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

[الموت جمل أسود يركع أمام جميع البواب]

(Other Authors and Sources)
Arabic saying

Also identified as a Turkish saying.

Popularized in the West in the 19th Century by Algerian religious and military leader Abdelkader ibn Muhieddine (Abdelkader El Djazairi).

It received later used in the eponymous Charlie Chan novel by Earl Derr Biggers, The Black Camel, ch. 4 (1929), where it is identified as an "old Eastern saying": "Death is the black camel that kneels unbid at every gate."

It was also used in the 1931 movie of the same name: "Death is a black camel that kneels unbidden at every gate."

Further variants:
  • "Death is a black camel that kneels before every man's door."
  • "Death is a black camel which kneels at every man's gate."
 
Added on 17-Jan-23 | Last updated 17-Jan-23
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More quotes by ~Other

These, when a thousand rolling years are o’er,
Called by the God, to Lethe’s waves repair;
There, reft of memory, to yearn once more
For mortal bodies and the upper air.

[Has omnis, ubi mille rotam volvere per annos,
Lethaeum ad fluvium deus evocat agmine magno,
Scilicet immemores supera et convexa revisant
Bursus et incipiant in corpora velle reverti.]

Virgil (70-19 BC) Roman poet [b. Publius Vergilius Maro; also Vergil]
The Aeneid [Ænē̆is], Book 6, l. 748ff (6.748-751) [Anchises] (29-19 BC) [tr. Taylor (1907), st. 99, l. 883ff]
    (Source)

On the reincarnation of most souls, other than those punished in Tartarus or rewarded in Elysium. (Source (Latin)). Alternate translations:

But, when a thousand rolling years are past,
(So long their punishments and penance last,)
Whole droves of minds are, by the driving god,
Compell'd to drink the deep Lethaean flood,
In large forgetful draughts to steep the cares
Of their past labors, and their irksome years,
That, unrememb'ring of its former pain,
The soul may suffer mortal flesh again.
[tr. Dryden (1697)]

All these, after they have rolled away a thousand years, are summoned forth by the god in a great body to the river Lethe; to the intent that, losing memory, they may revisit the vaulted realms above, and again become willing to return into bodies.
[tr. Davidson/Buckley (1854)]

All these, when centuries ten times told
The wheel of destiny have rolled,
The voice divine from far and wide
Calls up to Lethe's river-side,
That earthward they may pass once more
Remembering not the things before,
And with a blind propension yearn
To fleshly bodies to return.
[tr. Conington (1866)]

All these, when for a thousand years the wheel
Of fate has turned, the Deity calls forth
To Lethe's stream, a mighty multitude;
That they, forgetful of the past, may see
Once more the vaulted sky, and may begin
To wish return into corporeal frames.
[tr. Cranch (1872), l. 933ff]

All these before thee, when the wheel of a thousand years hath come fully round, a God summons in vast train to the river of Lethe, that so they may regain in forgetfulness the slopes of upper earth, and begin to desire to return again into the body.
[tr. Mackail (1885)]

All these who now have turned the wheel for many and many a year
God calleth unto Lethe's flood in mighty company,
That they, remembering nought indeed, the upper air may see
Once more, and long to turn aback to worldly life anew.
[tr. Morris (1900)]

At last, when the millennial aeon strikes,
God calls them forth to yon Lethaean stream,
In numerous host, that thence, oblivious all,
They may behold once more the vaulted sky,
And willingly to shapes of flesh return.
[tr. Williams (1910), l. 747ff]

A thousand years pass over
And the god calls the countless host to Lethe
Where memory is annulled, and souls are willing
Once more to enter into mortal bodies.
[tr. Humphries (1951)]

All these souls, when they have finished their thousand-year cycle,
God sends for, and they come in crowds to the river of Lethe,
So that, you see, with memory washed out, they may revisit
The earth above and begin to wish to be born again.
[tr. Day-Lewis (1952)]

But all the rest, when they have passed time's circle
for a millennium, arfe summoned by
the god to Lethe in a great assembly
that, free of memory, they may return
beneath the curve of the upper world, that they
may once again begin to wish for bodies.
[tr. Mandelbaum (1971), l. 988ff]

These other souls,
When they have turned Time's wheel a thousand years,
The god calls in a crowd to Lethe stream,
There there unmemoried they may see again
The heavens and wish re-entry into bodies.
[tr. Fitzgerald (1981), l. 1004ff]

All these others whom you see, when they have rolled the wheel for a thousand years, are called out by God to come in great columns to the river of Lethe, so that they may duly go back and see the vault of heaven again remembering nothing, and begin to be willing to return to bodies.
[tr. West (1990)]

All these others the god calls in a great crowd to the river Lethe,
after they have turned the wheel for a thousand years,
so that, truly forgetting, they can revisit the vault above,
and begin with a desire to return to the flesh.
[tr. Kline (2002)]

All these,
When they have rolled the wheel of time
Through a thousand years, will be called by God
In a great assembly to the river Lethe,
So that they return to the vaulted world
With no memory and may begin again
To desire rebirth in a human body.
[tr. Lombardo (2005)]

All the rest, once they have turned the wheel of time
for a thousand years: God calls them forth to the Lethe,
great armies of souls, their memories blank so that
they may revisit the overarching world once more
and begin to long to return to bodies yet again.
[tr. Fagles (2006), l. 865ff]

When the rest have cycled through a thousand years, the god calls them in clusters to the river Lethe. These forgetful spirits hope for resurrection into bodies. They start to want to see the sky.
[tr. Bartsch (2021)]

 
Added on 28-Dec-22 | Last updated 28-Dec-22
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More quotes by Virgil

And even when life is over, all the evil
Ingrained so long, the adulterated mixture,
The plagues and pestilences of the body
Remain, persist. So there must be a cleansing,
By penalty, by punishment, by fire,
By sweep of wind, by water’s absolution,
Before the guilt is gone. Each of us suffers
His own peculiar ghost.

