Hoyt & Roberts, comps. Hoyt’s New Cyclopedia of Practical Quotations. 1922.


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

This is the last of earth! I am content.
John Quincy Adams. His Last Words. Josiah Quincy—Life of John Quincy Adams.

Call no man happy till he is dead.
Æschylus—Agamemnon. 938. Earliest reference. Also in Sophocles—Trachiniæ, and Œdipus Tyrannus.

But when the sun in all his state,
Illumed the eastern skies,
She passed through glory’s morning gate,
And walked in Paradise.
James Aldrich—A Death Bed.

Somewhere, in desolate, wind-swept space,
In twilight land, in no man’s land,
Two hurrying shapes met face to face
And bade each other stand.
“And who are you?” cried one, a-gape,
Shuddering in the glimmering light.
“I know not,” said the second shape,
“I only died last night.”
T. B. Aldrich—Identity.

The white sail of his soul has rounded
The promontory—death.
William Alexander—The Icebound Ship.

Your lost friends are not dead, but gone before,
Advanced a stage or two upon that road
Which you must travel in the steps they trod.
Aristophanes—Fragment. II. Trans. by Cumberland.

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—He Who Died at Azan.

Her cabin’d ample spirit,
It fluttered and fail’d for breath;
Tonight it doth inherit
The vasty hall of death.
Matthew Arnold—Requiescat.

Pompa mortis magis terret quam mors ipsa.
The pomp of death alarms us more than death itself.
Quoted by Bacon as from Seneca.

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

Men fear Death, as children fear to go in the dark; and as that natural fear in children is increased with tales, so is the other.
Bacon—Essays. Of Death.

What then remains, but that we still should cry
Not to be born, or being born to die.
Ascribed to Bacon. (Paraphrase of a Greek Epigram.)

Death is the universal salt of states;
Blood is the base of all things—law and war.
Bailey—Festus. Sc. A Country Town.

The death-change comes.
Death is another life. We bow our heads
At going out, we think, and enter straight
Another golden chamber of the king’s,
Larger than this we leave, and lovelier.
And then in shadowy glimpses, disconnect,
The story, flower-like, closes thus its leaves.
The will of God is all in all. He makes,
Destroys, remakes, for His own pleasure, all.
Bailey—Festus. Sc. Home.

So fades a summer cloud away;
So sinks the gale when storms are o’er;
So gently shuts the eye of day;
So dies a wave along the shore.
Mrs. Barbauld—The Death of the Virtuous.

It is only the dead who do not return.
Bertrand Barère—Speech. (1794).

To die would be an awfully big adventure.
Barrie—Peter Pan.

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—The Place to Die. In The Dublin Nation. Sept. 28, 1844. Vol. II. P. 809.

Death hath so many doors to let out life.
Beaumont and Fletcher—The Custom of the Country. Act II. Sc. 2.

We must all die!
All leave ourselves, it matters not where, when,
Nor how, so we die well; and can that man that does so
Need lamentation for him?
Beaumont and Fletcher—Valentinian. Act IV. Sc. 4.

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—The Grave. L. 350.

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—The Grave. L. 369.

’Tis long since Death had the majority.
Blair—The Grave. L. 451. Please “The Great Majority” found in Plautus. Trinium. II. 214.

Beyond the shining and the shading
I shall be soon.
Beyond the hoping and the dreading
I shall be soon.
Love, rest and home—
Lord! tarry not, but come.
Horatio Bonar—Beyond the Smiling and the Weeping.

Earth to earth, ashes to ashes, dust to dust, in sure and certain hope of the resurrection.
Book of Common Prayer. Burial of the Dead.

Man that is born of a woman hath but a short time to live, and is full of misery. He cometh up, and is cut down, like a flower; he fleeth as it were a shadow, and never continueth in one stay.
Book of Common Prayer. Burial of the Dead. Quoted from Job. XIV. 1.

In the midst of life we are in death.
Book of Common Prayer. Burial of the Dead. Media vita in morte sumus. From a Latin antiphon. Found in the choirbook of the monks of St. Gall. Said to have been composed by Notker (“The Stammerer”) in 911, while watching some workmen building a bridge at Martinsbrücke, in peril of their lives. Luther’s antiphon “De Morte.” Hymn XVIII is taken from this.

’Mid youth and song, feasting and carnival,
Through laughter, through the roses, as of old
Comes Death, on shadowy and relentless feet
Death, unappeasable by prayer or gold;
Death is the end, the end.
Proud, then, clear-eyed and laughing, go to greet
Death as a friend!
Rupert Brooke—Second Best.

Oh! death will find me, long before I tire
Of watching you; and swing me suddenly
Into the shade and loneliness and mire
Of the last land!
Rupert Brooke—Sonnet. (Collection 1908–1911).

Pliny hath an odd and remarkable Passage concerning the Death of Men and Animals upon the Recess or Ebb of the Sea.
Sir Thomas Browne—Letter to a Friend. Sec. 7.

A little before you made a leap in the dark.
Sir Thomas Browne—Works. II. 26. (Ed. 1708). Letters from the Dead. (1701). Works. II. P. 502.

The thousand doors that lead to death.
Sir Thomas Browne—Religio Medici. Pt. I. Sec. XLIV.

For I say, this is death and the sole death,
When a man’s loss comes to him from his gain,
Darkness from light, from knowledge ignorance,
And lack of love from love made manifest.
Robert Browning—A Death in the Desert.

The grand perhaps.
Robert Browning—Bishop Blougram’s Apology.

Sustained and soothed
By an unfaltering trust, approach thy grave
Like one that wraps the drapery of his couch
About him, and lies down to pleasant dreams.

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

So he passed over and all the trumpets sounded
For him on the other side.
Bunyan—Pilgrim’s Progress. Death of Valiant for Truth. Close of Pt. II.

Die Todten reiten schnell.
The dead ride swiftly.

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

There is only rest and peace
In the city of Surcease
From the failings and the waitings ’neath the sun,
And the wings of the swift years
Beat but gently o’er the biers
Making music to the sleepers every one.
Richard Burton—City of the Dead.

They do neither plight nor wed
In the city of the dead,
In the city where they sleep away the hours.
Richard Burton—City of the Dead.

We wonder if this can be really the close,
Life’s fever cooled by death’s trance;
And we cry, though it seems to our dearest of foes,
“God give us another chance.”
Richard Burton—Song of the Unsuccessful.

Timor mortis morte pejor.
The fear of death is worse than death.
Burton—Anatomy of Melancholy. (Quoted.)

Friend Ralph! thou hast
Outrun the constable at last!
Butler—Hudibras. Pt. I. Canto III. L. 1,367.

Heaven gives its favourites—early death.
Byron—Childe Harold. Canto IV. St. 102. Also Don Juan. Canto IV. St. 12.

Without a grave, unknell’d, uncoffin’d, and unknown.
Byron—Childe Harold. Canto IV. St. 179.

Ah! surely nothing dies but something mourns!
Byron—Don Juan. Canto III. St. 108.

“Whom the gods love die young,” was said of yore.
Byron—Don Juan. Canto IV. St. 12.

Death, so called, is a thing which makes men weep,
And yet a third of life is pass’d in sleep.
Byron—Don Juan. Canto XIV. St. 3.

Oh, God! it is a fearful thing
To see the human soul take wing
In any shape, in any mood!
Byron—Prisoner of Chillon. St. 8.

Down to the dust!—and, as thou rott’st away,
Even worms shall perish on thy poisonous clay.
Byron—A Sketch.

Brougham delivered a very warm panegyric upon the ex-Chancellor, and expressed a hope that he would make a good end, although to an expiring Chancellor death was now armed with a new terror.
Campbell—Lives of the Chancellors. Vol. VII. P. 163.

And I still onward haste to my last night;
Time’s fatal wings do ever forward fly;
So every day we live, a day we die.
Thomas Campion—Divine and Moral Songs.

His religion, at best, is an anxious wish; like that of Rabelais, “a great Perhaps.”

Qui nunc it per iter tenebricosum
Illuc unde negant redire quemquam.
Who now travels that dark path from whose bourne they say no one returns.
Catullus—Carmina. III. 11.

