    Death hath no advantage but where it comes a stranger.

    Jeremy Taylor.

    Death comes to us, under many conditions, with all the welcome serenity of sleep.

    Hosea Ballou.

  • There is no death. The thing that we call death
  • Is but another, sadder name for life.
  • Stoddard.

    No better armor against the darts of death than to be busied in God’s service.

    Thomas Fuller.

    Can honor’s voice provoke the silent dust, or flattery soothe the dull, cold ear of death?


  • The hour conceal’d and so remote the fear,
  • Death still draws nearer, never seeming near.
  • Pope.

    We understand death for the first time when he puts his hand upon one whom we love.

    Mme. de Staël.

    The good die first; and they whose hearts are dry as summer dust burn to the socket.


  • For in that sleep of death what dreams may come.
  • Shakespeare.

    When a few years are come, then I shall go the way whence I shall not return.


  • He gave his honours to the world again,
  • His blessed part to heaven, and slept in peace.
  • Shakespeare.

    Before decay’s effacing fingers have swept the lines where beauty lingers.


  • The tall, the wise, the reverend head,
  • Must lie as low as ours.
  • Isaac Watts.

    We thought her dying while she slept, and sleeping when she died.


  • You who come my grave to view,
  • A moment stop and think,
  • That I am in eternity,
  • And you are on the brink.
  • Epitaph.

    You should not fear, nor yet should you wish for your last day.


  • But, oh! fell Death’s untimely frost,
  • That nipt my flower sae early.
  • Burns.

  • To our graves we walk
  • In the thick footprints of departed men.
  • Alex. Smith.

    It is only to those who have never lived that death ever can seem beautiful.


    My sole defense against the natural horror which death inspires is to love beyond it.

    Mme. Swetchine.

    Nor virtue, wit, or beauty, could preserve from death’s hand this their heavenly mould.


  • Death has made
  • His darkness beautiful with thee.
  • Tennyson.

  • Of no distemper, of no blast he died
  • But fell like autumn fruit that mellow’d long.
  • Dryden.

    Death borders upon our birth; and our cradle stands in our grave.

    Bishop Hall.

  • Good-bye, proud world; I’m going home:
  • Thou art not my friend, and I’m not thine.
  • Emerson.

  • The shadow cloak’d from head to foot,
  • Who keeps the keys of all the creeds.
  • Tennyson.

    That last day does not bring extinction to us, but change of place.


    Death is a friend of ours; and he that is not ready to entertain him is not at home.


    The uncertainty of death is, in effect, the great support of the whole system of life.


    It is silliness to live when to live is a torment; and then we have a prescription to die when death is our physician.


    It is the cause, and not the death, that makes the martyr.

    Napoleon I.

    I looked, and behold a pale horse; and his name that sat on him was Death.


    Death but supplies the oil for the inextinguishable lamp of life.


    Death is the ugly fact which Nature has to hide, and she hides it well.

    Alexander Smith.

    There are countless roads on all sides to the grave.


  • Early, bright, transient, chaste as morning dew,
  • She sparkled, was exhal’d, and went to heaven.
  • Young.

    Death never happens but once, yet we feel it every moment of our lives.

    La Bruyère.

    If one was to think constantly of death the business of life would stand still.


    Death comes equally to us all, and makes us all equal when it comes.


  • Before mine eyes in opposition sits
  • Grim Death, my son and foe.
  • Milton.

    Death is appalling to those of the most iron nerves, when it comes quietly and in the stillness and solitude of night.

    James Fenimore Cooper.

    Death***openeth the gate to good fame, and extinguished envy.


    Those only can thoroughly feel the meaning of death who know what is perfect love.

    George Eliot.

  • Death is the universal salt of states;
  • Blood is the base of all things—law and war.
  • Bailey.

    Death is easier to bear without thinking of it, than the thought of death without peril.


    He only half dies who leaves an image of himself in his sons.


    The angel of Death has been abroad throughout the land; you may almost hear the beating of his wings.

    John Bright.

    Neither the sun nor death can be looked at steadily.

    La Rochefoucauld.

    There is a remedy for everything but death, who, in spite of our teeth, will take us in his clutches.


    Men have died from time to time, and worms have eaten them, but not for love.


    This day which thou fearest so much, and which thou callest thy last, is the birthday of an eternity.


    Is it courage in a dying man to go, in weakness and in agony, to affront an almighty and eternal God?


    Going out into life—that is dying. Christ is the door out of life.

    Henry Ward Beecher.

    In the capacious urn of death, every name is shaken.


    He who fears death has already lost the life he covets.


    The time will come to every human being when it must be known how well he can bear to die.


    Death is the dropping of the flower that the fruit may swell.


    Death is dreadful to the man whose all is extinguished with his life; but not to him whose glory never can die.


  • Though in midst of life we be
  • Snares of death surround us.
  • Martin Luther.

    Life is the triumph of our mouldering clay; death, of the spirit infinite! divine!


    To a father, when his child dies, the future dies; to a child, when his parents die, the past dies.


    Not where death hath power may love be blest.

    Mrs. Hemans.

    The gods conceal from men the happiness of death, that they may endure life.


    That evil can never be great which is the last.

    Cornelius Nepos.

  • A death-like sleep,
  • A gentle wafting to immortal life.
  • Milton.

  • Here is my journey’s end, here is my birth,
  • And very sea-mark of my utmost sail.
  • Shakespeare.

    There is no finite life except unto death; no death except unto higher life.


    A short death is the sovereign good hap of human life.


    Death is an equal doom to good and bad, the common inn of rest.


    Death? Translated into the heavenly tongue, that word means life!


    It is uncertain at what place death awaits thee. Wait thou for it at every place.


    The tongues of dying men enforce attention, like deep harmony.


    Death and love are the two wings which bear man from earth to heaven.

    Michael Angelo.

    Death is as the foreshadowing of life. We die that we may die no more.


    The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death.


    If Socrates died like a sage, Jesus died like a God.


    Believe that each day is the last to shine upon thee.


    The whole life of a philosopher is the meditation of his death.


    If I must die, I will encounter darkness as a bride, and hug it in mine arms.


    Death possesses a good deal of real estate, namely, the graveyard in every town.


  • Let no man fear to die, we love to sleep all,
  • And death is but the sounder sleep.
  • Beaumont.

  • When beggars die, there are no comets seen;
  • The heavens themselves blaze forth the death of princes.
  • Shakespeare.

  • He that hath a will to die by himself,
  • Fears it not from another.
  • Shakespeare.

  • The sands are number’d, that make up my life;
  • Here must I stay, and here my life must end.
  • Shakespeare.

    That death is best which comes appropriately at a ripe age.


  • Death only this mysterious truth unfolds,
  • The mighty soul how small a body holds.
  • Dryden.

    Look forward a little further to the period when all the noise and tumult and business of this world shall have closed forever.

    J. G. Pike.

    When I lived, I provided for everything but death; now I must die, and am unprepared.

    Cæsar Borgia.

  • The world recedes; it disappears!
  • Heaven opens on my eyes!
  • Pope.

  • And when obedient nature knows his will,
  • A fly, a grapestone, or a hair can kill.
  • Prior.

    An honorable death is better than a dishonorable life.


  • Death has left on her,
  • Only the beautiful.
  • Hood.

    He who does not fear death cares naught for threats.


    What! is there no bribing death?

    Dying words of Cardinal Beaufort.

    The long sleep of death closes our scars, and the short sleep of life our wounds.

    Jean Paul Richter.

    The divinity who rules within us forbids us to leave this world without his command.


    No evil is honorable: but death is honorable; therefore death is not evil.


    There is no death! What seems so is transition.


    This I ask, is it not madness to kill thyself in order to escape death!


  • On this side and on that, men see their friends
  • Drop off like leaves in autumn.
  • Blair.

    Who knows that ’tis not life which we call death, and death our life on earth?


  • Nothing in his life
  • Became him like the leaving it.
  • Shakespeare.

    Thou fool, what is sleep but the image of death? Fate will give an eternal rest.


  • Men must endure their going hence,
  • Even as their coming hither.
  • Shakespeare.

    Death alone discloses how insignificant are the puny bodies of men.


    All our days travel toward death, and the last one reaches it.


    Who now travels that dark path to the bourne from which they say no one returns.


  • Teach him how to live,
  • And, oh! still harder lesson! how to die.
  • Bishop Porteus.

    To die at the command of another is to die twice.