[Quin et supremo cum lumine vita reliquit,
non tamen omne malum miseris nec funditus omnes
corporeae excedunt pestes, penitusque necesse est
multa diu concreta modis inolescere miris.
Ergo exercentur poenis, veterumque malorum
supplicia expendunt: aliae panduntur inanes
suspensae ad ventos; aliis sub gurgite vasto
infectum eluitur scelus, aut exuritur igni;
quisque suos patimur Manes.]

Virgil (70-19 BC) Roman poet [b. Publius Vergilius Maro; also Vergil]
The Aeneid [Ænē̆is], Book 6, l. 735ff (6.735-743) [Anchises] (29-19 BC) [tr. Humphries (1951)]
    (Source)

Souls in the underworld purging their spirits so that they can enter Elysium. The Manes were minor underworld deities and/or the spirits of deceased ancestors. The last line (l. 743) is popularly paraphrased: "Each of us bears his own Hell."

(Source (Latin)). Alternate translations:

Nor can the groveling mind,
In the dark dungeon of the limbs confin'd,
Assert the native skies, or own its heav'nly kind:
Nor death itself can wholly wash their stains;
But long-contracted filth ev'n in the soul remains.
The relics of inveterate vice they wear,
And spots of sin obscene in ev'ry face appear.
For this are various penances enjoin'd;
And some are hung to bleach upon the wind,
Some plung'd in waters, others purg'd in fires,
Till all the dregs are drain'd, and all the rust expires
All have their manes, and those manes bear.
[tr. Dryden (1697)]

Even when with the last beams of light their life is gone, yet not every ill, nor all corporeal stains, are quite removed from the unhappy beings; and it is absolutely necessary that many imperfections which have long been joined to the soul should be in marvelous ways increased and riveted therin. Therefore are they afflicted with punishments, and pay the penalties of their former ills. Some, hung on high, are spread out to the empty winds; in others the guilt not done away is washed out ina vast watery abyss, or burned away in fire. We each endure his own manes.
[tr. Davidson/Buckley (1854)]

Nay, when at last the life has fled,
And left the body cold and dead,
E'en then there passes not away
The painful heritage of clay;
Full many a long contracted stain
Perforce must linger deep in grain.
So penal sufferings they endure
For ancient crime, to make them pure:
Some hang aloft in open view
For winds to pierce them through and through,
While others purge their guilt deep-dyed
In burning fire or whelming tide.
Each for himself, we all sustain
The durance of our ghostly pain.
[tr. Conington (1866)]

Nor e'en when life's last ray
Has fled, does every ill depart, nor all
Corporeal taints quite leave their unhappy frames,
And needs must be that many a hardened fault
Inheres in wondrous ways. Therefore the pains
Of punishment they undergo, for sins
Of former times. Some in the winds are hung
Suspended and exposed. Others beneath
A waste of waters from their guilt are cleansed,
Or purified by fire. We all endure
Our ghostly retribution.
[tr. Cranch (1872), l. 918ff]

Nay, and when the last ray of life is gone, not yet, alas! does all their woe, nor do all the plagues of the body wholly leave them free; and needs must be that many a long ingrained evil should take root marvellously deep. Therefore they are schooled in punishment, and pay all the forfeit of a lifelong ill; some are hung stretched to the viewless winds; some have the taint of guilt washed out beneath the dreary deep, or burned away in fire. We suffer, each a several ghost.
[tr. Mackail (1885)]

Yea, e'en when out of upper day their life at last is borne,
Not all the ill of wretched men is utterly outworn,
Not all the bane their bodies bred; and sure in wondrous wise
The plenteous ill they bore so long engrained in them it lies:
So therefore are they worn by woes and pay for ancient wrong:
And some of them are hung aloft the empty winds among;
And some, their stain of wickedness amidst the water's heart
Is washed away; amidst the fire some leave their worser part;
And each his proper death must bear.
[tr. Morris (1900), l. 734ff]

Nor can the soul, in darkness and in chains,
Assert the skies, and claim celestial birth.
Nay, after death, the traces it retains
Of fleshly grossness, and corporeal stains,
Since much must needs by long concretion grow
Inherent. Therefore are they racked with pains,
And schooled in all the discipline of woe;
Each pays for ancient sin with punishment below.
Some hang before the viewless winds to bleach;
Some purge in fire or flood the deep decay
And taint of wickedness. We suffer each
Our ghostly penance.
[tr. Taylor (1907), st. 97-98, l. 866ff]

Nor when to life's last beam they bid farewell
May sufferers cease from pain, nor quite be freed
From all their fleshly plagues; but by fixed law,
The strange, inveterate taint works deeply in.
For this, the chastisement of evils past
Is suffered here, and full requital paid.
Some hang on high, outstretched to viewless winds;
For some their sin's contagion must be purged
In vast ablution of deep-rolling seas,
Or burned away in fire. Each man receives
His ghostly portion in the world of dark.
[tr. Williams (1910)]

Nay, when at their last day life is fled, still not all the evil, alas! not all the plagues of the body quit them utterly; and it must needs be that many a taint, long linked in growth, should in wondrous wise become deeply ingrained. Therefore are they schooled with penalties, and for olden sins pay punishment: some are hung stretched out to the empty winds; from some the stain of guilt is washed away under swirling floods or burned out in fire. Each of us suffers his own spirit.
[tr. Fairclough (1916)]

Yes, not even when the last flicker of life has left us,
Does evil, or the ills that flesh is heir to, quite
Relinquish our souls; it must be that many a taint grows deeply,
Mysteriously grained in their being from long contact with the body.
Therefore the dead are disciplined in purgatory, and pay
The penalty of old evil: some hang, stretched ot the blast of
Vacuum winds; for others, the stain of sin is washed
Away in a vast whirlpool or cauterized with fire.
Each of us finds in the next world his own level.
[tr. Day-Lewis (1952)]