Soles occidere et redire possunt;
Nobis cum semel occidit brevis lux,
Nox est perpetua una dormienda.
Suns may set and rise; we, when our short day has closed, must sleep on during one neverending night.
Catullus—Carmina. V. 4.

When death hath poured oblivion through my veins,
And brought me home, as all are brought, to lie
In that vast house, common to serfs and thanes,—
I shall not die, I shall not utterly die,
For beauty born of beauty—that remains.
Madison Cawein.

“For all that let me tell thee, brother Panza,” said Don Quixote, “that there is no recollection which time does not put an end to, and no pain which death does not remove.”
“And what greater misfortune can there be,” replied Panza, “than the one that waits for time to put an end to it and death to remove it?”
Cervantes—Don Quixote. Pt. I. Ch. XV.

It singeth low in every heart,
We hear it each and all,—
A song of those who answer not,
However we may call;
They throng (he silence of the breast,
We see them as of yore,—
The kind, the brave, the true, the sweet,
Who walk with us no more.
John W. Chadwick—Auld Lang Syne.

At length, fatigued with life, he bravely fell,
And health with Boerhaave bade the world farewell.
Benj. Church—The Choice. (1754).

Ex vita discedo, tanquam ex hospitio, non tanquam ex domo.
I depart from life as from an inn, and not as from my home.
Cicero—De Senectute. 23.

Emori nolo: sed me esse mortuum nihil æstimo.
I do not wish to die: but I care not if I were dead.
Cicero—Tusculanarum Disputationum. I. 8. Trans. of verse of Epicharmus.

Vetat dominans ille in nobis deus, injussu hinc nos suo demigrare.
The divinity who rules within us, forbids us to leave this world without his command.
Cicero—Tusculanarum Disputationum. I. 30.

Undique enim ad inferos tantundem viæ est.
There are countless roads on all sides to the grave.
Cicero—Tusculanarum Disputationum. I. 43.

Supremus ille dies non nostri extinctionem sed commutationem affert loci.
That last day does not bring extinction to us, but change of place.
Cicero—Tusculanarum Disputationum. I. 49.

Some men make a womanish complaint that it is a great misfortune to die before our time. I would ask what time? Is it that of Nature? But she, indeed, 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 you received it.

Omnia mors æquat.
Death levels all things.
Claudianus—De Raptu Proserpinæ. II. 302.

Mors dominos servis et sceptra ligonibus æquat,
Dissimiles simili conditione trahens.
Death levels master and slave, the sceptre and the law and makes the unlike like.
In Walter Colman’s La Danse Machabre or Death’s Duell. (Circa 1633).

Mors sceptra ligonibus æquat.
Inscribed over a 14th Century mural painting once at Battle Church, Sussex. Included in the 12th Century Vers sur la Mort. Ascribed to Thibaut de Marly. Also the motto of one of Symeoni’s emblematic devices. See Notes and Queries, May, 1917. P. 134.

Death comes with a crawl or he comes with a pounce,
And whether he’s slow, or spry,
It isn’t the fact that you’re dead that counts,
But only, how did you die?
Edmund Vance Cooke—How Did You Die?

Qui ne craint point la mort ne craint point les menaces.
He who does not fear death cares naught for threats.
Corneille—Le Cid. II. 1.

O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?
I Corinthians. XV. 55.

Ut non ex vita, sed ex domo in domum videretur migrare.
So that he seemed to depart not from life, but from one home to another.
Cornelius Nepos—Atticus.

All flesh is grass, and all its glory fades
Like the fair flower dishevell’d in the wind;
Riches have wings, and grandeur is a dream;
The man we celebrate must find a tomb,
And we that worship him, ignoble graves.
Cowper—Task. Bk. III. L. 261.

All has its date below; the fatal hour
Was register’d in Heav’n ere time began.
We turn to dust, and all our mightiest works
Die too.
Cowper—Task. Bk. V. The Winter Morning Walk. L. 540.

Life, that dares send
A challenge to his end,
And when it comes, say, “Welcome, friend!”
Richard Crashaw—Wishes to his (Supposed) Mistress. St. 29.

We are born, then cry,
We know not for why,
And all our lives long
Still but the same song.
Nathaniel Crouch. (Attributed.) In Fly Leaves, pub. 1854, taken from Bristol Drollery, 1674.

Round, round the cypress bier
Where she lies sleeping,
On every turf a tear,
Let us go weeping!
George Darley—Dirge.

And though mine arm should conquer twenty worlds,
There’s a lean fellow beats all conquerors.
Thomas Dekker—Old Fortunatus. Act I. Sc. 1.

I expressed just now my mistrust of what is called Spiritualism—… I owe it a trifle for a message said to come from Voltaire’s Ghost. It was asked, “Are you not now convinced of another world?” and rapped out, “There is no other world—Death is only an incident in Life.”
William De Morgan—Joseph Vance. Ch. XI.

“People can’t die, along the coast,” said Mr. Peggotty, “except when the tide’s pretty nigh out. They can’t be born, unless it’s pretty nigh in—not properly born, till flood. He’s a-going out with the tide.”
Dickens—David Copperfield. Ch. XXX.

Death, be not proud, though some have called thee
Mighty and dreadful, for thou art not so:
For those, whom thou think’st thou dost overthrow,
Die not, poor Death.
Donne—Divine Poems. Holy Sonnets. No. 17.

One short sleep past, we wake eternally,
And Death shall be no more; Death, thou shalt die.
Donne—Divine Poems. Holy Sonnets. No. 17.

Welcome, thou kind deceiver!
Thou best of thieves! who, with an easy key,
Dost open life, and, unperceived by us,
Even steal us from ourselves.
Dryden—All for Love. Act V. Sc. 1.

Death in itself is nothing; but we fear
To be we know not what, we know not where.
Dryden—Aurengzebe. Act IV. Sc. 1.

So was she soon exhaled, and vanished hence;
As a sweet odour, of a vast expense.
She vanished, we can scarcely say she died.
Dryden—Elegiacs. To the Memory of Mrs. Anne Killegrew. L. 303.

Of no distemper, of no blast he died,
But fell like autumn fruit that mellow’d long.
Dryden—Œdipus. Act IV. Sc. 1. L. 265.

Heaven gave him all at once; then snatched away,
Ere mortals all his beauties could survey;
Just like the flower that buds and withers in a day.
Dryden—On the Death of Amyntas.

He was exhal’d; his great Creator drew
His spirit, as the sun the morning dew.
Dryden—On the Death of a Very Young Gentleman. L. 25.

Like a led victim, to my death I’ll go,
And dying, bless the hand that gave the blow.
Dryden—The Spanish Friar. Act II. Sc. 1. L. 64.

In the jaws of death.
Du Bartas—Divine Weekes and Workes. Second Week. First day.

She’l bargain with them; and will giue
Them GOD; teach them how to liue
In him; or if they this deny,
For him she’l teach them how to Dy.
Crashaw—Hymn to the Name and Honor of Saint Teresa.

One event happeneth to them all.
Ecclesiastes. II. 14.

The grasshopper shall be a burden, and desire shall fail; because man goeth to his long home, and the mourners go about the streets.
Ecclesiastes. XII. 5.

Judge none blessed before his death.
Ecclesiasticus. XI. 28.

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—Spanish Gypsy. Bk. II.

If we could know
Which of us, darling, would be first to go,
Who would be first to breast the swelling tide
And step alone upon the other side—
If we could know!
Mrs. Foster Ely—If We could Know.

He thought it happier to be dead,
To die for Beauty, than live for bread.
Emerson—Beauty. L. 25.

But learn that to die is a debt we must all pay.
Euripides—Alcestis. 418. Also Andromache. 1,271.

Out of the strain of the Doing,
Into the peace of the Done;
Out in the thirst of Pursuing,
Into the rapture of Won.
Out of grey mist into brightness,
Out of pale dusk into Dawn—
Out of all wrong into rightness,
We from these fields shall be gone.
“Nay,” say the saints, “Not gone but come,
Into eternity’s Harvest Home.”
W. M. L. Fay—Poem in Sunday at Home. May, 1910.

Sit the comedy out, and that done,
When the Play’s at an end, let the Curtain fall down.
Thomas Flatman—The Whim.

