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


We must not pluck death from the Maker’s hand.


Suicide is not a remedy.

James A. Garfield.

Child of despair, and suicide by name.


He only who gave life has a power over it.


’T is more brave to live than to die.

Owen Meredith.

Bid abhorrence hiss it round the world.


He is not valiant that dares lie; but he that boldly bears calamity.


  • When all the blandishments of life are gone,
  • The coward sneaks to death, the brave live on.
  • G. Sewell.

  • He, with delirious laugh, the dagger hurl’d,
  • And burst the ties that bound him to the world!
  • Campbell.

  • How! leap into the pit our life to save?
  • To save our life leap all into the grave.
  • Cowper.

  • This is that rest this vain world lends,
  • To end in death that all things ends.
  • S. Daniel.

  • Beware of desperate steps. The darkest day,
  • Live till tomorrow, will have pass’d away.
  • Cowper.

    I’m weary of conjectures: this must end them.


    It is no less vain to wish death than it is cowardly to fear it.

    Sir P. Sidney.

    Shall Nature, erring from her first command, self-preservation, fall by her own hand?


  • Self-murder, that infernal crime,
  • Which all the gods level their thunder at!
  • Fane.

    There is no refuge from confession but suicide; and suicide is confession.

    Daniel Webster.

    To die in order to avoid the pains of poverty, love, or anything that is disagreeable, is not the part of a brave man, but of a coward.


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

    Against self-slaughter there is a prohibition so divine, that cravens my weak hand.


    God has appointed us captains of this our bodily fort, which, without treason to that majesty, are never to be delivered over till they are demanded.

    Sir P. Sidney.

  • That kills himself to avoid misery, fears it;
  • And at the best shows but a bastard valor.
  • Massinger.

  • I do find it cowardly and vile,
  • For fear of what might fall, so to prevent
  • The time of life.
  • Shakespeare.

    I look upon indolence as a sort of suicide; for the man in efficiently destroyed, though the appetite of the brute may survive.


    Some indeed have been so affectedly vain as to counterfeit immortality, and have stolen their death in hopes to be esteemed immortal.

    Sir T. Browne.

    By all human laws, as well as divine, self-murder has ever been agreed on as the greatest crime.

    Sir W. Temple.

  • You ever-gentle gods, take my breath from me;
  • Let not my worser spirit tempt me again
  • To die before you please!
  • Shakespeare.

  • Bravest at the last,
  • She levell’d at our purposes, and, being royal,
  • Took her own way.
  • Shakespeare.

    What poetical suicides and sublime despair might have been prevented by a timely dose of blue pill, or the offer of a loge aux Italiens!

    Sir Charles Morgan.

    The more pity that great folk should have countenance in this world to drown or hang themselves, more than their even Christian.


    We ought not to quit our post without the permission of Him who commands; the post of man is life.


    When affliction thunders over our roofs, to hide our heads, and run into our graves, shows us no men, but makes us fortune’s slaves.

    Ben Jonson.

  • My spirit shrunk not to sustain
  • The searching throes of ceaseless pain;
  • Nor sought the self-accorded grave
  • Of ancient fool and modern knave.
  • Byron.

    Fool! I mean not that poor-souled piece of heroism, self-slaughter. Oh, no; the miserablest day we live there’s many a better thing to do than die!

    George Darley.

  • Our time is fix’d; and all our days are number’d!
  • Haw long, how short, we know not: this we know
  • Duty requires we calmly wait the summons,
  • Nor dare to stir till heaven shall give permission.
  • Blair.

  • Ah yes, the sea is still and deep,
  • All things within its bosom sleep!
  • A single step, and all is o’er,
  • A plunge, a bubble, and no more.
  • Longfellow.

    Those men who destroy a healthful constitution of body by intemperance as manifestly kill themselves as those who hang or poison or drown themselves.


    He who, superior to the checks of Nature, dares make his life the victim of his reason, does in some soft that reason deify, and take a flight at heaven.


    Suicide sometimes proceeds from cowardice, but not always; for cowardice sometimes prevents it, since as many live because they are afraid to die as die because they are afraid to live.


    The dread of something after death, that undiscovered country, from whose bourne no traveller returns, puzzles the will, and makes us rather bear the ills we have, than fly to others that we know not of.


  • But if there be an hereafter,
  • And that there is, conscience, uninfluenc’d
  • And suffer’d to speak out, tells every man,
  • Then must it be an awful thing to die;
  • More horrid yet to die by one’s own hand.
  • Blair.

    Suicides pay the world a bad compliment. Indeed, it may so happen that the world has been beforehand with them in incivility. Granted. Even then the retaliation is at their own expense.


    Men would not be so hasty to abandon the world either as monks or as suicides, did they but see the jewels of wisdom and faith which are scattered so plentifully along its paths; and lacking which no soul can come again from beyond the grave to gather.


    Suicide is not to fear death, but yet to be afraid of life. It is a brave act of valour to contemn death; but when life is more terrible than death, it is then the truest valour to dare to live; and herein religion hath taught us a noble example, for all the valiant acts of Curtius, Scarvola, or Codrus, do not parallel or match that one of Job.

    Sir Thomas Browne.

    Suicide is a crime the most revolting to the feelings; nor does any reason suggest itself to our understanding by which it can be justified. It certainly originates in that species of fear which we denominate poltroonery. For what claim can that man have to courage who trembles at the frowns of fortunes? True heroism consists in being superior to the ills of life in whatever shape they may challenge him to combat.


    Our pious ancestors enacted a law that suicides should be buried where four roads meet, and that a cart-load of stones should be thrown upon the body. Yet when gentlemen or ladies commit suicide, not by cord or steel, but by turtle-soup or lobster-salad, they may be buried in consecrated ground, and under the auspices of the Church; and the public are not ashamed to read an epitaph on their tombstones false enough to make the marble blush. Were the barbarous old law now in force that punished the body of the suicide for the offence of his soul, we should find many a Mount Auburn at the cross-roads.

    Horace Mann.

  • To be, or not to be, that is the question:
  • Whether ’tis nobler in the mind, to suffer
  • The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune,
  • Or to take arms against a sea of troubles,
  • And by opposing end them? 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, ’tis a consummation
  • Devoutly to be wish’d.
  • Shakespeare.

  • Who would bear the whips and scorns of time,
  • The oppressor’s wrong, the proud man’s contumely,
  • The pangs of dispriz’d love, the law’s delay,
  • The insolence of office, and the spurns
  • That patient merit of the unworthy takes,
  • When he himself might his quietus make
  • With a bare bodkin?
  • Shakespeare.