Ane when the final day of life deserts them,
then, even then, not every ill, not all
the plagues of body quit them utterly;
and this must be, for taints so long congealed
cling fast and deep in extraordinary
ways. Therefore they are schooled by punishment
and pay with torments for their own misdeeds:
some there are purified by air, suspended
and stretched before the empty winds; for some
the stain of guilt is washed away beneath
a mighty whirlpool or consumed by fire.
First each of us must suffer his own Shade.
[tr. Mandelbaum (1971), l. 970ff]

In fact
Even when life departs on the last day
Not all the scourges of the body pass
From the poor souls, not all distress of life.
Inevitably, many malformations,
Growing together in mysterious ways,
Become inveterate. Therefore they undergo
The discipline of punishments and pay
In penance for old sins: some hang full length
To the empty winds, for some the stain of wrong
Is washed by floods or burned away by fire.
We suffer each his own shade.
[tr. Fitzgerald (1981), l. 988ff]

Even when life leaves them on their last day of light, they are not wholly freed from all the many ills and miseries of the body which must harden in them over the long years and become ingrained in ways we cannot understand. And so they are put to punishment, to pay the penalty for all their ancient sins. Some are stretched and hung out empty to dry in the winds. Some have the stain of evil washed out of them under a vast tide of water or scorched out by fire. Each of us suffers his own fate in the after-life.
[tr. West (1990)]

Why, when life leaves them at the final hour,
still all of the evil, all the plagues of the flesh, alas,
have not completely vanished, and many things, long hardened
deep within, must of necessity be ingrained, in strange ways.
So they are scourged by torments, and pay the price
for former sins: some are hung, stretched out,
to the hollow winds, the taint of wickedness is cleansed
for others in vast gulfs, or burned away with fire:
each spirit suffers its own.
[tr. Kline (2002)]

Nor, when the last gleam
Of life flickers out, are all the ills
That flesh is heir to completely uprooted.
But many corporal taints remain,
Ingrained in the soul in myriad ways.
And so we are disciplined and expiate
Our bygone sins. Some souls are hung
Spread to the winds; others are cleansed
Under swirling waters or purged by fire.
We each suffer our own ghosts.
[tr. Lombardo (2005)]

True,
but even on that last day, when the light of life departs,
the wretches are not completely purged of all the taints,
nor are they wholly freed of all the body’s plagues.
Down deep they harden fast -- they must, so long engrained
in the flesh -- in strange, uncanny ways. And so the souls
are drilled in punishments, they must pay for their old offenses.
Some are hung splayed out, exposed to the empty winds,
some are plunged in the rushing floods -- their stains,
their crimes scoured off or scorched away by fire.
Each of us must suffer his own demanding ghost.
[tr. Fagles (2006), l. 849ff]

Poor things, even when life leaves them on the day of death, not every sin or canker of the flesh fully recedes. Many habits harden over time, and in this way become ingrained. So they pay for former crimes by torment: exposed to hollow winds by crucifixion, washed clean of infection in a whirling flood, or cauterized by fire -- we all suffer our soul's cure.
[tr. Bartsch (2021)]

 
Added on 21-Dec-22 | Last updated 11-Jan-23
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More quotes by Virgil

          In despair
they blasphemed God, their parents, their time on earth,
     the race of Adam, and the day and the hour
     and the place and the seed and the womb that gave them birth.
But all together they drew to that grim shore
     where all must come who lose the fear of God.
     Weeping and cursing they come for evermore.

[Bestemmiavano Dio e lor parenti,
     l’umana spezie e ’l loco e ’l tempo e ’l seme
     di lor semenza e di lor nascimenti.
Poi si ritrasser tutte quante insieme,
     forte piangendo, a la riva malvagia
     ch’attende ciascun uom che Dio non teme.]

Dante Alighieri the poet
Dante Alighieri (1265-1321) Italian poet
The Divine Comedy [Divina Commedia], Book 1 “Inferno,” Canto 3, l. 103ff (3.103-108) (1320) [tr. Ciardi (1954), l. 100ff]
    (Source)

The damned at Charon's boat, waiting to cross the Acheron. (Source (Italian)). Alternate translations:

God and their parents they alike blasphem'd,
Cursing all human kind, the time, the seed
From when they sprang, and of their birth the place.
They crouded then, with horrid yells and loud,
Close to the cursed shore of bliss devoid:
Where ev'ry Mortal waits who fears not God.
[tr. Rogers (1782), l. 87ff]

     Loud they began to curse their natal star,
Their parent-clime, their lineage, and their God;
     Then to the ferry took the downward road
     With lamentable cries of loud despair.
Then o'er the fatal flood, in horror hung
Collected, stood the Heav'abandon'd throng.
[tr. Boyd (1802), st. 22-23]

          God and their parents they blasphem'd,
The human kind, the place, the time, and seed
That did engender them and give them birth.
Then all together sorely wailing drew
To the curs'd strand, that every man must pass
Who fears not God.
[tr. Cary (1814)]

God they blasphemed, their parents and their kind,
     The place, the time, the seed prolifical,
     That embryo sowed them, and to life consigned.
Then wailing loud, their troop they gathered all,
     And back recoiled them to the baleful verge,
     Ordained to men from godliness who fall.
[tr. Dayman (1843)]

     They blasphemed God and their parents; the human kind; the place, the time, and origin of their seed, and of their birth.
     Then all of them together, sorely weeping, drew to the accursed shore, which awaits every man that fears not God.
[tr. Carlyle (1849)]

Blasphemed their God, their parents, human kind;
The time when, the hour, the natal earth,
The seed of their begetting, and their birth.
Then all withdrew, who there together were,
Loudly lamenting, to the wicked shore,
Awaiting those who feared not God before.
[tr. Bannerman (1850)]