Young Never-Grow-Old, with your heart of gold
And the dear boy’s face upon you;
It is hard to tell, though we know it well,
That the grass is growing upon you.
Alice Fleming—Spion Kop.

A dying man can do nothing easy.
Franklin—Last Words.

La montagne est passée; nous irons mieux.
The mountain is passed; now we shall get on better.
Frederick the Great. Said to be his last words.

Why fear death? It is the most beautiful adventure in life.
Charles Frohman. Last words before he sank in the wreck of the Lusitania, torpedoed by the Germans, May 7, 1915. So reported by Rita Joliet.

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 sicknesse broken body.
Fuller—The Holy and the Profane State. Bk. I. Ch. II.

Had [Christ] the death of death to death
Not given death by dying:
The gates of life had never been
To mortals open lying.
On the tombstone of Rev. Fyge (?) in the churchyard of Castle-Camps, Cambridgeshire.

To die is landing on some silent shore,
Where billows never break nor tempests roar;
Ere well we feel the friendly stroke ’tis o’er.
Sir Samuel Garth—The Dispensary. Canto III. L. 225.

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—Fables. Pt. II. Fable 16.

Dead as a door nail.
Gay—New Song of New Similes. Langland—Piers Ploughman. II. L. 183. (1362). William of Palerne—Romance (About 1350). II Henry IV. Act V. Sc. 3. Deaf as a door nail. Rabelais—III. 34. Trans. by Urquhart.

Where the brass knocker, wrapt in flannel band,
Forbids the thunder of the footman’s hand,
The’ upholder, rueful harbinger of death,
Waits with impatience for the dying breath.
Gay—Trivia. Bk. II. L. 467.

For dust thou art, and unto dust shall thou return.
Genesis. III. 19.

What if thou be saint or sinner,
Crooked gray-beard, straight beginner,—
Empty paunch, or jolly dinner,
When Death thee shall call.
All alike are rich and richer,
King with crown, and cross-legged stitcher,
When the grave hides all.
R. W. Gilder—Drinking Song.

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—“H. H.”

Can storied urn or animated bust
Back to its mansion call the fleeting breath?
Can honour’s voice provoke the silent dust,
Or flattery soothe the dull cold ear of death?
Gray—Elegy. St. 11.

He pass’d the flaming bounds of place and time:
The living throne, the sapphire blaze,
Where angels tremble while they gaze,
He saw; but blasted with excess of light,
Closed his eyes in endless night.
Gray—Progress of Poesy. III. 2. L. 99.

Fling but a stone, the giant dies.
Matthew Green—The Spleen. L. 93.

When life is woe,
And hope is dumb,
The World says, “Go!”
The Grave says, “Come!”
Arthur Guiterman—Betel-Nuts.

Death borders upon our birth; and our cradle stands in our grave.
Bishop Hall—Epistles. Decade III. Ep. II.

Come to the bridal-chamber, Death!
Come to the mother’s, when she feels,
For the first time, her first-born’s breath!
Come when the blessed seals
That close the pestilence are broke,
And crowded cities wail its stroke!
Fitz-greene Halleck—Marco Bozzaris.

Ere the dolphin dies
Its hues are brightest. Like an infant’s breath
Are tropic winds before the voice of death.
Fitz-greene Halleck—Fortune.

The ancients dreaded death: the Christian can only fear dying.
J. C. and A. W. Hare—Guesses at Truth.

And I hear from the outgoing ship in the bay
The song of the sailors in glee:
So I think of the luminous footprints that bore
The comfort o’er dark Galilee,
And wait for the signal to go to the shore,
To the ship that is waiting for me.
Bret Harte—The Two Ships. (See also Tennyson—Crossing the Bar, Whitman)

On a lone barren isle, where the wild roaring billows
Assail the stern rock, and the loud tempests rave,
The hero lies still, while the dew-drooping willows,
Like fond weeping mourners, lean over his grave.
The lightnings may flash and the loud thunders rattle;
He heeds not, he hears not; he’s free from all pain.
He sleeps his last sleep, he has fought his last battle;
No sound can awake him to glory again!
Attributed to Lyman Heath—The Grave of Bonaparte.

Death rides on every passing breeze,
He lurks in every flower.
Bishop Heber—At a Funeral. St. 3.

Leaves have their time to fall,
And flowers to wither at the north wind’s breath,
And stars to set—but all.
Thou hast all seasons for thine own, O Death.
Felicia D. Hemans—Hour of Death.

“Passing away” is written on the world and all the world contains.
Felicia D. Hemans—Passing Away.

What is Death
But Life in act? How should the Unteeming Grave
Be victor over thee,
Mother, a mother of men?
W. E. Henley—Echoes. XLVI. Matri Dilectissimæ.

So be my passing.
My task accomplished and the long day done,
My wages taken, and in my heart
Some late lark singing,
Let me be gathered to the quiet west,
The sundown splendid and serene,
W. E. Henley—Margaritæ Sorori.

So many are the deaths we die
Before we can be dead indeed.
W. E. Henley—Rhymes and Rhythms. XV.

Into the everlasting lull,
The immortal, incommunicable dream.
W. E. Henley—Rhymes and Rhythms. XVI.

Not lost, but gone before.
Matthew Henry—Commentaries. Matthew II. Title of a song published in Smith’s Edinburgh Harmony, 1829.

They are not amissi, but præmissi;
Not lost but gone before.
Philip Henry, as quoted by Matthew Henry in his Life of Philip Henry.

Præmissi non amissi.
Inscription on a tombstone in Stallingborough Church, Lincolnshire, England. (1612).

Not lost but gone before.
Epitaph of Mary Angell in St. Dunstan’s Church, Stephney, England. (1693).

Those that God loves, do not live long.
Herbert—Jacula Prudentum.

I know thou art gone to the home of thy rest—
Then why should my soul be so sad?
I know thou art gone where the weary are blest,
And the mourner looks up, and is glad;
I know thou hast drank of the Lethe that flows
In a land where they do not forget,
That sheds over memory only repose,
And takes from it only regret.
Thomas Kibble Hervey—I Know Thou Art Gone.

And death makes equal the high and low.
John Heywood—Be Merry Friends.

(Mors, mortis morti mortem nisi morte dedisset [dedisses].)
Death when to death a death by death hath given
Then shall be op’t the long shut gates of heaven.
Thomas Heywoode—Nine Bookes of various History concerning Women. Bk. II. Of the Sybells.

Now I am about to take my last voyage, a great leap in the dark.
Thomas Hobbes. His reported last words. Hence “Hobbes’ voyage,” expression used by Vanbrugh in The Provoked Wife. Act V. Sc. 6.

The mossy marbles rest
On the lips that he has pressed
In their bloom;
And the names he loved to hear
Have been carved for many a year
On the tomb.
Holmes—The Last Leaf.

Behold—not him we knew!
This was the prison which his soul looked through.
Holmes—The Last Look.

And they die
An equal death,—the idler and the man
Of mighty deeds.
Homer—Iliad. Bk. IX. L. 396. Bryant’s trans.

He slept an iron sleep,—
Slain fighting for his country.
Homer—Iliad. Bk. XI. L. 285. Bryant’s trans.

One more unfortunate
Weary of breath,
Rashly importunate,
Gone to her death!
Hood—Bridge of Sighs.

We watch’d her breathing thro’ the night,
Her breathing soft and low,
As in her breast the wave of life
Kept heaving to and fro.
Our very hopes belied our fears,
Our fears our hopes belied;
We thought her dying when she slept,
And sleeping when she died.
Hood—The Death-bed.

Pallida mors æquo pulsat pede pauperum tabernas
Regumque turres.
Pale death, with impartial step, knocks at the hut of the poor and the towers of kings.
Horace—Carmina. I. 4. 13.

Omnes una manet nox,
Et calcanda semel via leti.
One night is awaiting us all, and the way of death must be trodden once.
Horace—Carmina. I. 28. 15.

Omnes eodem cogimur; omnium
Versatur urna serius, ocius
Sors exitura.
We are all compelled to take the same road; from the urn of death, shaken for all, sooner or later the lot must come forth.
Horace—Carmina. II. 3. 25.