    Wherever I look there is nothing but the image of death.


    Death is not grievous to me, for I shall lay aside my pains by death.


  • Sleep the sleep that knows not breaking,
  • Morn of toil, nor night of waking.
  • Scott.

    Sometimes death is a punishment; often a gift; it has been a favor to many.


    Beauty is fading, nor is fortune stable; sooner or later death comes to all.


    When death gives us a long lease of life, it takes as hostages all those whom we have loved.

    Mme. Necker.

    The character wherewith we sink into the grave at death is the very character wherewith we shall reappear at the resurrection.

    Thomas Chalmers.

    Death is a silent, peaceful genius, who rocks our second childhood to sleep in the cradle of the coffin.


    Death, remembered, should be like a mirror, who tells us life is but a breath; to trust it, error.


    Death shuns the naked throat and proffered breast; he flies when called to be a welcome guest.

    Sir Charles Sedley.

    Death is a stage in human progress, to be passed as we would pass from childhood to youth, or from youth to manhood, and with the same consciousness of an everlasting nature.


    And when no longer we can see Thee, may we reach out our hands, and find Thee leading us through death to immortality and glory.

    H. W. Beecher.

    The knell, the shroud, the mattock, and the grave, the deep, damp vault, the darkness and the worm.


    Whatever crazy sorrow saith, no life that breathes with human breath has ever truly longed for death.


    Like other tyrants, death delights to smite what, smitten, most proclaims the pride of power and arbitrary nod.


    Nothing can we call our own but death, and that small model of the barren earth which serves as paste and cover to our bones.


    Death, of all estimated evils, is the only one whose presence never incommoded anybody, and which only causes concern during its absence.


    Setting is preliminary to brighter rising; decay is a process of advancement; death is the condition of higher and more fruitful life.


    We sometimes congratulate ourselves at the moment of waking from a troubled dream—it may be so the moment after death.


    Death is the only monastery; the tomb is the only cell, and the grave that adjoins the convent is the bitterest mock of its futility.


    To the Christian, these shades are the golden haze which heaven’s light makes, when it meets the earth, and mingles with its shadows.

    H. W. Beecher.

    Remember to think of your departed mother always as living, just away in another room of our Father’s house.


    Whatever stress some may lay upon it, a death-bed repentance is but a weak and slender plank to trust our all on.


    Death is like thunder in two particulars; we are alarmed at the sound of it; and it is formidable only from that which preceded it.

    C. C. Colton.

    He that always waits upon God is ready whenever He calls. Neglect not to set your accounts even; he is a happy man who so lives as that death at all times may find him at leisure to die.

    Owen Feltham.

    Dead is she? No; rather let us call ourselves dead, who tire so soon in the service of the Master whom she has gone to serve forever.

    W. S. Smart.

    Death, which hateth and destroyeth a man, is believed; God, which hath made him and loves him, is always deferred.

    Sir Walter Raleigh.

    It seems to be remarkable that death increases our veneration for the good, and extenuates our hatred for the bad.


    Death is not an end, but a transition crisis. All the forms of decay are but masks of regeneration—the secret alembics of vitality.


    To close the eyes, and give a seemly comfort to the apparel of the dead, is poverty’s holiest touch of nature.


    The reconciling grave swallows distinction first, that made us foes, that all alike lie down in peace together.


    It seems as though, at the approach of a certain dark hour, the light of heaven infills those who are leaving the light of earth.

    Victor Hugo.

    The darkness of death is like the evening twilight; it makes all objects appear more lovely to the dying.


    Birth into this life was the death of the embryo life that preceded, and the death of this will be birth into some new mode of being.

    Rev. Dr. Hedge.

    Earth has one angel less, and heaven one more since yesterday. Already, kneeling at the throne, she has received her welcome, and is resting on the bosom of her Saviour.


    To neglect at any time preparation for death is to sleep on our post at a siege; to omit it in old age is to sleep at an attack.


    In the destroyer’s steps there spring up bright creations that defy his power and his dark path becomes a way of light to heaven.


    We bury love; forgetfulness grows over it like grass; that is a thing to weep for, not the dead.

    Alexander Smith.

  • ’Tis the cessation of our breath.
  • Silent and motionless we lie;
  • And no one knoweth more than this.
  • Longfellow.

    If life be a pleasure, yet, since death also is sent by the hand of the same Master, neither should that displease us.

    Michael Angelo.

    Of all the evils of the world which are reproached with an evil character, death is the most innocent of its accusation.

    Jeremy Taylor.

    Approach thy grave like one that wraps the drapery of his couch about him, and lies down to pleasant dreams.


    Death came with friendly care, the opening bud to heaven conveyed, and bade it blossom there.


    The premeditation of death is the premeditation of liberty; he who has learnt to die has forgot to serve.


    I look upon death to be as necessary to our constitution as sleep. We shall rise refreshed in the morning.


    Death is not the monarch of the dead, but of the dying. The moment he obtains a conquest, he loses a subject.

    Thomas Paine.

    Let us live like those who expect to die, and then we shall find that we feared death only because we were unacquainted with it.

    William Wake.

    ’Tis the only discipline we are born for; all studies else are but as circular lines, and death the center where they all must meet.


  • The night comes on that knows not morn,
  • When I shall cease to be all alone,
  • To live forgotten, and love forlorn.
  • Tennyson.

  • Death is not rare, alas! nor burials few,
  • And soon the grassy coverlet of God
  • Spreads equal green above their ashes pale.
  • Bayard Taylor.

  • Death is delightful. Death is dawn—
  • The waking from a weary night
  • Of fevers unto truth and light.
  • Joaquin Miller.

  • All that tread
  • The globe are but a handful to the tribes
  • That slumber in its bosom.
  • Bryant.

  • Then Sleep and Death, two twins of winged race,
  • Of matchless swiftness, but of silent pace.
  • Homer.

  • Like a led victim, to my death I’ll go,
  • And, dying, bless the hand that gave the blow.
  • Dryden.

    Men in general do not live as if they looked to die; and therefore do not die as if they looked to live.


  • By medicine life may be prolong’d, yet death
  • Will seize the doctor too.
  • Shakespeare.

    Death is a commingling of eternity with time; in the death of a good man, eternity is seen looking through time.


    Death is the liberator of him whom freedom cannot release, the physician of him whom medicine cannot cure, and the comforter of him whom time cannot console.


    It is as natural to die as to be born; and to a little infant, perhaps, the one is as painful as the other.


    It is by no means a fact that death is the worst of all evils; when it comes it is an alleviation to mortals who are worn out with sufferings.


    Death is the only physician, the shadow of his valley the only journeying that will cure us of age and the gathering fatigue of years.

    George Eliot.

    The happiest of pillows is not that which love first presses! it is that which death has frowned on and passed over.


    A few feet under the ground reigns so profound a silence, and yet so much tumult on the surface!

    Victor Hugo.

  • Oh, God! it is a fearful thing
  • To see the human soul take wing
  • In any shape, in any mood!
  • Byron.

  • Death rides in triumph,—fell destruction
  • Lashes his fiery horse, and round about him
  • His many thousand ways to let out souls.
  • Beaumont and Fletcher.

    To die, I own, is a dread passage—terrible to nature, chiefly to those who have, like me, been happy.


  • How short is human life; the very breath,
  • Which frames my words, accelerates my death.
  • Hannah More.

    Death itself is less painful when it comes upon us unawares than the bare contemplation of it, even when danger is far distant.


    Suns may set and rise; we, when our short day is closed, must sleep on during one never-ending night.


  • To die is lasting on some silent shore,
  • Where billows never break nor tempests roar;
  • Ere well we feel the friendly stroke ’tis o’er.
  • Sir Samuel Garth.

    O mighty Cæsar! dost thou lie so low? Are all thy conquests, glories, triumphs, spoils, shrunk to this little measure?


    If thou expect death as a friend, prepare to entertain it; if thou expect death as an enemy, prepare to overcome it; death has no advantage, but when it comes a stranger.


    Man should ever look to his last day, and no one should be called happy before his funeral.


  • Lay her i’ the earth;
  • And from her fair and unpolluted flesh
  • May violets spring!
  • Shakespeare.

    A man after death is not a natural but a spiritual man; nevertheless he still appears in all respects like himself.


  • Death upon his face
  • Is rather shine than shade,
  • A tender shine by looks beloved made.
  • Mrs. Browning.