God they blasphem'd, their parents they blasphem'd,
     The human race, the place, the time, the seed
     Of their conception and nativity.
Then by one impulse driv'n they onwards rush'd
     With bitter weeping to th' accursèd shore;
     The doom of all who have not God in fear.
[tr. Johnston (1867)]

God they blasphemed and their progenitors,
     The human race, the place, the time, the seed
     Of their engendering and of their birth! ⁠
Thereafter all together they drew back,
     Bitterly weeping, to the accursed shore,
     Which waiteth every man who fears not God.
[tr. Longfellow (1867)]

They fell to blaspheming God and their parents, the human kind, the place, the time, and the seed of their begetting and of their birth. Then they dragged them all together, wailing loud, to the baleful bank, which awaits every man that fears not God.
[tr. Butler (1885)]

They cursed at God and at their parentage,
     The human race, the place, the time, the seed
     Of their begetting, and their earliest age.
Then all of them together on proceed.
     Wailing aloud, to the evil bank that stays
     For every one of God who takes no heed.
[tr. Minchin (1885)]

They blasphemed God and their parents, the human race, the place, the time and the seed of their sowing and of their birth. Then, bitterly weeping, they drew back all of them together to the evil bank, that waits for every man who fears not God.
[tr. Norton (1892)]

They fell to blaspheming God and their parents, the human race, the place, the time, the seed of their sowing and of their births. Then in all their thronging crowds, the while they loudly wailed, they gathered them back together to the accursed shore, that awaiteth everyone that hath no fear of God.
[tr. Sullivan (1893)]

Blasphemed they God himself and their own parents.
     The human race, the place, the time, the sowing
     O' the seed they sprang from, and their own beginnings.
Then they retreated, one and all together,
     Bitterly weeping, to the brink accursèd
     Which for all men who fear not God is waiting.
[tr. Griffith (1908)]

They blasphemed God and their parents, the human kind, the place, the time, and the seed of their begetting and of their birth, then, weeping bitterly, they drew all together to the accursed shore which awaits every man that fears not God.
[tr. Sinclair (1939)]

They blasphemed God, blasphemed their mother's womb,
     The human kind, the place, the time, the seed
     Of their engendering, and their birth and doom;
Then weeping all together in their sad need
     Betook themselves to the accursed shore
     Which awaits each who of God takes no heed.
[tr. Binyon (1943)]

God they blaspheme, blaspheme their parents' bed,
     The human race, the place, the time, the blood
     The seed that got them, and the womb that bred;
Then, huddling hugger-mugger, down they scud,
     Dismally wailing, to the accursed strand
     Which waits for every man that fears not God.
[tr. Sayers (1949)]

They cursed God, their parents, the human race, the place, the time, the seed of their begetting and of their birth. Then, weeping loudly, all drew to the evil shore that awaits every man who fears not God.
[tr. Singleton (1970)]

They were cursing God, cursing their mother and father,
     the human race, and the time, the place, the seed
     of their beginning, and their day of birth.
Then all together, weeping bitterly,
     they packed themselves along the wicked shore
     that waits for everyman who fears not God.
[tr. Musa (1971)]

They execrated God and their own parents
     and humankind, and then the place and time
     of their conception's seed and of their birth.
Then they forgathered, huddled in one throng,
     weeping aloud along that wretched shore
     which waits for all who have no fear of God.
[tr. Mandelbaum (1980)]

Then they blasphemed God and cursed their parents,
     The human race, the place and time, the seed,
     The land that it was sown in, and their birth.
And then they gatehred, all of them together,
     Weeping aloud, upon the evil shore
     Which awaits every man who does not fear God.
[tr. Sisson (1981)]

          ... cursing the human race,
God and their parents. Teeth chattering in their skulls,
     They called curses on the seed, the place, the hour
     Of their own begetting and their birth. With wails
And tears they gaterhed on the evil shore
     That waits for all who don't fear God.
[tr. Pinsky (1994)]

     They cursed God and their parents, the human race and the place and the time and the seed of their sowing and of their birth.
     Then all of them together, weeping loudly, drew near the evil shore that awaits each one who does not fear God.
[tr. Durling (1996)]

They blasphemed against God, and their parents, the human species, the place, time, and seed of their conception, and of their birth. Then, all together, weeping bitterly, they neared the cursed shore that waits for every one who has no fear of God.
[tr. Kline (2002)]

They raged, blaspheming God and their own kin,
     the human race, the place and time, the seed
     from which they'd sprung, the day that they'd been born.
And then they came together all as one,
     wailing aloud along the evil margin
     that waits for all who have no fear of God.
[tr. Kirkpatrick (2006)]

They blasphemed God, their parents,
     the human race, the place, the time, the seed
     of their begetting and their birth.
Then weeping bitterly, they drew together
     to the accursèd shore that waits
     for every man who fears not God.
[tr. Hollander/Hollander (2007)]

They cursed at God, the human race, their parents,
     The place where they'd been born, and the time, and the seed
     That gave them life and brought about their birth.
Then they crowded, all of them loudly weeping,
     Down to the cursed, ever-barren shore
     That waits for men who live as if God were sleeping.
[tr. Raffel (2010)]

They cursed their parents, God, the human race,
The time, the temperature, their place of birth,
Their mother's father's brother's stupid face,
And everything of worth or nothing worth
That they could think of. Then they squeezed up tight
Together, sobbing, on the ragged edge
That waits for all who hold God in despite.
[tr. James (2013), l. 136ff]

 
Added on 9-Dec-22 | Last updated 9-Dec-22
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More quotes by Dante Alighieri

Here are troops of men
who had suffered wounds, fighting to save their country,
and those who had been pure priests while still alive,
and the faithful poets whose songs were fit for Phoebus;
those who enriched our lives with the newfound arts they forged
and those we remember well for the good they did mankind.

[Hic manus, ob patriam pugnando vulnera passi,
Quique sacerdotes casti, dum vita manebat,
Quique pii vates, et Phoebo digna locuti,
Inventas aut qui vitam excoluere per artes,
Quique sui memores alios fecere merendo.]