Omne capax movet urna nomen.
In the capacious urn of death, every name is shaken.
Horace—Carmina. III. 1. 16.

Cita mors ruit.
Swift death rushes upon us.
Horace—Adapted from Sat. 1. 8.

We all do fade as a leaf.
Isaiah. LXIV. 6.

The Lord gave, and the Lord hath taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord.
Job. I. 21.

He shall return no more to his house, neither shall his place know him any more.
Job. VII. 10.

The land of darkness and the shadow of death.
Job. X. 21.

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—Verses on the Death of Mr. Robert Levet. St. 9. (“No fiery throbs of pain” in first ed.)

Thou art but gone before,
Whither the world must follow.
Ben Jonson—Epitaph on Sir John Roe. In Dodd’s Epigrammatists. P. 190.

Mors sola fatetur
Quantula sint hominum corpuscula.
Death alone discloses how insignificant are the puny bodies of men.
Juvenal—Satires. X. 172.

Trust to a plank, draw precarious breath,
At most seven inches from the jaws of death.
Juvenal—Satires. XII. 57. Gifford’s trans.

Nemo impetrare potest a papa bullam nunquam moriendi.
No one can obtain from the Pope a dispensation for never dying.
Thomas à Kempis.

Nay, why should I fear Death,
Who gives us life, and in exchange takes breath?
Frederic L. Knowles—Laus Mortis.

When I have folded up this tent
And laid the soiled thing by,
I shall go forth ’neath different stars,
Under an unknown sky.
Frederic L. Knowles—The Last Word.

Gone before
To that unknown and silent shore.
Lamb—Hester. St. 1.

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—Meditation on Death.

Neither the sun nor death can be looked at with a steady eye.
La Rochefoucauld—Maxims. 36.

The young may die, but the old must!
Longfellow—Christus. The Golden Legend. Pt. IV. The Cloisters.

There is no confessor like unto Death!
Thou canst not see him, but he is near:
Thou needest not whisper above thy breath,
And he will hear;
He will answer the questions,
The vague surmises and suggestions,
That fill thy soul with doubt and fear.
Longfellow—Christus. The Golden Legend. Pt. V. The Inn at Genoa.

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—Christus. The Golden Legend. Pt. VI. The Farm-House in the Odenwald.

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

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—Reaper and the Flowers. Compare Arnim and Brentano—Erntelied, in Des Knaben Wunderhorn. (Ed. 1857). Vol. I. P. 59.

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.

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.

Oh, what hadst thou to do with cruel Death,
Who wast so full of life, or Death with thee,
That thou shouldst die before thou hadst grown old!
Longfellow—Three Friends of Mine. Pt. II.

Then fell upon the house a sudden gloom,
A shadow on those features fair and thin;
And softly, from the hushed and darkened room,
Two angels issued, where but one went in.
Longfellow—Two Angels. St. 9.

J’avais cru plus difficile de mourir.
I imagined it was more difficult to die.
Louis XIV. To Madame de Maintenon. See Martin—History of France. XIV. Bk. XCI.

But life is sweet, though all that makes it sweet
Lessen like sound of friends’ departing feet;
And Death is beautiful as feet of friend
Coming with welcome at our journey’s end.
Lowell—An Epistle to George William Curtis.

Victorosque dei celant, ut vivere durent felix esse mori.
The gods conceal from those destined to live how sweet it is to die, that they may continue living.
Lucan—Pharsalia. IV. 519.

Libera Fortunæ mors est; capit omnia tellus
Quæ genuit.
Death is free from the restraint of Fortune; the earth takes everything which it has brought forth.
Lucan—Pharsalia. VII. 818.

Pavido fortique cadendum est.
The coward and the courageous alike must die.
Lucan—Pharsalia. IX. 582.

E mediis Orci faucibus ad hunc evasi modum.
From the very jaws of death I have escaped to this condition.
Lucretius—App. Met. VII. P. 191.

Adde repertores doctrinarum atque leporum;
Adde Heliconiadum comites; quorum unus Homerus
Sceptra potitus, eadem aliis sopitu quiete est.
Nay, the greatest wits and poets, too, cease to live;
Homer, their prince, sleeps now in the same forgotten sleep as do the others.
Lucretius—De Rerum Natura. III. 1,049.

The axe is laid unto the root of the trees.
Luke. III. 9.

To every man upon this earth
Death cometh soon or late,
And how can man die better
Than facing fearful odds,
For the ashes of his fathers
And the temples of his gods?
Macaulay—Lays of Ancient Rome. Horatius. XXVII.

There is no death! the stars go down
To rise upon some other shore,
And bright in Heaven’s jeweled crown,
They shine for ever more.
John L. McCreery. In Arthur’s Home Magazine. July, 1863. Vol. 22. P. 41. Wrongly ascribed to Bulwer-Lytton.

There is no such thing as death.
In nature nothing dies.
From each sad remnant of decay
Some forms of life arise.
Charles Mackay—There is No Such Thing as Death.

All our knowledge merely helps us to die a more painful death than the animals that know nothing.
Maeterlinck—Joyzelle. Act I.

Nascentes morimur, finiaque ab origine pendet.
We begin to die as soon as we are born, and the end is linked to the beginning.
Manilius—Astronomica. IV. 16.

I want to meet my God awake.
Maria-Theresa, who refused to take a drug when dying, according to Carlyle.

Hic rogo non furor est ne moriare mori?
This I ask, is it not madness to kill thyself in order to escape death?
Martial—Epigrams. II. 80. 2.

When the last sea is sailed and the last shallow charted,
When the last field is reaped and the last harvest stored,
When the last fire is out and the last guest departed
Grant the last prayer that I shall pray, Be good to me, O Lord.
Masefield—D’Avalos’ Prayer.

When Life knocks at the door no one can wait,
When Death makes his arrest we have to go.
Masefield—Widow in the Bye Street. Pt. II.

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—The Ballad of Babe Christabel.

Death hath a thousand doors to let out life.
I shall find one.
Massinger—A Very Woman. Act V. Sc. 4.

He whom the gods love dies young.
Menander—Dis Exapaton. Same in Dionysius—Ars Rhetorica. Vol. V. P. 364. Reiske’s Ed.

There’s nothing certain in man’s life but this:
That he must lose it.
Owen Meredith (Lord Lytton)—Clytemnestra. Pt. XX.

If I should die to-night,
My friends would look upon my quiet face
Before they laid it in its resting-place,
And deem that death had left it almost fair.
Robert C. V. Meyers—If I should Die Tonight. See 100 Choice Selections. No. 27. P. 172.

Aujourd’hui si la mort n’ existait pas, il faudrait l’inventer.
Today if death did not exist, it would be necessary to invent it.
Millaud—When voting for the death of Louis XVI. Bismarck used same expression to Chevalier Nigra, referring to Italy.

Death is delightful. Death is dawn,
The waking from a weary night
Of fevers unto truth and light.
Joaquin Miller—Even So. St. 35.

O fairest flower; no sooner blown but blasted,
Soft, silken primrose fading timelessly.
Milton—Ode on the Death of a Fair Infant Dying of a Cough.

So spake the grisly Terror.
Milton—Paradise Lost. Bk. II. L. 704.

I fled, and cried out Death;
Hell trembled at the hideous name, and sigh’d
From all her caves, and back resounded Death.
Milton—Paradise Lost. Bk. II. L. 787.

Before mine eyes in opposition sits
Grim Death, my son and foe.
Milton—Paradise Lost. Bk. II. L. 803.

Grinned horrible a ghastly smile, to hear
His famine should be filled.
Milton—Paradise Lost. Bk. II. L. 845.

Eas’d the putting off
These troublesome disguises which we wear.
Milton—Paradise Lost. Bk. IV. L. 739.

Behind her Death
Close following pace for pace, not mounted yet
On his pale horse.
Milton—Paradise Lost. Bk. X. L. 588.

How gladly would I meet
Mortality my sentence, and be earth
Insensible! how glad would lay me down
As in my mother’s lap!
Milton—Paradise Lost. Bk. X. L. 775.

And over them triumphant Death his dart
Shook, but delay’d to strike, though oft invoked.
Milton—Paradise Lost. Bk. XI. L. 491.