  • I fled, and cried out Death!
  • Hell trembled at the hideous name, and sigh’d
  • From all her caves, and back resounded Death.
  • Milton.

    Death to the Christian is the funeral of all his sorrows and evils, and the resurrection of all his joys.


    He whom the gods love dies young, while he is in health, has his senses and his judgment sound.


    When at last the angels come to convey your departing spirit to Abraham’s bosom, depend upon it, however dazzling in their newness they may be to you, you will find that your history is no novelty, and you yourself no stranger to them.

    James Hamilton.

    So we fall asleep in Jesus. We have played long enough at the games of life, and at last we feel the approach of death. We are tired out, and we lay our heads back on the bosom of Christ, and quietly fall asleep.

    H. W. Beecher.

    Reflect on death as in Jesus Christ, not as without Jesus Christ. Without Jesus Christ it is dreadful, it is alarming, it is the terror of nature. In Jesus Christ it is fair and lovely, it is good and holy, it is the joy of saints.


    The most heaven-like spots I have ever visited have been certain rooms in which Christ’s desciples were awaiting the summons of death. So far from being a “house of mourning,” I have often found such a house to be a vestibule of glory.

    T. L. Cuyler.

  • How well he fell asleep!
  • Like some proud river, widening toward the sea;
  • Calmly and grandly, silently and deep,
  • Life joined eternity.
  • S. T. Coleridge.

  • When darkness gathers over all,
  • And the last tottering pillars fall,
  • Take the poor dust Thy mercy warms,
  • And mould it into heavenly forms.
  • O. W. Holmes.

  • Death cannot come
  • To him untimely who is fit to die;
  • The less of this cold world, the more of heaven;
  • The briefer life, the earlier immortality.
  • Millman.

    Drawing near her death, she sent most pious thoughts as harbingers to heaven; and her soul saw a glimpse of happiness through the chinks of her sickness-broken body.

    Thomas Fuller.

    It is impossible that anything so natural, so necessary, and so universal as death should ever have been designed by Providence as an evil to mankind.


    Certainly the contemplation of death, as the wages of sin, and passage to another world, is holy and religious; but the fear of it, as a tribute due unto Nature, is weak.


    He that would die well must always look for death, every day knocking at the gates of the grave; and then the grave shall never prevail against him to do him mischief.

    Jeremy Taylor.

    Death is so genuine a fact that it excludes falsehoods, or betrays its emptiness; it is a touchstone that proves the gold, and dishonors the baser metal.


    Seek such union to the Son of God as, leaving no present death within, shall make the second death impossible, and shall leave in all your future only that shadow of death which men call dissolution, and which the gospel calls sleeping in Jesus.

    James Hamilton.

    All was ended now, the hope and the fear and the sorrow, all the aching of heart, the restless, unsatisfied longing, all the dull, deep pain, and constant anguish of patience.


    When the dust of death has choked a great man’s voice, the common words he said turn oracles, the common thoughts he yoked like horses draw like griffins.

    Mrs. Browning.

    The weariest and most loathed worldly life that age, ache, penury, and imprisonment can lay on nature is a paradise to what we fear of death.


  • Soon for me the light of day
  • Shall forever pass away;
  • Then from sin and sorrow free,
  • Take me, Lord, to dwell with Thee.
  • Doane.

  • Love masters agony; the soul that seemed
  • Forsaken feels her present God again
  • And in her Father’s arms
  • Contented dies away.
  • John Keble.

    Many persons sigh for death when it seems far off, but the inclination vanishes when the boat upsets, or the locomotive runs off the track, or the measles set it.

    T. W. Higginson.

    We die every day; every moment deprives us of a portion of life and advances us a step toward the grave; our whole life is only a long and painful sickness.


    The fear of approaching death, which in youth we imagine must cause inquietude to the aged, is very seldom the source of much uneasiness.


    O Death, what are thou? nurse of dreamless slumbers freshening the fevered flesh to a wakefulness eternal.


    Everything dies, and on this spring morning, if I lay my ear to the ground, I seem to hear from every point of the compass the heavy step of men who carry a corpse to its burial.

    Madame de Gasparin.

    Death makes a beautiful appeal to charity. When we look upon the dead form, so composed and still, the kindness and the love that are in us all come forth.


    There is nothing of evil in life for him who rightly comprehends that death is no evil; to know how to die delivers us from all subjection and constraint.


    Death is as near to the young as to the old; here is all the difference: death stands behind the young man’s back, before the old man’s face.

    Rev. T. Adams.

    Cullen whispered in his last moments: “I wish I had the power of writing or speaking, for then I would describe to you how pleasant a thing it is to die.”

    Dr. Derby.

    Death to a good man is but passing through a dark entry, out of one little dusky room of his Father’s house into another that is fair and large, lightsome and glorious, and divinely entertaining.

    Adam Clarke.

    All life is surrounded by a great circumference of death; but to the believer in Jesus, beyond this surrounding death is a boundless sphere of life. He has only to die once to be done with death forever.

    James Hamilton.

    How beautiful it is for a man to die on the walls of Zion! to be called like a watch-worn and weary sentinel, to put his armor off, and rest in heaven.

    N. P. Willis.

    Death opens the gate of fame, and shuts the gate of envy after it; it unlooses the chain of the captive, and puts the bondsman’s task into another man’s hand.


    When a man dies they who survive him ask what property he has left behind. The angel who bends over the dying man asks what good deeds he has sent before him.


  • Life’s race well run,
  • Life’s work well done,
  • Life’s crown well won,
  • Now comes rest.
  • President Garfield’s Epitaph.

    The churchyard is the market-place where all things are rated at their true value, and those who are approaching it talk of the world and its vanities with a wisdom unknown before.


    There are such things as a man shall remember with joy upon his death-bed; such as shall cheer and warm his heart even in that last and bitter agony.


    If human love hath power to penetrate the veil—and hath it not?—then there are yet living here a few who have the blessedness of knowing that an angel loves them.


    We look at death through the cheap-glazed windows of the flesh, and believe him the monster which the flawed and cracked glass represents him.


    I have heard that death takes us away from ill things, not from good. I have heard that when we pronounce the name of man we pronounce the belief of immortality.


  • To die,—to sleep,—
  • No more;—and by a sleep to say we end
  • The heart-ache, and the thousand natural shocks
  • That flesh is heir to.
  • Shakespeare.

  • And there at Venice gave
  • His body to that pleasant country’s earth,
  • And his pure soul unto his captain Christ,
  • Under whose colours he had fought so long.
  • Shakespeare.

  • How oft, when men are at the point of death,
  • Have they been merry! which their keepers call
  • A lightning before death.
  • Shakespeare.

    Nature intends that, at fixed periods, men should succeed each other by the instrumentality of death. We shall never outwit Nature; we shall die as usual.


  • The world recedes; it disappears!
  • Heav’n opens on my eyes! my ears
  • With sounds seraphic ring:
  • Lend, lend your wings! I mount! I fly!
  • Pope.

  • The prince, who kept the world in awe,
  • The judge, whose dictate fix’d the law,
  • The rich, the poor, the great, the small,
  • Are levell’d: death confounds ’em all.
  • Gay.

  • The world will turn when we are earth
  • As though we had not come nor gone;
  • There was no lack before our birth,
  • When we are gone there will be none.
  • Omar Khayyám.

  • Strange—is it not?—that of the myriads who
  • Before us passed the door of Darkness through,
  • Not one returns to tell us of the road
  • Which to discover we must travel too.
  • Omar Khayyám.

  • For thee, O now a silent soul, my brother,
  • Take at my hands this garland and farewell.
  • Thin is the leaf, and chill the wintry smell,
  • And chill the solemn earth, a fatal mother.
  • Swinburne.

  • Death! to the happy thou art terrible;
  • But how the wretched love to think of thee,
  • O thou true comforter! the friend of all
  • Who have no friend beside!
  • Southey.

  • There is no Death! What seems so is transition;
  • This life of mortal breath
  • Is but a suburb of the life elysian,
  • Whose portal we call death.
  • Longfellow.

  • Death is the port where all may refuge find,
  • The end of labor, entry into rest;
  • Death hath the bounds of misery confin’d
  • Whose sanctuary shrouds affliction best.
  • Earl of Stirling.

  • O death! the poor man’s dearest friend,
  • The kindest and the best!
  • Welcome the hour, my aged limbs
  • Are laid with thee at rest!
  • Burns.