Virgil (70-19 BC) Roman poet [b. Publius Vergilius Maro; also Vergil]
The Aeneid [Ænē̆is], Book 6, l. 660ff (6.660-664) (29-19 BC) [tr. Fagles (2006), l. 764ff]
    (Source)

Some of the blessed in Elysium.

Fairclough (below) suggests that the "arts" (artes) refers not so much to material inventions as to philosophical principles. Note that the Nobel prize medals for Physics, Chemistry, Medicine, and Literature include the similar "Inventas vitam juvat excoluisse per artes."

(Source (Latin)). Alternate translations:

Here patriots live, who, for their country's good,
In fighting fields, were prodigal of blood:
Priests of unblemish'd lives here make abode,
And poets worthy their inspiring god;
And searching wits, of more mechanic parts,
Who grac'd their age with new-invented arts:
Those who to worth their bounty did extend,
And those who knew that bounty to commend.
[tr. Dryden (1697)]

Here is a band of those who sustained wounds in fighting for their country; priests who preserved themselves pure and holy, while life remained; pious poets, who sung in strains worthy of Apollo; those who improved life by the invention of arts, and who by their worthy deeds made others remember them.
[tr. Davidson/Buckley (1854)]

Here sees he the illustrious dead
Who fighting for their country bled;
Priests, who while earthly life remained
Preserved that life unsoiled, unstained;
Blest bards, transparent souls and clear,
Whose song was worthy Phœbus' ear;
Inventors, who by arts refined
The common life of human kind,
With all who grateful memory won
By services to others done.
[tr. Conington (1866)]

Here the bands are seen,
Of those who for their country fought and bled;
The chaste and holy priests; the reverent bards
Whose words were worthy of Apollo; those
Who enriched life with the inventive arts;
And all who by deserving deeds had made
Their names remembered.
[tr. Cranch (1872), l. 821ff]

Here is the band of them who bore wounds in fighting for their country, and they who were pure in priesthood while life endured, and the good poets whose speech abased not Apollo; and they who made life beautiful by the arts of their invention, and who won by service a memory among men.
[tr. Mackail (1885)]

Lo, they who in their country's fight sword-wounded bodies bore;
Lo, priests of holy life and chaste, while they in life had part;
Lo, God-loved poets, men who spake things worthy Phœbus' heart:
And they who bettered life on earth by new-found mastery;
And they whose good deeds left a tale for men to name them by.
[tr. Morris (1900)]

There, the slain patriot, and the spotless sage,
And pious poets, worthy of the God;
There he, whose arts improved a rugged age,
And those who, labouring for their country's good,
Lived long-remembered.
[tr. Taylor (1907), st. 88, l. 784ff]

Here dwell the brave who for their native land
Fell wounded on the field; here holy priests
Who kept them undefiled their mortal day;
And poets, of whom the true-inspired song
Deserved Apollo's name; and all who found
New arts, to make man's life more blest or fair;
Yea! here dwell all those dead whose deeds bequeath
Deserved and grateful memory to their kind.
[tr. Williams (1910), l. 669ff]

Here is the band of those who suffered wounds, fighting for fatherland ; those who in lifetime were priests and pure, good bards, whose songs were meet for Phoebus; or they who ennobled life by truths discovered and they who by service have won remembrance among men.
[tr. Fairclough (1916)]

The band of heroes
Dwell here, all those whose mortal wounds were suffered
In fighting for the fatherland; and poets,
The good, the pure, the worthy of Apollo;
Those who discovered truth and made life nobler;
Those who served others.
[tr. Humphries (1951)]

Here were assembled those who had suffered wounds in defence of
Their country; those who had lived pure lives as priests; and poets
Who had not disgraced Apollo, poets of true integrity;
Men who civilised life by the skills they discovered, and men whose
Kindness to others has kept their memories green.
[tr. Day-Lewis (1952)]

Here was the company of those who suffered
wounds, fighting for their homeland; and of those
who, while they lived their lives, served as pure priests;
and then the pious poets, those whose songs
were worthy of Apollo; those who had
made life more civilized with newfound arts;
and those whose merits won the memory
of all men.
[tr. Mandelbaum (1971), l. 874ff]

This was the company of those who suffered
Wounds in battle for their country; those
Who i their lives were holy men and chaste
Or worthy of Phoebus in prophetic song;
Or those who betted life, by finding out
New truths and skills; or those who to some folk
By benefactions made themselves remembered.
[tr. Fitzgerald (1981), l. 883ff]

Here were armies of men bearing wounds received while fighting for their native land, priests who had been chaste unto death and true prophets whose words were worthy of Apollo; then those who have raised human life to new heights by the skills they have discovered and those whom men remember for what they have done for men.
[tr. West (1990)]

Here is the company of those who suffered wounds fighting
for their country: and those who were pure priests, while they lived,
and those who were faithful poets, singers worthy of Apollo,
and those who improved life, with discoveries in Art or Science,
and those who by merit caused others to remember them.
[tr. Kline (2002)]
Here were legions wounded fighting for their country, priests who'd led pure lives, pious poets with songs worthy of Apollo, men who bettered life by new inventions, and those whose merit set them down in memory.
[tr. Bartsch (2021)]

 
Added on 8-Dec-22 | Last updated 8-Dec-22
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More quotes by Virgil

No, not if I had a hundred tongues and a hundred mouths
and a voice of iron too — I could never capture
all the crimes or run through all the torments,
doom by doom.

[Non, mihi si linguae centum sunt oraque centum
Ferrea vox, omnis scelerum comprendere formas,
Omnia poenarum percurrere nomina possim.]

Virgil (70-19 BC) Roman poet [b. Publius Vergilius Maro; also Vergil]
The Aeneid [Ænē̆is], Book 6, l. 625ff (6.625-627) [The Sybil] (29-19 BC) [tr. Fagles (2006), l. 724ff]
    (Source)

The punishments in Tartarus. Virgil uses a similar metaphor in Georgics 2.43.