Nous sommes tous mortels, et chacun est pour soi.
We are all mortal, and each one is for himself.
Molière—L’École des Femmes. II. 6.

On n’a point pour la mort de dispense de Rome.
Rome can give no dispensation from death.
Molière—L’Etourdi. II. 4.

La mort (dict on) nous acquitte de toutes nos obligations.
Death, they say, acquits us of all obligations.
Montaigne—Essays. Bk. I. Ch. 7. La mort est la recepte a touts maulx. Montaigne—Essays. Bk. II. Ch. III.

There’s nothing terrible in death;
’Tis but to cast our robes away,
And sleep at night, without a breath
To break repose till dawn of day.
Montgomery—In Memory of E. G.

Weep not for those whom the veil of the tomb
In life’s happy morning hath hid from our eyes,
Ere sin threw a blight o’er the spirit’s young bloom
Or earth had profaned what was born for the skies.
Moore—Song. Weep not for Those.

How short is human life! the very breath
Which frames my words accelerates my death.
Hannah More—King Hezekiah.

Be happy while y’er leevin,
For y’er a lang time deid.
Scotch Motto for a house, in Notes and Queries, Dec. 7, 1901. P. 469. Expression used by Bill Nye.

At end of Love, at end of Life,
At end of Hope, at end of Strife,
At end of all we cling to so—
The sun is setting—must we go?

At dawn of Love, at dawn of Life,
At dawn of Peace that follows Strife,
At dawn of all we long for so—
The sun is rising—let us go.
Louise Chandler Moulton—At End.

There is rust upon locks and hinges,
And mould and blight on the walls,
And silence faints in the chambers,
And darkness waits in the halls.
Louise Chandler Moulton—House of Death.

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

Xerxes the great did die;
And so must you and I.
New England Primer. (1814).

When you and I behind the Veil are past.
Omar Khayyam—Rubaiyat. St. 47. (Not in first ed.) FitzGerald’s trans.

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 Khayyam—Rubaiyat. St. 68. FitzGerald’s trans.

And die with decency.
Thomas Otway—Venice Preserved. Act V. Sc. 3.

Tendimus huc omnes; metam properamus ad unam. Omnia sub leges mors vocat atra suas.
We are all bound thither; we are hastening to the same common goal. Black death calls all things under the sway of its laws.
Ovid—Ad Liviam. 359.

Stulte, quid est somnus, gelidæ nisi mortis imago?
Longa quiescendi tempora fata dabunt.
Thou fool, what is sleep but the image of death? Fate will give an eternal rest.
Ovid—Amorum. II. 9. 41.

Ultima semper
Expectanda dies homini est, dicique beatus
Ante obitum nemo et suprema funera debet.
Man should ever look to his last day, and no one should be called happy before his funeral.
Ovid—Metamorphoses. III. 135.

Nec mihi mors gravis est posituro morte dolores.
Death is not grievous to me, for I shall lay aside my pains by death.
Ovid—Metamorphoses. III. 471.

Quocunque adspicias, nihil est nisi mortis imago.
Wherever you look there is nothing but the image of death.
Ovid—Tristium. I. 2. 23.

Death’s but a path that must be trod,
If man would ever pass to God.
Parnell—A Night-Piece on Death. L. 67.

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—Time.

O lady, he is dead and gone!
Lady, he’s dead and gone!
And at his head a green grass turfe,
And at his heels a stone.
Thos. Percy—Reliques. The Friar of Orders Gray.

For death betimes is comfort, not dismay,
And who can rightly die needs no delay.
Petrarch—To Laura in Death. Canzone V. St. 6.

Nam vita morti propior est quotidie.
For life is nearer every day to death.
Phædrus—Fables. Bk. IV. 25. 10.

Quem dii diligunt,
Adolescens moritur, dum valet, sentit, sapit.
He whom the gods love dies young, whilst he is full of health, perception, and judgment.
Plautus—Bacchides. Act IV. 7. 18.

Omnibus a suprema die eadem, quæ ante primum; nec magis a morte sensus ullus aut corpori aut animæ quam ante natalem.
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—Historia Naturalis. LVI. 1.

De mortuis nil nisi bonum.
Concerning the dead nothing but good shall be spoken.
Plutarch—Life of Solon. Given as a saying of Solon. Attributed also to Chilo.

Come! let the burial rite be read—
The funeral song be sung!—
An anthem for the queenliest dead
That ever died so young—
A dirge for her, the doubly dead
In that she died so young.
Poe—Lenore. St. 1.

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—The Conqueror Worm. St. 5.

Tell me, my soul! can this be death?
Pope—Dying Christian to His Soul. Pope attributes his inspiration to Hadrian and to a Fragment of Sappho. See Croly’s ed. of Pope. (1835). Thomas Flatman—Thoughts on Death, a similar paraphrase, pub. 1674, before Pope was born.

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—The Dying Christian to His Soul.

Vital spark of heavenly flame!
Quit, oh quit this mortal frame.
Pope—The Dying Christian to His Soul.

By foreign hands thy dying eyes were clos’d,
By foreign hands thy decent limbs compos’d,
By foreign hands thy humble grave adorn’d,
By strangers honour’d, and by strangers mourn’d.
Pope—Elegy to the Memory of an Unfortunate Lady. L. 51.

A heap of dust remains of thee;
’Tis all thou art, and all the proud shall be!
Pope—Elegy to the Memory of an Unfortunate Lady. L. 73.

See my lips tremble and my eyeballs roll,
Suck my last breath, and catch my flying soul!
Pope—Eloisa to Abelard. L. 323.

O Death, all eloquent! you only prove
What dust we dote on, when ’tis man we love.
Pope—Eloisa to Abelard. L. 355.

Till tired, he sleeps, and life’s poor play is o’er.
Pope—Essay on Man. Ep. II. L. 282.

But thousands die without or this or that,
Die, and endow a college or a cat.
Pope—Moral Essays. Ep. III. L. 95.

Teach him how to live,
And, oh! still harder lesson! how to die.
Bishop Porteus—Death. L. 316.

Yet a little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to sleep.
Proverbs. VI. 10; XXIV. 33.

I have said ye are gods … But ye shall die like men.
Psalms. LXXXII. 6. 7.

Death aims with fouler spite
At fairer marks.
Quarles—Divine Poems. (Ed. 1669).

It is the lot of man but once to die.
Quarles—Emblems. Bk. V. Em. 7.

Je m’en vais chercher un grand peut-être; tirez le rideau, la farce est jouée.
I am going to seek a great perhaps; draw the curtain, the farce is played.
Attributed to Rabelais by tradition. From Motteux’s Life of Rabelais. Quoted: “I am about to leap into the dark”; also Notice sur Rabelais in Œuvres de F. Rabelais. Paris, 1837.

Et l’avare Achéron ne lâche pas sa proie.
And greedy Acheron does not relinquish its prey.
Racine—Phèdre. Act II. Sc. 5.

O eloquent, just, and mighty Death! whom none could advise, thou hast persuaded; 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 drawn together all the far stretchèd greatness, all the pride, cruelty and ambition of man, and covered it all over with those two narrow words, Hic jacet!
Sir Walter Raleigh—Historie of the World. Bk. V. Pt. I. Ch. VI.

Hushed in the alabaster arms of Death,
Our young Marcellus sleeps.
James R. Randall—John Pelham.

QuelleWhat a

Comte de Resseguier.

Der lange Schlaf des Todes schliesst unsere Narben zu, und der kutze des Lebens unsere Wunden.
The long sleep of death closes our scars, and the short sleep of life our wounds.
Jean Paul Richter—Hesperus. XX.

Those that he loved so long and sees no more,
Loved and still loves—not dead, but gone before,
He gathers round him.
Samuel Rogers—Human Life. L. 739.

Sleep that no pain shall wake,
Night that no morn shall break,
Till joy shall overtake
Her perfect peace.
Christina G. Rossetti—Dream-Land. St. 4.

There is no music more for him:
His lights are out, his feast is done;
His bowl that sparkled to the brim
Is drained, is broken, cannot hold.
Christina G. Rossetti—Peal of Bells.