    What is certain in death, is somewhat softened by what is uncertain; it is an indefiniteness in the time, which holds a certain relation to the infinite, and what is called eternity.

    La Bruyère.

  • And thou art terrible—the tear,
  • The groan, the knell, the pall, the bier;
  • And all we know, or dream, or fear
  • Of agony, are thine.
  • Halleck.

    When we see our enemies and friends gliding away before us, let us not forget that we are subject to the general law of mortality, and shall soon be where our doom will be fixed forever.

    Dr. Johnson.

  • As man, perhaps, the moment of his breath,
  • Receives the lurking principle of death;
  • The young disease, that must subdue at length,
  • Grows with his growth, and strengthens with his strength.
  • Pope.

    His last day places man in the same state as he was before he was born; nor after death has the body or soul any more feeling than they had before birth.

    Pliny the Elder.

  • She thought our good-night kiss was given,
  • And like a lily her life did close;
  • Angels uncurtain’d that repose,
  • And the next waking dawn’d in heaven.
  • Gerald Massey.

  • Then with no fiery throbbing pain,
  • No cold gradations of decay,
  • Death broke at once the vital chain,
  • And freed his soul the nearest way.
  • Samuel Johnson.

  • The soul too soft its ills to bear,
  • Has left our mortal hemisphere,
  • And sought in better world the meed
  • To blameless life by heaven decreed.
  • Scott.

  • But whether on the scaffold high,
  • Or in the battle’s van,
  • The fittest place where man can die
  • Is where he dies for man.
  • Michael J. Barry.

  • Dust, to its narrow house beneath!
  • Soul, to its place on high!
  • They that have seen thy look in death,
  • No more may fear to die.
  • Mrs. Hemans.

    As the films of clay are removed from our eyes, Death loses the false aspect of the spectre, and we fall at last into its arms as a wearied child upon the bosom of its mother.


  • But since, howe’er protracted, death will come,
  • Why fondly study, with ingenious pains,
  • To put it off?—To breathe a little longer
  • Is to defer our fate, but not to shun it.
  • Hannah More.

  • First our pleasures die—and then
  • Our hopes, and then our fears—and when
  • These are dead, the debt is due,
  • Dust claims dust—and we die too.
  • Shelley.

  • There is a Reaper whose name is Death,
  • And with his sickle keen,
  • He reaps the bearded grain at a breath,
  • And the flowers that grow between.
  • Longfellow.

  • What day, what hour, but knocks at human hearts,
  • To wake the soul to sense of future scenes?
  • Deaths stand like Mercurys, in every way,
  • And kindly point us to our journey’s end.
  • Dr. Young.

  • Death is the king of this world: ’tis his park
  • Where he breeds life to feed him. Cries of pain
  • Are music for his banquet.
  • George Eliot.

  • And, as she looked around, she saw how Death, the consoler,
  • Laying his hand upon many a heart, had healed it forever.
  • Longfellow.

  • Death comes to all. His cold and sapless hand
  • Waves o’er the world, and beckons us away.
  • Who shall resist the summons?
  • Thomas Love Peacock.

  • How shocking must thy summons be, O death!
  • To him that is at ease in his possessions;
  • Who, counting on long years of pleasure here,
  • Is quite unfurnish’d for that world to come!
  • Blair.

  • Two hands upon the breast,
  • And labor’s done;
  • Two pale feet cross’d in rest,
  • The race is won.
  • D. M. Mulock.

    The truth of it is, there is nothing in history which is so improving to the reader as those accounts which we meet with of the death of eminent persons and of their behavior in that dreadful season.


    But the grave is not deep; it is the shining tread of an angel that seeks us. When the unknown hand throws the fatal dart at the end of man, then boweth he his head and the dart only lifts the crown of thorns from his wounds.


    Brethren, we are all sailing home; and by and by, when we are not thinking of it, some shadowy thing (men call it death), at midnight, will pass by, and will call us by name, and will say, “I have a message for you from home; God wants you; heaven waits for you.”

    H. W. Beecher.

    Death is the wish of some, the relief of many, and the end of all. It sets the slave at liberty, carries the banished man home, and places all mortals on the same level, insomuch that life itself were a punishment without it.


    He that always waits upon God is ready whensoever He calls. Neglect not to set your accounts even; he is a happy man who so lives as that death at all times may find him at leisure to die.


    When you take the wires of the cage apart, you do not hurt the bird, but help it. You let it out of its prison. How do you know that death does not help me when it takes the wires of my cage down?—that it does not release me, and put me into some better place, and better condition of life?

    Bishop Randolph S. Foster.

    Death is a mighty mediator. There all the flames of rage are extinguished, hatred is appeased, and angelic pity, like a weeping sister, bends with gentle and close embrace over the funeral urn.


    “Come and see how a Christian can die,” said the dying sage to his pupil; how would it do to say, “Come and see how an infidel can die?”—How would it have done for Voltaire to say this, who, in his panic at the prospect of eternity, offered his physician half his fortune for six weeks more of life?

    James Hamilton.

    Against specious appearances we must set clear convictions, bright and ready for use. When death appears as an evil, we ought immediately to remember that evils are things to be avoided, but death is inevitable.


    O, if the deeds of human creatures could be traced to their source, how beautiful would even death appear; for how much charity, mercy, and purified affection would be seen to have their growth in dusty graves!


    What is our death but a night’s sleep? For as through sleep all weariness and faintness pass away and cease, and the powers of the spirit come back again, so that in the morning we arise fresh and strong and joyous; so at the Last Day we shall rise again as if we had only slept a night, and shall be fresh and strong.

    Martin Luther.

    If life has not made you by God’s grace, through faith, holy—think you, will death without faith do it? The cold waters of that narrow stream are no purifying bath in which you may wash and be clean. No! no! as you go down into them, you will come up from them.

    Alexander Maclaren.

    Let death and exile, and all other things which appear terrible, be daily before your eyes, but death chiefly; and you will never entertain any abject thought, nor too eagerly covet anything.


    Feasts and business and pleasure and enjoyments seem great things to us, whilst we think of nothing else; but as soon as we add death to them they all sink into an equal littleness.

    William Law.

    At the last, when we die, we have the dear angels for our escort on the way. They who can grasp the whole world in their hands can surely also guard our souls, that they make that last journey safely.


    There is a sweet anguish springing up in our bosoms when a child’s face brightens under the shadow of the waiting angel. There is an autumnal fitness when age gives up the ghost; and when the saint dies there is a tearful victory.


    If I were a writer of books, I would compile a register, with the comment of the various deaths of men; and it could not but be useful, for who should teach men to die would at the same time teach them to live.


    Death alone of the gods loves not gifts, nor do you need to offer incense or libations; he cares not for altar nor hymn; the goddess of Persuasion alone of the gods has no power over him.


    Can we wonder that men perish and are forgotten, when their noblest and most enduring works decay? Death comes even to monumental structures, and oblivion rests on the most illustrious names.

    Marcus Antoninus.

    The bed of death brings every human being to his pure individuality; to the intense contemplation of that deepest and most solemn of all relations, the relation between the creature and his Creator.

    Daniel Webster.

    We so converse every night with the image of death that every morning we find an argument of the resurrection. Sleep and death have but one mother, and they have one name in common.

    Jeremy Taylor.

    Nature has lent us life, as we do a sum of money; only no certain day is fixed for payment. What reason then to complain if she demands it at pleasure, since it was on this condition that we received it?


    I scarcely know how it is, but the deaths of children seem to me always less premature than those of older persons. Not that they are in fact so, but it is because they themselves have little or no relation to time or maturity.

    Barry Cornwall.

    To mourn deeply for the death of another loosens from myself the petty desire for, and the animal adherence to life. We have gained the end of the philosopher, and view without shrinking the coffin and the pall.


  • Who knows we have not lived before
  • In forms that felt delight and pain?
  • If death is not the open door
  • Through which we pass to life again?
  • David Banks Sickels.

    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.

    La Rochefoucauld.

  • The boast of heraldry, the pomp of power,
  • And all that beauty, all that wealth e’er gave,
  • Await alike the inevitable hour,
  • The paths of glory lead but to the grave.
  • Gray.

  • Thy day without a cloud hath pass’d,
  • And thou wert lovely to the last;
  • Extinguish’d not decay’d!
  • As stars that shoot along the sky
  • Shine brightest as they fall from high.
  • Byron.