(Source (Latin)). Alternate translations:

Had I a hundred mouths, a hundred tongues,
And throats of brass, inspired with iron lungs,
I could not half those horrid crimes repeat,
Nor half the punishments those crimes have met.
[tr. Dryden (1697)]

Had I a hundred tongues, and a hundred mouths, and a voice of iron, I could not comprehend all the species of their crimes, nor enumerate the names of all their punishments.
[tr. Davidson/Buckley (1854)]

No -- had I e'en a hundred tongues
A hundred mouths, and iron lungs,
Those types of guilt I could not show,
Nor tell the forms of penal woe.
[tr. Conington (1866)]

Not if I had a hundred tongues, a voice
Of iron, could I tell thee all the forms
Of guilt, or number all their penalties.
[tr. Cranch (1872), l. 780ff]

Not had I an hundred tongues, an hundred mouths, and a voice of iron, could I sum up all the shapes of crime or name over all their punishments.
[tr. Mackail (1885)]

Nor, had I now an hundred mouths, an hundred tongues at need,
An iron voice, might I tell o'er all guise of evil deed,
Or run adown the names of woe those evil deeds are worth.
[tr. Morris (1900)]

Ne'er had a hundred mouths, if such were mine,
Nor hundred tongues their endless sins declared,
Nor iron voice their torments could define,
Or tell what doom to each the avenging gods assign.
[tr. Taylor (1907), st. 83, l. 744ff]

          I could not tell,
Not with a hundred mouths, a hundred tongues,
Or iron voice, their divers shapes of sin,
Nor call by name the myriad pangs they bear.
[tr. Williams (1910)]

Nay, had I a hundred tongues, a hundred mouths, and voice of iron, I could not sum up all the forms of crime, or rehearse all the tale of torments.
[tr. Fairclough (1916)]

If I had a hundred tongues,
A hundred iron throats, I could not tell
The fullness of their crime and punishment.
[tr. Humphries (1951)]

No, not if I had a hundred tongues, a hundred mouths
And a voice of iron, could I describe all the shapes of wickedness,
Catalogue all the retributions inflicted here.
[tr. Day-Lewis (1952)]

          A hundred tongues,
a hundred mouths, an iron voice were not
enough for me to gather all the forms
of crime or tell the names of all the torments.
[tr. Mandelbaum (1971), l. 829ff]

          If I had
A hundred tongues, a hundred mouths, a voice
Of iron, I could not tell of all the shapes
Their crimes had taken, or their punishments.
[tr. Fitzgerald (1981)]

If I had a hundred tongues, a hundred mouths and a voice of iron, I could not encompass all their different crimes or speak the names of all their different punishments.
[tr. West (1990)]

Not if I had a hundred tongues, a hundred mouths,
a voice of iron, could I tell all the forms of wickedness
or spell out the names of every torment.
[tr. Kline (2002)]

Not if I had a hundred mouths, a hundred tongues,
And a voice of iron, could I recount
All the crimes or tell all their punishments.
[tr. Lombardo (2005)]

A hundred tongues and mouths, an iron voice, wouldn't let me cover the varieties of evil, nor all the names for punishments.
[tr. Bartsch (2021)]

 
Added on 30-Nov-22 | Last updated 30-Nov-22
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More quotes by Virgil

There, steering toward us in an ancient ferry
     came an old man with a white bush of hair,
     bellowing: “Woe to you depraved souls! Bury
here and forever all hope of Paradise:
     I come to lead you to the other shore,
     into eternal dark, into fire and ice.”

[Ed ecco verso noi venir per nave
     un vecchio, bianco per antico pelo,
     gridando: “Guai a voi, anime prave!
Non isperate mai veder lo cielo:
     i’ vegno per menarvi a l’altra riva
     ne le tenebre etterne, in caldo e ’n gelo.]

Dante Alighieri the poet
Dante Alighieri (1265-1321) Italian poet
The Divine Comedy [Divina Commedia], Book 1 “Inferno,” Canto 3, l. 82ff (3.82-87) [Charon] (1320) [tr. Ciardi (1954), l. 79ff]
    (Source)

(Source (Italian)). Alternate translations:

     Lo, rowing tow'rds us was one white with age,
And bawling out, "woe do you Souls deprav'd,
     Heaven expects you not e'er more to see;
     I come to waft you to another coast,
     Where are eternal Darkness, Heat, and Frost."
[tr. Rogers (1782), l. 68ff]

Far off exclaim'd the grizzly mariner,
"Hither, ye Denizens of Hell, repair!
     The Stygian barque her wonted load requires;
For you diurnal stars beignant beam,
Prepare ye now to feel the fierce extreme
     Of frost corrosive, and outrageous fire."
[tr. Boyd (1802), st. 19]

And lo! toward us in a bark
Comes on an old man hoary white with eld,
Crying, "Woe to you wicked spirits! hope not
Ever to see the sky again. I come
To take you to the other shore across,
Into eternal darkness, there to dwell
In fierce heat and in ice.
[tr. Cary (1814)]

          When lo! to meet us came
     An ancient boatman, hoar with many a year.
     Crying, "Woe to you, souls of evil name!
Ne'er hope to see the bright celestial sphere:
     I come to waft you to another shore,
     Where, cold or heat, still endless night is near.
[tr. Dayman (1843)]

     And lo! an old man, white with ancient hair, comes towards us in a bark, shouting, "Woe to you, depraved spirits!
     hope not ever to see Heaven: I come to lead you to the other shore; into the eternal darkness; into fire and into ice."
[tr. Carlyle (1849)]

And lo! towards us came one in a bark,
Whose head with hoar antiquity was white,
Cried, "Wow! Ye wicked souls, no more for heaven,
I come to lead you to yon other hold --
Darkness eternal, and to hot and cold!
[tr. Bannerman (1850)]