When I am dead, my dearest,
Sing no sad songs for me;
Plant thou no roses at my head,
No shady cypress tree.
Christina G. Rossetti—Song.

Je m’em vais voir le soleil pour la dernière fois.
I go to see the sun for the last time.
Rousseau’s last words.

Death is the privilege of human nature,
And life without it were not worth our taking:
Thither the poor, the pris’ner, and the mourner
Fly for relief, and lay their burthens down.
Nicholas Rowe—The Fair Penitent. Act V. Sc. 1. L. 138.

Oh, stanch thy bootlesse teares, thy weeping is in vain;
I am not lost, for we in heaven shall one day meet againe.
Raxburghe Ballads. The Bride’s Buriall. Edited by Chas. Hindley.

Out of the chill and the shadow,
Into the thrill and the shine;
Out of the dearth and the famine,
Into the fulness divine.
Margaret E. Sangster—Going Home.

Day’s lustrous eyes grow heavy in sweet death.
Schiller—Assignation. St. 4. Lord Lytton’s trans.

Und setzet ihr nicht das Leben ein,
Nie wird euch das Leben gewonnen sein.
If you do not dare to die you will never win life.
Schiller—Wallenstein’s Lager. XI. Chorus.

Gut’ Nacht, Gordon.
Ich denke einen langen Schlaf zu thun.
Good night, Gordon. I am thinking of taking a long sleep.
Schiller—Wallenstein’s Tod. V. 5. 85.

Haste thee, haste thee, to be gone!
Earth flits fast and time draws on:
Gasp thy gasp, and groan thy groan!
Day is near the breaking.
Scott—Death Chant.

Soon the shroud shall lap thee fast,
And the sleep be on thee cast
That shall ne’er know waking.
Scott—Guy Mannering. Ch. XXVII.

Like the dew on the mountain,
Like the foam on the river,
Like the bubble on the fountain,
Thou art gone, and for ever!
Scott—Lady of the Lake. Canto III. St. 16.

I have a rendezvous with Death
At some disputed barricade.
Alan Seeger—I Have a Rendezvous with Death.

So die as though your funeral
Ushered you through the doors that led
Into a stately banquet hall
Where heroes banqueted.
Alan Seeger—Maktoob.

Quid est enim novi, hominem mori, cujus tota vita nihil aliud quam ad mortem iter est?
What new thing then is it for a man to die, whose whole life is nothing else but a journey to death?
Seneca—De Consol. ad Polyb. 30.

Ultimum malorum est ex vivorum numero exire antequam moriaris.
It is an extreme evil to depart from the company of the living before you die.
Seneca—De Tranquilitate. Animi. 2.

Vivere nolunt, et mori nesciunt.
They will not live, and do not know how to die.
Seneca—Epistles. IV.

Non amittuntur sed præmittuntur.
They are not lost but sent before.
Seneca—Epistles. LXIII. 16. Early sources in Cyprian—De Mortalitate. S. XX.

Stultitia est timore mortis mori.
It is folly to die of the fear of death.
Seneca—Epistles. LXIX.

Incertum est quo te loco mors expectet: itaque tu illam omni loco expecta.
It is uncertain in what place death may await thee; therefore expect it in any place.
Seneca—Epistolæ Ad Lucilium. XXVI.

Dies iste, quem tamquam extremum reformidas, æterni natalis est.
This day, which thou fearest as thy last, is the birthday of eternity.
Seneca—Epistolæ Ad Lucilium. CII.

Interim pœna est mori,
Sed sæpe donum; pluribus veniæ fuit.
Sometimes death is a punishment; often a gift; it has been a favor to many.
Seneca—Hercules Oetæus. CMXXX.

Eripere vitam nemo non homini potest;
At nemo mortem; mille ad hanc aditus patent.
Any one may take life from man, but no one death; a thousand gates stand open to it.
Seneca—Phœnissæ. CLII.

Optanda mors est, sine metu mortis mori.
To die without fear of death is to be desired.
Seneca—Troades. DCCCLXIX.

Death’s pale flag advanced in his cheeks.
Seven Champions. Pt. III. Ch. XI.

Golden lads and girls all must,
As chimney-sweepers, come to dust.
Cymbeline. Act IV. Sc. 2. Song. L. 262.

Thou know’st ’tis common; all that lives must die,
Passing through nature to eternity.
Hamlet. Act I. Sc. 2. L. 72.

I do not set my life at a pin’s fee;
And, for my soul, what can it do to that,
Being a thing immortal as itself?
Hamlet. Act I. Sc. 4. 1; L. 67.

Cut off even in the blossoms of my sin,
Unhousel’d, disappointed, unanel’d;
No reckoning made, but sent to my account
With all my imperfections on my head.
Hamlet. Act I. Sc. 5. L. 76.

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 wished.
Hamlet. Act III. Sc. 1. L. 60.

For in that sleep of death what dreams may come.
Hamlet. Act III. Sc. 1. L. 66.

Who would fardels bear,
To grunt and sweat under a weary life;
But that the dread of something after death,
The undiscover’d country from whose bourn
No traveller returns, puzzles the will
And makes us rather bear those ills we have
Than fly to others that we know not of?
Hamlet. Act III. Sc. 1. L. 76. (“These fardels” in folio.)

We should profane the service of the dead,
To sing a requiem and such rest to her
As to peace-parted souls.
Hamlet. Act V. Sc. 1. L. 259.

O proud death,
What feast is toward in thine eternal cell,
That thou so many princes at a shot
So bloodily hast, struck?
Hamlet. Act V. Sc. 2. L. 375.

Come, let us take a muster speedily:
Doomsday is near; die all, die merrily.
Henry IV. Pt. I. Act IV. Sc. 1. L. 133.

And we shall feed like oxen at a stall,
The better cherish’d, still the nearer death.
Henry IV. Pt. I. Act V. Sc. 2. L. 14.

A man can die but once; we owe God a death.
Henry IV. Pt. II. Act III. Sc. 2. L. 250.

What, is the old king dead?
As nail in door.
Henry IV. Pt. II. Act V. Sc. 3. L. 126.

A’ made a finer end and went away an it had been any christom child; a’ parted even just between twelve and one, e’en at the turning o’ th’ tide: for after I saw him fumble with the sheets, and play with flowers, and smile upon his fingers’ ends, I knew there was but one way; for his nose was as sharp as a pen, and a’ babbled of green fields. “How now, Sir John?” quoth I: “what, man! be o’ good cheer.” So a’ cried out—“God, God, God!” three or four times. Now I, to comfort him, bid him a’ should not think of God; I hoped there was no need to trouble himself with any such thoughts yet.
Henry V. Act II. Sc. 3. L. 12.

Ah, what a sign it is of evil life,
Where death’s approach is seen so terrible!
Henry VI. Pt. II. Act III. Sc. 3. L. 5.

He dies, and makes no sign.
Henry VI. Pt. II. Act III. Sc. 3. L. 28.

My sick heart shows
That I must yield my body to the earth,
And, by my fall, the conquest to my foe.
Thus yields the cedar to the axe’s edge,
Whose arms gave shelter to the princely eagle;
Under whose shade the ramping lion slept:
Whose top-branch overpeer’d Jove’s spreading tree,
And kept low shrubs from winter’s powerful wind.
Henry VI. Pt. III. Act V. Sc. 2. L. 8.

Why, what is pomp, rule, reign, but earth and dust?
And, live we how we can, yet die we must.
Henry VI. Pt. III. Act V. Sc. 2. L. 27.

He gave his honours to the world again,
His blessed part to heaven, and slept in peace.
Henry VIII. Act IV. Sc. 2. L. 29.

When beggars die, there are no comets seen;
The heavens themselves blaze forth the death of princes.
Julius Cæsar. Act II. Sc. 2. L. 30.

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.
Julius Cæsar. Act II. Sc. 2. L. 33.

That we shall die we know; ’tis but the time
And drawing days out, that men stand upon.
Julius Cæsar. Act III. Sc. 1. L. 99.

He that cuts off twenty years of life
Cuts off so many years of fearing death.
Julius Cæsar. Act III. Sc. 1. L. 101.