  • Can that man be dead
  • Whose spiritual influence is upon his kind?
  • He lives in glory; and his speaking dust
  • Has more of life than half its breathing moulds.
  • Miss Landon.

    Let us not doubt that God has a father’s pity towards us, and that in the removal of that which is dearest to us He is still loving and kind. Death separates, but it also unites. It reunites whom it separates.

    Abraham Coles.

    Philosophy has often attempted to repress insolence by asserting that all conditions are leveled by death; a position which, however it may deject the happy, will seldom afford much comfort to the wretched.

    Dr. Johnson.

    What is death but a ceasing to be what we were before? We are kindled, and put out, we die daily; nature that begot us expels us, and a better and safer place is provided for us.


  • Where the brass knocker, wrapt in flannel band,
  • Forbids the thunder of the footman’s hand,
  • Th’ upholder, rueful harbinger of death,
  • Waits with impatience for the dying breath.
  • Gay.

  • One destin’d period men in common have,
  • The great, the base, the coward, and the brave,
  • All food alike for worms, companions in the grave.
  • Lord Lansdowne.

  • Then fell upon the house a sudden gloom,
  • A shadow on those features fair and thin;
  • And softly, from that hushed and darkened room,
  • Two angels issued, where but one went in.
  • Longfellow.

    The hand that unnerved Belshazzar derived its most horrifying influence from the want of a body, and death itself is not formidable in what we do know of it, but in what we do not.


  • Eyes, look your last!
  • Arms, take your last embrace! and lips O you
  • The doors of breath, seal with a righteous kiss
  • A dateless bargain to engrossing death.
  • Shakespeare.

  • Death wounds to cure: we fall; we rise; we reign!
  • Spring from our fetters; fasten in the skies;
  • Where blooming Eden withers in our sight:
  • Death gives us more than was in Eden lost.
  • This king of terrors is the prince of peace.
  • Young.

  • Every man at time of Death,
  • Would fain set forth some saying that may live
  • After his death and better humankind;
  • For death gives life’s last word a power to live,
  • And, like the stone-cut epitaph, remain
  • After the vanished voice, and speak to men.
  • Tennyson.

    I am not in the least surprised that your impression of death becomes more lively, in proportion as age and infirmity bring it nearer. God makes use of this rough trial to undeceive us in respect to our courage, to make us feel our weakness, and to keep us in all humility in His hands.


    The moment in which the spirit meets death is perhaps like the moment in which it is embraced in sleep. I suppose it never happened to any one to be conscious of the immediate transition from the waking to the sleeping state.

    Mrs. Jameson.

    The world is full of resurrections. Every night that folds us up in darkness is a death; and those of you that have been out early, and have seen the first of the dawn, will know it—the day rises out of the night like a being that has burst its tomb and escaped into life.

    George MacDonald.

    When the veil of death has been drawn between us and the objects of our regard, how quick-sighted do we become to their merits, and how bitterly do we remember words, or even looks, of unkindness which may have escaped in our intercourse with them.

    Bishop Heber.

    No man but knows that he must die; he knows that in whatever quarter of the world he abides—whatever be his circumstances—however strong his present hold of life—however unlike the prey of death he looks—that it is his doom beyond reverse to die.


  • Cowards die many times before their deaths;
  • The valiant never taste of death but once.
  • Of all the wonders that I yet have heard,
  • It seems to me most strange that men should fear;
  • Seeing that death, a necessary end,
  • Will come, when it will come.
  • Shakespeare.

  • The world recedes; it disappears;
  • Heav’n opens on my eyes; my ears
  • With sounds seraphic ring:
  • Lend, lend your wings! I mount! I fly!
  • O Grave! where is thy victory?
  • O Death! where is thy sting?
  • Pope.

    All that nature has prescribed must be good; and as death is natural to us, it is absurdity to fear it. Fear loses its purpose when we are sure it cannot preserve us, and we should draw resolution to meet it from the impossibility to escape it.


  • O Earth, so full of dreary noises!
  • O men, with wailing in your voices!
  • O delved gold, the wailer’s heap!
  • O strife, O curse, that o’er it fall!
  • God makes a silence through you all,
  • And “giveth His beloved, sleep.”
  • Mrs. Browning.

  • Yet ’twill only be a sleep:
  • When, with songs and dewy light,
  • Morning blossoms out of Night,
  • She will open her blue eyes
  • ’Neath the palms of Paradise,
  • While we foolish ones shall weep.
  • Edward Rowland Sill.

  • Sure ’tis a serious thing to die! My soul!
  • What a strange moment must it be, when, near
  • Thy journey’s end, thou hast the gulf in view!
  • That awful gulf, no mortal e’er repass’d
  • To tell what’s doing on the other side.
  • Blair.

  • Death never takes one alone, but two!
  • Whenever he enters in at a door,
  • Under roof of gold or roof of thatch,
  • He always leaves it upon the latch,
  • And comes again ere the year is o’er,
  • Never one of a household only.
  • Longfellow.

  • It is hard
  • To feel the hand of death arrest one’s steps,
  • Throw a chill blight o’er all one’s budding hopes,
  • And hurl one’s soul untimely to the shades
  • Lost in the gaping gulf of blank oblivion.
  • Kirk White.

  • A true philosopher
  • Makes death his common practice, while he lives,
  • And every day by contemplation strives
  • To separate the soul, far as he can,
  • From off the body.
  • May.

  • All at rest now—all dust!—wave flows on wave,
  • But the sea dries not! What to us the grave?
  • It brings no real homily; we sigh,
  • Pause for a while, and murmur, “All must die!”
  • Then rush to pleasure, action, sin, once more,
  • Swell the loud tide, and fret unto the shore!
  • The New Timon.

    And now, with busy, but noiseless process, the Comforter is giving the last finish to the sanctifying work, and making the heir of glory meet for home, till, at a given signal, the portal opens, and even the numb body feels the burst of blessedness as the rigid features smile and say, “I see Jesus,” then leave the vision pictured on the pale but placid brow.

    James Hamilton.

    Death is the tyrant of the imagination. His reign is in solitude and darkness, in tombs and prisons, over weak hearts and seething brains. He lives, without shape or sound, a phantasm, inaccessible to sight or touch—a ghastly and terrible apprehension.

    Barry Cornwall.

    The birds of the air die to sustain thee; the beasts of the field die to nourish thee; the fishes of the sea die to feed thee. Our stomachs are their common sepulchre. Good God! with how many deaths are our poor lives patched up! how full of death is the life of momentary man!


    There is before the eyes of men, on the brink of dissolution, a glassy film, which death appears to impart, that they may have a brief prospect of eternity when some behold the angels of light, while others have the demons of darkness before them.


    Oh that we may all be living in such a state of preparedness, that, when summoned to depart, we may ascend the summit whence faith looks forth on all that Jesus hath suffered and done, and exclaiming, “We have waited for Thy salvation, O Lord,” lie down with Moses on Pisgah, to awake with Moses in paradise.

    Henry Melvill.

    Death brings us again to our friends. They are waiting for us, and we shall not be long. They have gone before us, and are like the angels in heaven. They stand upon the borders of the grave to welcome us with the countenance of affection which they wore on earth,—yet more lovely, more radiant, more spiritual.


    “Paid the debt of nature.” No; it is not paying a debt; it is rather like bringing a note to the bank to obtain solid gold for it. In this case you bring this cumbrous body which is nothing worth, and which you could not wish to retain long; you lay it down, and receive for it from the eternal treasures—liberty, victory, knowledge, rapture.


    For the fear of death is indeed the pretence of wisdom, and not real wisdom, being a pretended knowledge of the unknown; and no one knows whether death, which men in their fear apprehend to be the greatest evil, may not be the greatest good. Is there not here conceit of knowledge, which is a disgraceful sort of ignorance?


  • The death-bed of the just is yet undrawn
  • By mortal hand—it merits a divine.
  • Angels should paint it—angels ever there—
  • There on a post of honour and of joy.
  • A death-bed’s a detector of the heart;—
  • Here tired dissimulation drops her mask:
  • Virtue alone has majesty in death.
  • Young.

  • I live,
  • But live to die: and living, see no thing
  • To make death hateful, save an innate clinging,
  • A loathsome and yet all invincible
  • Instinct of life, which I abhor, as I
  • Despise myself, yet cannot overcome—
  • And so I live.
  • Byron.

  • All buildings are but monuments of death,
  • All clothes but winding-sheets for our last knell,
  • All dainty fattings for the worms beneath,
  • All curious music but our passing bell:
  • Thus death is nobly waited on, for why?
  • All that we have is but death’s livery.
  • Shirley.

