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


To smell a fresh turf of earth is wholesome for the body; no less are thoughts of mortality cordial to the soul. “Dust thou art, and unto dust thou shalt return.”


Short is the life of those who possess great accomplishments, and seldom do they reach a good old age. Whatever thou lovest, pray that thou mayest not set too high a value on it.


This muddy vesture of decay.


  • All, that in this world is great or gay,
  • Doth, as a vapor, vanish, and decay.
  • Spenser.

  • What surety of the world, what hope, what stay,
  • When this was now a king, and now is clay!
  • Shakespeare.

  • Who breathes must suffer; and who thinks, must mourn;
  • And he alone is bless’d, who ne’er was born.
  • Prior.

  • Like bubbles on the sea of matter borne,
  • They rise, they break, and to that sea return.
  • Pope.

  • All that’s bright must fade—
  • The brightest still the fleetest;
  • All that’s sweet was made
  • But to be lost when sweetest.
  • Moore.

  • There is no flock, however watched and tended,
  • But one dead lamb is there!
  • There is no fireside, howsoe’er defended,
  • But has one vacant chair.
  • Longfellow.

  • ’Tis but an hour ago, since it was nine;
  • And, after one hour more, ’twill be eleven;
  • And so, from hour to hour, we ripe and ripe,
  • And then, from hour to hour, we rot and rot.
  • Shakespeare.

  • To contemplation’s sober eye,
  • Such is the race of man;
  • And they that creep, and they that fly,
  • Shall end where they began,
  • Alike the busy and the gay,
  • But flutter through life’s little day.
  • Gray.

  • ’Tis a stern and a startling thing to think
  • How often mortality stands on the brink
  • Of its grave without any misgiving;
  • And yet in this slippery world of strife,
  • In the stir of human bustle so rife,
  • There are daily sounds to tell us that Life
  • Is dying, and Death is living!
  • Hood.

    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.