We must die, Messala:
With meditating that she must die once,
I have the patience to endure it now.
Julius Cæsar. Act IV. Sc. 3. L. 190.

Death, death; oh, amiable, lovely death!
Come, grin on me, and I will think thou smilest.
King John. Act III. Sc. 4. L. 34.

We cannot hold mortality’s strong hand.
King John. Act IV. Sc. 2. L. 82.

Have I not hideous death within my view,
Retaining but a quantity of life
Which bleeds away, even as a form of wax
Resolveth from its figure ’gainst the fire?
King John. Act V. Sc. 4. L. 22.

O, our lives’ sweetness!
That we the pain of death would hourly die
Rather than die at once!
King Lear. Act V. Sc. 3. L. 184.

Nothing in his life
Became him like the leaving it.
Macbeth. Act I. Sc. 4. L. 7.

After life’s fitful fever, he sleeps well;
Treason has done his worst: nor steel, nor poison,
Malice domestic, foreign levy, nothing,
Can touch him further.
Macbeth. Act III. Sc. 2. L. 23.

Be absolute for death; either death or life
Shall thereby be the sweeter.
Measure for Measure. Act III. Sc. 1. L. 4.

What’s yet in this,
That bears the name of life? Yet in this life
Lie hid more thousand deaths: yet death we fear,
That makes these odds all even.
Measure for Measure. Act III. Sc. 1. L. 38.

Dar’st thou die?
The sense of death is most in apprehension;
And the poor beetle that we tread upon,
In corporal sufferance feels a pang as great
As when a giant dies.
Measure for Measure. Act III. Sc. 1. L. 77.

If I must die
I will encounter darkness as a bride,
And hug it in mine arms.
Measure for Measure. Act III. Sc. 1. L. 83.

Ay, but to die, and go we know not where;
To lie in cold obstruction and to rot.
Measure for Measure. Act III. Sc. 1. L. 118.

To be imprison’d in the viewless winds,
And blown with restless violence roundabout
The pendent world; or to be worse than worst
Of those, that lawless and incertain thought
Imagine howling; ’tis too horrible!
Measure for Measure. Act III. Sc. 1. L. 124.

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.
Measure for Measure. Act III. Sc. 1. L. 129.

I am a tainted wether of the flock,
Meetest for death; the weakest kind of fruit
Drops earliest to the ground, and so let me.
Merchant of Venice. Act IV. Sc. 1. L. 114.

Here is my journey’s end, here is my butt,
And very sea-mark of my utmost sail.
Othello. Act V. Sc. 2. L. 267.

Woe, destruction, ruin, and decay;
The worst is death, and death will have his day.
Richard II. Act III. Sc. 2. L. 102.

Let’s choose executors and talk of wills:
And yet not so, for what can we bequeath,
Save our desposed bodies to the ground?
Richard II. Act III. Sc. 2. L. 148.

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.
Richard II. Act III. Sc. 2. L. 152.

Within the hollow crown
That rounds the mortal temples of a king,
Keeps Death his court; and there the antic sits,
Scoffing his state and grinning at his pomp.
Richard II. Act III. Sc. 2. L. 161.

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.
Richard II. Act IV. Sc. 1. L. 97.

Go thou, and fill another room in hell.
That hand shall burn in never-quenching fire,
That staggers thus my person. Exton, thy fierce hand
Hath with thy king’s blood stain’d the king’s own land.
Mount, mount, my soul! thy seat is up on high;
Whilst my gross flesh sinks downward, here to die.
Richard II. Act V. Sc. 5. L. 107.

Who pass’d, methought, the melancholy flood
With that grim ferryman which poets write of,
Unto the kingdom of perpetual night.
Richard III. Act I. Sc. 4. L. 45.

’Tis a vile thing to die, my gracious lord,
When men are unprepared and look not for it.
Richard III. Act III. Sc. 2. L. 64.

Death lies on her, like an untimely frost
Upon the sweetest flower of all the field.
Romeo and Juliet. Act IV. Sc. 5. L. 28.

How oft, when men are at the point of death,
Have they been merry! which their keepers call
A lightning before death.
Romeo and Juliet. Act V. Sc. 3. L. 88.

Death, that hath suck’d the honey of thy breath,
Hath had no power yet upon thy beauty;
Thou art not conquer’d; beauty’s ensign yet
Is crimson in thy lips, and in thy cheeks,
And death’s pale flag is not advanced there.
Romeo and Juliet. Act V. Sc. 3. L. 92.

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.
Romeo and Juliet. Act V. Sc. 3. L. 112.

The wills above be done! but I would fain die a dry death.
Tempest. Act I. Sc. 1. L. 70.

He that dies pays all debts.
Tempest. Act III. Sc. 2. L. 140.

Come away, come away, death,
And in sad cypress let me be laid;
Fly away, fly away, breath:
I am slain by a fair cruel maid.
My shroud of white, stuck all with yew,
Oh, prepare it!
My part of death no one so true
Did share it.
Twelfth Night. Act II. Sc. 4. L. 52.

The youth that you see here
I snatch’d one half out of the jaws of death.
Twelfth Night. Act III. Sc. 4. L. 394. Ex faucibus fati creptam videtis, as said by Cicero.

For he being dead, with him is beauty slain,
And, beauty dead, black chaos comes again.
Venus and Adonis. L. 1,019.

The babe is at peace within the womb,
The corpse is at rest within the tomb.
We begin in what we end.
Shelley—Fragments. Same idea in Thomas Browne—Hydriotaphia. P. 221. (St. John’s ed.).

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—Death. (1820).

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.

Death calls ye to the crowd of common men.
Shirley—Cupid and Death.

The glories of our blood and state
Are shadows, not substantial things;
There is no armour against fate,
Death lays his icy hand on kings.
Scepter and crown
Must tumble down,
And, in the dust, be equal made
With the poor crooked scythe and spade.
Shirley—Contention of Ajax and Ulysses. Sc. 3. (“Birth and State” in Percy’s Reliques. These lines are said to have terrified Cromwell.)

He that on his pillow lies,
Fear-embalmed before he dies
Carries, like a sheep, his life,
To meet the sacrificer’s knife,
And for eternity is prest,
Sad bell-wether to the rest.
Shirley—The Passing Bell.

La mort sans phrase.
Death without phrases.
Sieyès, voting for the death of Louis XVI. (Denied by him.) He no doubt voted “La mort”; “sans phrase” being a note on the laconic nature of his vote, i.e. without remarks. The voting usually included explanations of the decision.

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—Sleeping.

We count it death to falter, not to die.
Simonides—Jacobs I. 63, 20.

To our graves we walk
In the thick footprints of departed men.
Alex. Smith—Horton. L. 570.

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—Joan of Arc. Bk. I. L. 318.

Death is an equall doome
To good and bad, the common In of rest.
Spenser—Faerie Queene. II. 59. Also III. 3. 30.

Ave Cæsar, morituri te salutant (or Ave Imperator, te salutamus)
Hail Cæsar, we who are about to die salute you (or Hail Emperor, we salute you.)
Suetonius—Tiberius Claudius Drusus. XXI. 13. See Note by Samuelis Pitissus, Suetonius—Opera. Vol. I. P. 678. (1714). The salutation of the gladiators on entering the arena. Morituri te salutant. Quoted by an American officer as he saluted the Statue of Liberty on leaving New York for his place in the Great War.

Death, if thou wilt, fain would I plead with thee:
Canst thou not spare, of all our hopes have built,
One shelter where our spirits fain would be
Death, if thou wilt?
Swinburne—A Dialogue. St. 1.

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—Ave Atque Vale. St. 18.

And hands that wist not though they dug a grave,
Undid the hasps of gold, and drank, and gave,
And he drank after, a deep glad kingly draught:
And all their life changed in them, for they quaffed
Death; if it be death so to drink, and fare
As men who change and are what these twain were.
Swinburne—Tristram of Lyonesse. The Sailing of the Swallow. L. 789.

Honesta mors turpi vita potior.
An honorable death is better than a dishonorable life.
Tacitus—Agricola. XXXIII.

Trust not your own powers till the day of your death.
Talmud—Aboth. 2.