  • For I know that Death is a guest divine,
  • Who shall drink my blood as I drink this wine;
  • And he cares for nothing! a king is he—
  • Come on, old fellow, and drink with me!
  • With you I will drink to the solemn past,
  • Though the cup that I drain should be my last.
  • William Winter.

    Death is but a word to us. One’s own experience alone can teach us the real meaning of the word. The sight of the dying does little. What one sees of them is merely what precedes death: dull unconsciousness is all we see. Whether this be so,—how and when the spirit wakes to life again,—this is what all wish to know, and what never can be known until it is experienced.

    Wilhelm von Humboldt.

  • Divinely fair as thine, O never more
  • Would strong hearts break o’er biers. There sleeps to-night
  • A sacred sweetness on thy silent lips,
  • A solemn light upon thy ample brow,
  • That I can never, never hope to find
  • Upon a living face.
  • Smith.

  • ’Tis not the stoic’s lesson got by rote,
  • The pomp of words, and pedant dissertation,
  • That can support thee in that hour of terror.
  • Books have taught cowards to talk nobly of it;
  • But when the trial comes, they start and stand aghast.
  • Rowe.

  • None who e’er knew her can believe her dead;
  • Though, should she die, they deem it well might be
  • Her spirit took its everlasting flight
  • In summer’s glory, by the sunset sea,
  • That onward through the Golden Gate is fled.
  • Ah, where that bright soul is cannot be night.
  • R. W. Gilder.

  • So his life has flow’d
  • From its mysterious urn a sacred stream,
  • In whose calm depth the beautiful and pure
  • Alone are mirror’d, which though shapes of ill
  • May hover round its surface glides in light,
  • And takes no shadow from them.
  • Talfourd.

    It is very singular, how the fact of a man’s death often seems to give people a truer idea of his character, whether for good or evil, than they have ever possessed while he was living and acting among them. Death is so genuine a fact that it excludes falsehood or betray its emptiness; it is a touch-stone that proves the gold, and dishonors the baser metal.


    O eloquent, just and mightie Death! whom none could advise, thou hast perswaded; what none hath dared, thou hast done; and whom all the world hath flattered, thou only hast cast out of the world and despised: thou hast drawne together all the farre stretchéd greatnesse, all the pride, crueltie and ambition of men, and covered it all over with these two narrow words, Hic jacet!

    Sir Walter Raleigh.

    It unfortunately happens that no man believes that he is likely to die soon. So every one is much disposed to defer the consideration of what ought to be done on the supposition of such an emergency; and while nothing is so uncertain as human life, so nothing is so certain as our assurance that we shall survive most of our neighbors.


    I have seen those who have arrived at a fearless contemplation of the future, from faith in the doctrine which our religion teaches. Such men were not only calm and supported, but cheerful in the hour of death; and I never quitted such a sick chamber without a hope that my last end might be like theirs.

    Sir Henry Halford.

  • Then ’tis our best, since thus ordain’d to die,
  • To make a virtue of necessity.
  • Take what he gives, since to rebel is vain,
  • The bad grows better which we well sustain,
  • And could we choose the time and choose aright,
  • ’Tis best to die, our honor at the height.
  • Dryden.

    Living is death; dying is life. We are not what we appear to be. On this side of the grave we are exiles, on that citizens; on this side orphans, on that children; on this side captives, on that freemen; on this side disguised, unknown, on that disclosed and proclaimed as the sons of God.


    Dying visions of angels and Christ and God and heaven are confined to credibly good men. Why do not bad men have such visions? They die of all sorts of diseases; they have nervous temperaments; they even have creeds and hopes about the future which they cling to with very great tenacity; why do not they rejoice in some such glorious illusions when they go out of the world?

    E. F. Burr.

    Death, whether it regards ourselves or others, appears less terrible in war than at home. The cries of women and children, friends in anguish, a dark room, dim tapers, priests and physicians, are what affect us the most on the death-bed. Behold us already more than half dead and buried.

    Henry Home.

    Who is it that called time the avenger, yet failed to see that death was the consoler. What mortal afflictions are there to which death does not bring full remedy? What hurts of hope and body does it not repair? “This is a sharp medicine,” said Raleigh, speaking of the axe, “but it cures all disorders.”


    He that dies in an earnest pursuit is like one that is wounded in hot blood; who, for the time, scarce feels the hurt; and therefore a mind fixed and bent upon somewhat that is good doth avert the dolors of death; but above all, believe it, the sweetest canticle is, “Lord, now lettest Thou Thy servant depart in peace.”


    The day of our decease will be that of our coming of age; and with our last breath we shall become free of the universe. And in some region of infinity, and from among its splendors, this earth will be looked back on like a lowly home, and this life of ours be remembered like a short apprenticeship to duty.


    Could we but know one in a hundred of the close approachings of the skeleton, we should lead a life of perpetual shudder. Often and often do his bony fingers almost clutch our throat, or his foot is put out to give us a cross buttock. But a saving arm pulls him back ere we have seen so much as his shadow.

    Prof. Wilson.

    Friend to the wretch whom every friend forsakes, I woo thee, Death! Life and its joys I leave to those that prize them. Hear me, O gracious God! At Thy good time let Death approach; I reck not, let him but come in genuine form, not with Thy vengeance armed, too much for man to bear.

    Bishop Porteus.

    When death strikes down the innocent and young, for every fragile form from which he lets the panting spirit free, a hundred virtues rise, in shapes of mercy, charity, and love, to walk the world and bless it. Of every tear that sorrowing mortals shed on such green graves, some good is born, some gentler nature comes.


    And when, in the evening of life, the golden clouds rest sweetly and invitingly upon the golden mountains, and the light of heaven streams down through the gathering mists of death, I wish you a peaceful and abundant entrance into that world of blessedness, where the great riddle of life will be unfolded to you in the quick consciousness of a soul redeemed and purified.

    J. G. Holland.

    Let dissolution come when it will, it can do the Christian no harm, for it will be but a passage out of a prison into a palace: out of a sea of troubles into a haven of rest; out of a crowd of enemies to an innumerable company of true, loving, and faithful friends; out of shame, reproach, and contempt, into exceeding great and eternal glory.


    Death did not first strike Adam, the first sinful man, nor Cain, the first hypocrite, but Abel, the innocent and righteous. The first soul that met with death, overcame death; the first soul that parted from earth went to heaven. Death argues not displeasure, because he whom God loved best dies first, and the murderer is punished with living.

    Bishop Hall.

    Death reigns in all the portions of our time. The autumn with its fruits provides disorders for us, and the winter’s cold turns them into sharp diseases, and the spring brings flowers to strew our hearse, and the summer gives green turf and brambles to bind upon our graves. Calentures and surfeit, cold and agues, are the four quarters of the year, and all minister to death; and you can go no whither but you tread upon a dead man’s bones.

    Bishop Taylor.

    There are flowers which only yield their fragrance to the night; there are faces whose beauty only fully opens out in death. No more wrinkles; no drawn, distorted lineaments; an expression of extreme humility, blended with gladness of hope; a serene brightness, and an ideal straightening of the outline, as if the Divine finger, source of supreme beauty, had been laid there.

    Madame de Gasparin.

    The more we sink into the infirmities of age, the nearer we are to immortal youth. All people are young in the other world. That state is an eternal spring, ever fresh and flourishing. Now, to pass from midnight into noon on the sudden, to be decrepit one minute and all spirit and activity the next, must be a desirable change. To call this dying is an abuse of language.

    Jeremy Collier.

    The realm of death seems an enemy’s country to most men, on whose shores they are loathly driven by stress of weather; to the wise man it is the desired port where he moors his bark gladly, as in some quiet haven of the Fortunate Isles; it is the golden west into which his sun sinks, and, sinking, casts back a glory upon the leaden cloud-tack which had darkly besieged his day.


    Ephemera die all at sunset, and no insect of this class has ever sported in the beams of the morning sun. Happier are ye, little human ephemera! Ye played only in the ascending beams, and in the early dawn, and in the eastern light; ye drank only of the prelibations of life; hovered for a little space over the world of freshness and of blossoms; and fell asleep in innocence before yet the morning dew was exhaled.