Death is not rare, alas! nor burials few,
And soon the grassy coverlet of God
Spreads equal green above their ashes pale.
Bayard Taylor—The Picture of St. John. Bk. III. St. 84.

He that would die well must always look for death, every day knocking at the gates of the grave; and then the gates of the grave shall never prevail upon him to do him mischief.
Jeremy Taylor—Holy Dying. Ch. II. Pt. I.

But O! for the touch of a vanish’d hand,
And the sound of a voice that is still!
Tennyson—Break, Break, Break.

Sunset and evening star,
And one clear call for me!
And may there be no moaning of the bar
When I put out to sea.
Tennyson—Crossing the Bar.

Twilight and evening bell,
And after that the dark!
And may there be no sadness of farewell
When I embark.
Tennyson—Crossing the Bar.

For tho’ from out our bourne of Time and Place
The flood may bear me far,
I hope to see my Pilot face to face
When I have crossed the bar.
Tennyson—Crossing the Bar.

The great world’s altar-stairs
That slope thro’ darkness up to God.
Tennyson—In Memoriam. Pt. LV.

Death has made
His darkness beautiful with thee.
Tennyson—In Memoriam. LXXIV.

God’s finger touched him, and he slept.
Tennyson—In Memoriam. LXXXV.

The night comes on that knows not morn,
When I shall cease to be all alone,
To live forgotten, and love forlorn.
Tennyson—Mariana in the South. Last stanza.

Whatever crazy sorrow saith,
No life that breathes with human breath
Has ever truly long’d for death.
Tennyson—Two Voices. St. 132.

Dead men bite not.
Theodotus, when counselling the death of Pompey. See Plutarch—Life of Pompey.

Et “Bene,” discedens dicet, “placideque quiescas;
Terraque securæ sit super ossa levis.”
And at departure he will say, “Mayest thou rest soundly and quietly, and may the light turf lie easy on thy bones.”
Tibullus—Camina. II. 4. 49.

I hear a voice you cannot hear,
Which says, I must not stay;
I see a hand you cannot see,
Which beckons me away.
Tickell—Colin and Lucy.

These taught us how to live; and (oh, too high
The price for knowledge!) taught us how to die.
Tickell—On the Death of Mr. Addison. L. 81.

I believe if I should die,
And you should kiss my eyelids where I lie
Cold, dead, and dumb to all the world contains,
The folded orbs would open at thy breath,
And from its exile in the Isles of Death
Life would come gladly back along my veins.
Mary Ashley Townsend—Love’s Belief. (Credo.)

Go thou, deceased, to this earth which is a mother, and spacious and kind. May her touch be soft like that of wool, or a young woman, and may she protect thee from the depths of destruction. Rise above him, O Earth, do not press painfully on him, give him good things, give him consolation, as a mother covers her child with her cloth, cover thou him.
Vedic Funeral Rite. Quoted in New York Times on the death of “Buffalo Bill.”

Venit summa dies et ineluctabile tempus.
The supreme day has come and the inevitable hour.
Vergil—Æneid. II. 324. Same in Lucan. VII. 197.

Vixi, et quem dederat cursum fortuna, peregi:
Et nunc magna mei sub terras currit imago.
I have lived, and I have run the course which fortune allotted me; and now my shade shall descend illustrious to the grave.
Vergil—Æneid. IV. 653.

Irreameabilis unda.
The wave from which there is no return [the river Styx].
Vergil—Æneid. VI. 425.

Usque adeone mori miserum est?
Is it then so sad a thing to die?
Vergil—Æneid. XII. 646.

Decet imperatorem stantem mori.
It becomes an emperor to die standing (i.e. “in harness”).

C’est demain, ma belle amie, que je fais le saut perilleux.
It is today, my dear, that I take a perilous leap.
Last words of Voltaire, quoting the words of King Henry to Gabrielle d’Estrées, when about to enter the Catholic Church.

Le lâche fuit en vain; la mort vole à sa suite:
C’est en la défiant que le brave l’évite.
It is vain for the coward to flee; death follows close behind; it is only by defying it that the brave escape.
Voltaire—Le Triumvirat. IV. 7.

But God, who is able to prevail, wrestled with him, as the angel did with Jacob, and marked him; marked him for his own.
Izaak Walton—Life of Donne.

Softly his fainting head he lay
Upon his Maker’s breast;
His Maker kiss’d his soul away,
And laid his flesh to rest.
Watts—Death of Moses. In Lyrics.

Hark! from the tombs a doleful sound.
Watts—Funeral Thought.

The tall, the wise, the reverend head,
Must lie as low as ours.
Watts—Hymns and Spiritual Songs. Bk. II. Hymn 63.

I know death hath ten thousand several doors
For men to take their exits.
John Webster—Duchess of Malfi. Act IV. Sc. 2.

I saw him now going the way of all flesh.
John Webster—Westward Ho! 2. 2.

Like Moses to thyself convey,
And kiss my raptur’d soul away.
Wesley—Collection Hymn. 229. Folio 221.

Joy, shipmate, joy
(Pleas’d to my soul at death I cry,)
Our life is closed, our life begins,
The long, long anchorage we leave,
The ship is clear at last, she leaps!
Joy, shipmate, joy!
Walt Whitman—Joy, Shipmate, Joy.

O, I see now that life cannot exhibit all to me, as day cannot,
I see that I am to wait for what will be exhibited by death.
Walt Whitman—Night on the Prairies.

Nothing can happen more beautiful than death.
Walt Whitman—Starting from Paumanok. No. 12.

It is not the fear of death
That damps my brow;
It is not for another breath
I ask thee now;
I could die with a lip unstirred.
N. P. Willis. Paraphrase of André’s letter to Washington.

How beautiful it is for a man to die
Upon the walls of Zion! to be called
Like a watch-worn and weary sentinel,
To put his armour off, and rest in heaven!
N. P. Willis—On the Death of a Missionary.

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—Orgia. The Song of a Ruined Man.

But he lay like a warrior taking his rest,
With his martial cloak around him.
Chas. Wolfe—The Burial of Sir John Moore.

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—Song. The Death of Mary.

O, sir! the good die first,
And they whose hearts are dry as summer dust
Burn to the socket.
Wordsworth—The Excursion. Bk. I.

“But they are dead; those two are dead!
Their spirits are in Heaven!”
’Twas throwing words away; for still
The little Maid would have her will,
And said, “Nay, we are seven!”
Wordsworth—We Are Seven.

He first deceased; she for a little tried
To live without him, lik’d it not, and died.
Sir Henry Wotton—On the Death of Sir Albert Morton’s Wife.

Men drop so fast, ere life’s mid stage we tread,
Few know so many friends alive, as dead.
Young—Love of Fame. L. 97.

Insatiate archer! could not one suffice?
Thy shaft flew thrice; and thrice my peace was slain!
Young—Night Thoughts. Night I. L. 212.

Who can take
Death’s portrait? The tyrant never sat.
Young—Night Thoughts. Night II. L. 52.

The chamber where the good man meets his fate
Is privileged beyond the common walk
Of virtuous life, quite in the verge of heaven.
Young—Night Thoughts. Night II. L. 633.

A death-bed’s a detector of the heart.
Young—Night Thoughts. Night II. L. 641.

Lovely in death the beauteous ruin lay;
And if in death still lovely, lovelier there;
Far lovelier! pity swells the tide of love.
Young—Night Thoughts. Night III. L. 104.

Death is the crown of life;
Were death denyed, poor man would live in vain;
Were death denyed, to live would not be life;
Were death denyed, ev’n fools would wish to die.
Young—Night Thoughts. Night III. L. 523.

The knell, the shroud, the mattock and the grave,
The deep, damp vault, the darkness, and the worm.
Young—Night Thoughts. Night IV. L. 10.

And feels a thousand deaths, in fearing one.
Young—Night Thoughts. Night IV. L. 17.

As soon as man, expert from time, has found
The key of life, it opes the gates of death.
Young—Night Thoughts. Night IV. L. 122.

Early, bright, transient, chaste, as morning dew
She sparkled, was exhal’d, and went to heaven.
Young—Night Thoughts. Night V. L. 600.

Death loves a shining mark, a signal blow.
Young—Night Thoughts. Night V. L. 1,011.