    Among the poor, the approach of dissolution is usually regarded with a quiet and natural composure, which it is consolatory to contemplate, and which is as far removed from the dead palsy of unbelief as it is from the delirious raptures of fanaticism. Theirs is a true, unhesitating faith, and they are willing to lay down the burden of a weary life, in the sure and certain hope of a blessed immortality.


    Men fear death, as children fear the dark; and as that natural fear in children is increased by frightful tales, so is the other. Groans, convulsions, weeping friends, and the like show death terrible; yet there is no passion so weak but conquers the fear of it, and therefore death is not such a terrible enemy. Revenge triumphs over death, love slights it, honor aspires to it, dread of shame prefers it, grief flies to it, and fear anticipates it.


    Death comes equally to us all, and makes us all equal when it comes. The ashes of an oak in a chimney are no epitaph of that, to tell me how high or how large that was; it tells me not what flocks it sheltered while it stood, nor what men it hurt when it fell. The dust of great persons’ graves is speechless, too; it says nothing, it distinguishes nothing.


    All death in nature is birth, and at the moment of death appears visibly the rising of life. There is no dying principle in nature, for nature throughout is unmixed life, which, concealed behind the old, begins again and develops itself. Death as well as birth is simply in itself, in order to present itself ever more brightly and more like to itself.


  • Sometimes, I think, the angel Death
  • Comes down from realms above,
  • And grants to souls unfit for flight
  • More time to learn God’s love.
  • Sometimes, I think, the pitying tears,
  • Like rain on parching sod,
  • Bring forth new life from wasted years,
  • And bring a soul to God.
  • J. C. H.

    We hold death, poverty, and grief for our principal enemies; but this death, which some repute the most dreadful of all dreadful things, who does not know that others call it the only secure harbor from the storms and tempests of life, the sovereign good of nature, the sole support of liberty, and the common and sudden remedy of all evils?


  • If I had thought thou couldst have died
  • I might not weep for thee;
  • But I forgot, when by thy side,
  • That thou couldst mortal be;
  • It never through my mind had passed,
  • That time would e’er be o’er
  • When I on thee should look my last,
  • And thou shouldst smile no more!
  • Chas. Wolfe.

    The golden ripple on the wall came back again, and nothing else stirred in the room. The old, old fashion! The fashion that came in with our first garments, and will last unchanged until our race has run its course, and the wide firmament is rolled up like a scroll. The old, old fashion—Death! Oh, thank God, all who see it, for that older fashion yet—of Immortality!


    One may live as a conqueror, a king or a magistrate; but he must die as a man. The bed of death brings every human being to his pure individuality; to the intense contemplation of that deepest and most solemn of all relations, the relation between the creature and his Creator. Here it is that fame and renown cannot assist us; that all external things must fail to aid us; that even friends, affection and human love and devotedness cannot succor us.


  • So live, that, when thy summons comes to join
  • The innumerable caravan, that moves
  • To that mysterious realm, where each shall take
  • His chamber in the silent halls of death,
  • Thou go not, like the quarry-slave at night,
  • Scourged to his dungeon; but sustain’d and sooth’d
  • By an unfaltering trust, approach thy grave,
  • Like one that draws the drapery of his couch
  • About him, and lies down to pleasant dreams.
  • Bryant.

    When a friend is carried to his grave, we at once find excuses for every weakness, and palliation of every fault. We recollect a thousand endearments, which before glided off our minds without impression, a thousand favors unrepaid, a thousand duties unperformed; and wish, vainly wish, for his return, not so much that we may receive as that we may bestow happiness, and recompense that kindness which before we never understood.

    Dr. Johnson.

    It is an exquisite and beautiful thing in our nature, that, when the heart is touched and softened by some tranquil happiness or affectionate feeling, the memory of the dead comes over it most powerfully and irresistibly. It would seem almost as though our better thoughts and sympathies were charms, in virtue of which the soul is enabled to hold some vague and mysterious intercourse with the spirits of those whom we loved in life. Alas! how often and how long may these patient angels hover around us, watching for the spell which is so soon forgotten!


  • When I remember all
  • The friends so link’d together,
  • I’ve seen around me fall,
  • Like leaves in wintry weather;
  • I feel like one who treads alone
  • Some banquet hall deserted,
  • Whose lights are fled, whose garlands dead,
  • And all but he departed.
  • Tom Moore.

  • Ye living soldiers of the mighty war,
  • Once more from roaring cannon and the drums
  • And bugles blown at morn, the summons comes;
  • Forget the halting limb, each wound and scar:
  • Once more your Captain calls to you;
  • Come to his last review!
  • R. W. Gilder.

  • Out—out are the lights—out all!
  • And, over each quivering form,
  • The curtain, a funeral pall,
  • Comes down with the rush of a storm,
  • And the angels, all pallid and wan,
  • Uprising, unveiling, affirm
  • That the play is the tragedy, “Man,”
  • And its hero the Conqueror Worm.
  • Poe.

    Our respect for the dead, when they are just dead, is something wonderful, and the way we show it more wonderful still. We show it with black feathers and black horses; we show it with black dresses and black heraldries; we show it with costly obelisks and sculptures of sorrow, which spoil half of our beautiful cathedrals. We show it with frightful gratings and vaults, and lids of dismal stone, in the midst of the quiet grass; and last, and not least, we show it by permitting ourselves to tell any number of falsehoods we think amiable or credible in the epitaph.


  • Ay, but to die, and go we know not where;
  • To lie in cold obstruction, and to rot:
  • This sensible warm motion to become
  • A kneaded clod; and the delighted spirit
  • To bathe in fiery floods, or to reside
  • In thrilling regions of thick-ribbed ice;
  • To be imprison’d in the viewless winds,
  • And blown with restless violence round about
  • The pendant world.
  • Shakespeare.

  • O Death, what art thou? a Lawgiver that never altereth,
  • Fixing the consummating seal, whereby the deeds of life become established;
  • O Death, what art thou? a stern and silent usher,
  • Leading to the judgment for Eternity, after the trial scene of Time;
  • O Death, what art thou? an husbandman that reapeth always,
  • Out of season, as in season, with the sickle in his hand.
  • Tupper.

  • He who died at Azan sends
  • This to comfort all his friends:
  • Faithful friends! It lies I know
  • Pale and white and cold as snow;
  • And ye say, “Abdallah’s dead”!
  • Weeping at the feet and head,
  • I can see your falling tears,
  • I can hear your sighs and prayers;
  • Yet I smile and whisper this:
  • I am not the thing you kiss.
  • Cease your tears and let it lie;
  • It was mine—it is not I.
  • Edwin Arnold.

    To what base uses may we return! Why may not imagination trace the noble dust of Alexander, till it find it stopping a bunghole? As thus: Alexander died, Alexander was buried, Alexander returneth to dust; the dust is earth: of earth we make loam. And why of that loam, whereto he was converted, might they not stop a beer barrel?


  • But know that thou must render up the dead,
  • And with high interest too! they are not thine
  • But only in thy keeping for a season,
  • Till the great promis’d day of restitution;
  • When loud diffusive sound of brazen trump
  • Of strong-lung’d cherub shall alarm thy captives,
  • And rouse the long, long sleepers into life,
  • Daylight and liberty.
  • Blair.

  • The dead are like the stars, by day
  • Withdrawn from mortal eye,
  • But not extinct, they hold their way
  • In glory through the sky:
  • Spirits from bondage thus set free,
  • Vanish amidst immensity.
  • Where human thought, like human sight,
  • Fails to pursue their trackless flight.
  • James Montgomery.

    We do not die wholly at our deaths: we have mouldered away gradually long before. Faculty after faculty, interest after interest, attachment after attachment disappear; we are torn from ourselves while living, year after year sees us no longer the same, and death only consigns the last fragment of what we were to the grave.


  • Death should come
  • Gently to one of gentle mould, like thee,
  • As light winds, wandering through groves of bloom,
  • Detach the delicate blossoms from the tree,
  • Close thy sweet eyes calmly, and without pain,
  • And we will trust in God to see thee yet again.
  • Bryant.

  • Why should man’s high aspiring mind
  • Burn in him with so proud a breath;
  • When all his haughty views can find
  • In this world, yield to death;
  • The fair, the brave, the vain, the wise,
  • The rich, the poor, the great, the small,
  • Are each, but worms’ anatomies,
  • To strew his quiet hall.
  • Marvel.

    For the death of the righteous is like the descending of ripe and wholesome fruits from a pleasant and florid tree. Our senses entire, our limbs unbroken, without horrid tortures; after provision made for our children, with a blessing entailed upon posterity, in the presence of our friends, out dearest relatives closing our eyes and binding our feet, leaving a good name behind us.

    Jeremy Taylor.

  • What is death? Oh! what is death?
  • ’Tis slumber to the weary—
  • ’Tis rest to the forlorn—
  • ’Tis shelter to the dreary—
  • ’Tis peace amid the storm—
  • ’Tis the entrance to our home—
  • ’Tis the passage to that God
  • Who bids His children come,
  • When their weary course is trod.
  • Such is death! yes, such is death.
  • Anonymous.

  • Yet tell me, frighted senses! what is death?
  • Blood only stopp’d, and interrupted breath;
  • The utmost limit of a narrow span,
  • And end of motion, which with life began,
  • And smoke that rises from the kindling fires
  • Is seen this moment and the next expires;
  • As empty clouds by rising winds are toss’d
  • Their fleeting forms scarce sooner found than lost.
  • Prior.

  • All that tread
  • The globe are but a handful to the tribes
  • That slumber in its bosom. Take the wings
  • Of morning, and the Barcan desert pierce,
  • Or lose thyself in the continuous woods
  • Where rolls the Oregon, and hears no sound
  • Save his own dashings,—yet the dead are there;
  • And millions in those solitudes, since first
  • The flight of years began, have laid them down
  • In their last sleep: the dead reign there alone.
  • Bryant.

    It is not strange that that early love of the heart should come back, as it so often does when the dim eye is brightening with its last light. It is not strange that the freshest fountains the heart has ever known in its wastes should bubble up anew when the life-blood is growing stagnant. It is not strange that a bright memory should come to a dying old man, as the sunshine breaks across the hills at the close of a stormy day; nor that in light of that ray, the very clouds that made the day dark should grow gloriously beautiful.


    Do we not all, in this very hour, recall a death-bed scene in which some loved one has passed away? And, as we bring to mind the solemn reflections of that hour, are we not ready to hear and to heed the voice with which a dying wife once addressed him who stood sobbing by her side: “My dear husband, live for one thing, and only one thing; just one thing,—the glory of God, the glory of God!”

    E. P. Tenney.

    Beloved in the Lord, if you only will lay hold of the Saviour’s strength, and cast yourself entirely on His kind arms, with His dying grace He will do wonders for you in the dying hour. A great trembling may come upon you when you think of going down to tread the verge of Jordan; “for ye have not passed this way heretofore.” But Jesus has; and you shall see His footprints on the shore. He will be your guide unto death, and through death.

    Alexander Dickson.

    I do not know why a man should be either regretful or afraid, as he watches the hungry sea eating away this “bank and shoal of time” upon which he stands, even though the tide has all but reached his feet—if he knows that God’s strong hand will be stretched forth to him at the moment when the sand dissolves from under him, and will draw him out of many waters, and place him high above the floods on the stable land where there is “no more sea.”

    Alexander Maclaren.

  • What is death
  • To him who meets it with an upright heart?
  • A quiet haven, where his shatter’d bark
  • Harbours secure, till the rough storm is past,
  • Perhaps a passage overhung with clouds,
  • But at its entrance, a few leagues beyond
  • Opening to kinder skies and milder suns,
  • And seas pacific as the soul that seeks them.
  • Hurdis.

    Every day His servants are dying modestly and peacefully—not a word of victory on their lips; but Christ’s deep triumph in their hearts—watching the slow progress of their own decay, and yet so far emancipated from personal anxiety that they are still able to think and plan for others, not knowing that they are doing any great thing. They die, and the world hears nothing of them; and yet theirs was the completest victory. They came to the battle field, the field to which they had been looking forward all their lives, and the enemy was not to be found. There was no foe to fight with.

    F. W. Robertson.

    What a power has Death to awe and hush the voices of this earth! How mute we stand when that presence confronts us, and we look upon the silence he has wrought in a human life! We can only gaze, and bow our heads, and creep with our broken stammering utterances under the shelter of some great word which God has spoken, and in which we see through, the history of human sorrow the outstretching and overshadowing of the eternal arms.

    W. W. Battershall.

    My friend, there will come one day to you a Messenger, whom you cannot treat with contempt. He will say, “Come with me;” and all your pleas of business cares and earthly loves will be of no avail. When his cold hand touches yours, the key of the counting-room will drop forever, and he will lead you away from all your investments, your speculations, your bank-notes and real estate, and with him you will pass into eternity, up to the bar of God. You will not be too busy to die.

    A. E. Kittredge.

    Death can never interrupt a faithful Christian life. When we feel the touch upon our shoulder and hear the word whispered in our ear, we may be at our work or on a journey, walking the street or asleep in our beds, praying at church or fishing in the country. What difference does it make? We are trying to please our God in what is our business just then. Sacred places and times have no superior advantage for the dying. Sacredness is in the motive of the heart that would do everything as unto the Lord, dying along with the rest. As heaven is still the glad doing of God’s will, where is there any interruption?

    Maltbie Babcock.

    However dreary we may have felt life to be here, yet when that hour comes—the winding up of all things, the last grand rush of darkness on our spirits, the hour of that awful sudden wrench from all we have ever known or loved, the long farewell to sun, moon, stars, and light—brother man, I ask you this day, and I ask myself humbly and fearfully, “What will then be finished? When it is finished, what will it be? Will it be the butterfly existence of pleasure, the mere life of science, a life of uninterrupted sin and self-gratification, or will it be ‘Father, I have finished the work which Thou gavest me to do?’”

    F. W. Robertson.

    We shall be in the midst of some great work, when the tools shall drop from our relaxing fingers, and we shall work no more; we shall be planning some mighty project—house, business, society, book—when in one shattering moment all our thoughts shall perish. Life shall seem strong in us when we shall find that it is done. Oh, how happy they to whom all that remains is immortality; happy you who have that confidence in the Saviour, that, although nature start at the sudden midnight cry, “The Bridegroom cometh!” faith shall answer, the moment that we remember who He is, “Even so, come, Lord Jesus!”

    James Hamilton.

    When we come to die, we shall be alone. From all our worldly possessions we shall be about to part. Worldly friends—the friends drawn to us by our position, our wealth, or our social qualities,—will leave us as we enter the dark valley. From those bound to us by stronger ties—our kindred, our loved ones, children, brothers, sisters, and from those not less dear to us who have been made our friends because they and we are the friends of the same Saviour,—from them also we must part. Yet not all will leave us. There is One who “sticketh closer than a brother”—One who having loved His own which are in the world loves them to the end.

    Albert Barnes.

    “God giveth His beloved sleep;” and in that peaceful sleep, realities, not dreams, come round their quiet rest, and fill their conscious spirits and their happy hearts with and fellowship. In His own time He will make the eternal morning dawn, and the hand that kept them in their slumbers shall touch them into waking, and shall clothe them when they arise according to the body of His own glory; and they, looking into His face, and flashing back its love, its light, its beauty, shall each break forth into singing as the rising light of that unsetting day touches their transfigured and immortal heads, in the triumphant thanksgiving; “I am satisfied, for I awake in Thy likeness.”

    Alexander Maclaren.

    Death is a great preacher of deathlessness. The protest of the soul against death, its reversion, its revulsion, is a high instinct of life. Dissatisfaction in his world who satisfieth the desire of every living thing has a grip on the future. As far as this goes, he has the least assurance of immortality who can be best satisfied with eating and drinking and “things”; he has the surest hope of ongoings and far distances who does not live by bread alone, whose eye is looking over the shoulder of things, whose ear hears mighty waters rolling evermore, who has “hopes naught can satisfy below.” The limits of which death makes us aware, make us aware of life’s limitlessness. The wing whose stretch touches the bars of its cage knows it was meant for an ampler ether and diviner air.”

    Maltbie Babcock.

    No man who is fit to live need fear to die. Poor, timorous, faithless souls that we are! How we shall smile at our vain alarms when the worst has happened! To us here, death is the most terrible thing we know. But when we have tasted its reality, it will mean to us birth, deliverance, a new creation of ourselves. It will be what health is to the sick man. It will be what home is to the exile. It will be what the loved one given back is to the bereaved. As we draw near to it, a solemn gladness should fill our hearts. It is God’s great morning lighting up the sky. Our fears are the terror of children in the night. The night with its terrors, its darkness, its feverish dreams, is passing away; and when we awake, it will be into the sunlight of God.

    George S. Merriam.