And lo! towards us in a bark approach'd
     An aged man and white with hoary hair
     Crying -- "Woe, woe to you, ye wicked souls!
Hope not that you can ever Heaven behold;
     I come to guide you to the other shore,
     To night eternal, endless cold and heat.
[tr. Johnston (1867), l. 92ff]

And lo! towards us coming in a boat
     An old man, hoary with the hair of eld,
     Crying: "Woe unto you, ye souls depraved!
Hope nevermore to look upon the heavens; ⁠
     I come to lead you to the other shore,
     To the eternal shades in heat and frost."
[tr. Longfellow (1867)]

And behold came towards us in a boat an old man white by reason of ancient hair, crying, ‘Woe to you, perverse souls! Hope not again to see the sky; I come to bring you to the other bank, among the eternal gloom, to heat and to cold."
[tr. Butler (1885)]

When lo! upon a bark there towards us came
     A very old man, with age-whitened hair.
     Crying aloud, "Ah, woe, ye souls of shame!
Hope not again to see the sky so fair.
     I come to take ye to the other side.
     To shades eterne of heat and freezing there."
[tr. Minchin (1885)]

And lo! coming toward us in a boat, an old man, white with ancient hair, crying, “Woe to you, wicked souls! hope not ever to see Heaven! I come to carry you to the other bank, into eternal darkness, to heat and frost.
[tr. Norton (1892)]

And lo! an old man, hoary with ancient locks, draweth towards us in a boat, crying out: "Curse on you, sinful souls! Never hope to see the sky! I am coming to ferry you to the other shore, into the darkness that is for ever, into flame and into frost."
[tr. Sullivan (1893)]

And lo! towards us coming in a vessel
          An old man, whom his ancient locks made hoary,
     Crying out : "Woe to you, ye souls unrighteous;
Cherish not hope of ever seeing heaven;
     Unto the other bank I come to take you,
     To heat and frost, in the eternal darkness."
[tr. Griffith (1908)]

And lo, coming towards us in a boat, an old man, his hair white with age, crying: "Woe to you, wicked souls, hope not ever to see the sky. I am come to bring you to the other bank, into the eternal shades, into fire and frost."
[tr. Sinclair (1939)]

And toward us lo! arriving in a boat
     An Ancient, white with hair upon him old,
     Crying, "Woe to you, ye spirits misbegot!
Hope not that heaven ye ever shall behold.
     I come to carry you to yon shore, and lead
     Into the eternal darkness, heat and cold."
[tr. Binyon (1943)]

          When from the far bank lo!
     A boat shot forth, whose white-haired boatman old
     Bawled as he came: "Woe to the wicked! Woe!
Never you hope to look on Heaven -- behold!
     I come to ferry you hence across the tide
     To endless night, fierce fires and shramming cold."
[tr. Sayers (1949)]

And behold, an old man, his hair white with age, coming towards us in a boat and shouting, "Woe to you, wicked souls! Do not hope to see Heaven ever! I come to carry you to the other shore, into eternal darkness, into fire and cold."
[tr. Singleton (1970)]

And suddenly, coming towards us in a boat,
     a man of years who ancient hair was white
     screamed at us, "Woe to you, perverted souls!
Give up all hope of every seeing heaven:
     I come to lead you to the other shore,
     into eternal darkness, ice and fire."
[tr. Musa (1971)]

And here, advancing toward us, in a boat,
     an aged man -- his hair was white with years --
     was shouting: "Woe to you, corrupted souls!
Forget your hope of ever seeing Heaven:
     I come to lead you to the other shore,
     to the eternal dark, to fire and frost."
[tr. Mandelbaum (1980)]

And then, there came towards us in a boat
     An old man who was white with brittle hair,
     Calling out: "Woe to you, perverse spirits!
You need not hope that you will ever see heaven;
     I have come to take you to the other side,
     Into eternal darkness, fire and ice."
[tr. Sisson (1981)]

Then, at the river -- an old man in a boat:
     White-haired, as he drew closer, shouting at us,
     "Woe to you, wicked souls! Give up the thought
Of Heaven! I come to ferry you across
     Into eternal dark on the opposite side,
     Into fire and ice!"
[tr. Pinsky (1994), l. 67ff]

     And behold coming toward us in a boat an old man, white with the hairs of age, crying, "Woe to you, wicked souls!
     Never hope to see the sky: I come to lead you to the other shore, to the eternal shadows, to heat and freezing."
[tr. Durling (1996)]

And see, an old man, with white hoary locks, came towards us in a boat, shouting: "Woe to you, wicked spirits! Never hope to see heaven: I come to carry you to the other shore, into eternal darkness, into fire and ice."
[tr. Kline (2002)]

Look now! Towards us in a boat there came
     an old man, yelling, hair all white and aged,
     "Degenerates! Your fate is sealed! Cry woe!
Don't hope you'll ever see the skies again!
     I'm here to lead you to the farther shore,
     into eternal shadow, heat and chill."
[tr. Kirkpatrick (2006)]

And now, coming toward us in a boat,
     an old man, his hair white with age, cried out:
     "Woe unto you, you wicked souls,
give up all hope of ever seeing Heaven.
     I come to take you to the other shore,
     into eternal darkness, into heat and chill."
[tr. Hollander/Hollander (2007)]

And suddenly a boat, and an old man in it,
     Came gliding through the misty air, approaching
     The shore. "Ah!" he shouted, "All you wicked
Souls! Don't wish for a Heaven you have no hope
     Of ever seeing! I'm here to take you over
     The river, to eternal darkness, to fire and cold."
[tr. Raffel (2010)]

Where suddenly an old man in a boat
Headed towards us, tossing his white hair
As he cried, "Woe to you and to your souls!
Give up your hopes of Heaven! I have come
To take you to the other side. Hot coals
And ice await, to brand you and benumb
In everlasting shadow."
[tr. James (2013), l. 114ff]

 
Added on 11-Nov-22 | Last updated 11-Nov-22
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More quotes by Dante Alighieri

We have no right to prejudice another in his civil enjoiments because he is of another church. If any man err from the right way, it is his own misfortune, no injury to thee; nor therefore art thou to punish him in the things of this life because thou supposeth he will be miserable in that which is to come — on the contrary accdg to the spirit of the gospel, charity, bounty, liberality is due to him.

Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826) American political philosopher, polymath, statesman, US President (1801-09)
Notes on Religion (Oct 1776?)
    (Source)

Labeled by Jefferson "Scraps Early in the Revolution."
 
Added on 7-Nov-22 | Last updated 7-Nov-22
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THROUGH ME THE WAY TO THE CITY OF WOE,
     THROUGH ME THE WAY TO EVERLASTING PAIN.
     THROUGH ME THE WAY AMONG THE LOST.
JUSTICE MOVED MY MAKER ON HIGH.
     DIVINE POWER MADE ME,
     WISDOM SUPREME, AND PRIMAL LOVE.
BEFORE ME NOTHING BUT THINGS ETERNAL,
     AND ETERNAL I ENDURE.
     ABANDON ALL HOPE, YOU WHO ENTER HERE.

[Per me si va ne la città dolente,
     per me si va ne l’etterno dolore,
     per me si va tra la perduta gente.
Giustizia mosse il mio alto fattore;
     fecemi la divina podestate,
     la somma sapïenza e ’l primo amore.
Dinanzi a me non fuor cose create
     se non etterne, e io etterno duro.
     Lasciate ogne speranza, voi ch’intrate.]

Dante Alighieri the poet
Dante Alighieri (1265-1321) Italian poet
The Divine Comedy [Divina Commedia], Book 1 “Inferno,” Canto 3, l. 1ff (3.1-9) (1320) [tr. Hollander/Hollander (2007)]
    (Source)

Inscription on the outer gate to Hell. Sometimes quoted/translated to use "all" to modify "you who enter" rather than "hope," but in the Italian, "ogni speranza" means "all hope."

Note that Hell is the creation of all aspects of the Trinity: Power (the Father), Wisdom (the Son), and Love (the Holy Spirit). Regarding the last, Boyd notes: "That Love to the general welfare that must induce a moral Governor to enforce his laws by the sanction of punishment; as here a mistaken humanity is cruelty."

(Source (Italian)). Alternate translations:

Through me you to the doleful City go;
     Through me you go where there is eternal Grief;
     Through me you go among the Sinners damn'ed.
With strictest justice is this portal made,
     By Power, Wisdom, and by Love divine.
Nothing before me e'er created was;
     Unless eternal, as I also am.
     Ye who here enter to return despair.
[tr. Rogers (1782)]

Thro' me, the newly-damn'd for ever fleet,
     In ceaseless shoals, to Pain's eternal seat;
     Thro' me they march, and join the tortur'd crew.
The mighty gulph offended Justice made;
     Unbounded pow'r the strong foundation laid,
     And Love, by Wisdom led, the limits drew.

Long ere the infant world arose to light,
     I found a being in the womb of night.
     Eldest of all -- but things that ever last! --
And I for ever last! -- Ye hearis of Hell,
     Here bid at once your ling'ring hope farewell,
     And mourn the moment of repentance past!
[tr. Boyd (1802), st. 1-2]

Through me you pass into the city of woe:
     Through me you pass into eternal pain:
     Through me among the people lost for aye.
Justice the founder of my fabric mov'd:
     To rear me was the task of power divine,
     Supremest wisdom, and primeval love.
Before me things create were none, save things
     Eternal, and eternal I endure.
     "All hope abandon ye who enter here."
[tr. Cary (1814)]

Through me the path to city named of Wail;
     Through me the path to woe without remove;
     Through me the path to damned souls in bale!
Justice inclined my Maker from above;
     I am by virtue of the Might Divine,
     The Sùpreme Wisdom, and the Primal Love.
Created birth none antedates to mine,
     Save endless things, and endless I endure:
     Ye that are entering -- all hope resign.
[tr. Dayman (1843)]

     Through me is the way into the doleful city; through me the way into the eternal pain; through me the way among the people lost.
     Justice moved my High Maker; Divine Power made me, Wisdom Supreme, and Primal Love.
     Before me were no things created, but eternal; and eternal I endure: leave all hope, ye that enter.
[tr. Carlyle (1849)]

Through me the way into the sad city --
     Through me the way into eternal grief --
     Through me to nations lost without relief.
Justice it was that moved my Maker high,
     The power divine of Architect above,
     The highest wisdom and the earliest love.
The things of time were not before me, and
     'Mid eternal eternally I stand.
     All you that enter must leave hope behind.
[tr. Bannerman (1850)]

I am the way unto the dolorous city;
     I am the way unto th' eternal dole;
     I am the way unto the spirits lost.
By Justice was my mighty Maker mov'd;
     Omnipotence Divine created me,
     Infinite Wisdom and Primeval Love.
Prior to me no thing created was
     But things eternal -- I eternal am;
     Leave hope behind all ye who enter here.
[tr. Johnston (1867)]

Through me the way is to the city dolent;
     Through me the way is to eternal dole;
     Through me the way among the people lost.
Justice incited my sublime Creator;
     ⁠Created me divine Omnipotence,
     ⁠The highest Wisdom and the primal Love.
Before me there were no created things,
     ⁠Only eterne, and I eternal last.
     All hope abandon, ye who enter in!
[tr. Longfellow (1867)]

THROUGH ME IS THE WAY INTO THE WOEFUL CITY; THROUGH ME IS THE WAY TO THE ENTERNAL WOE; THROUGH ME IS THE WAY AMONG THE LOST FOLK. JUSTICE MOVED MY HIGH MAKER; MY MAKER WAS THE POWER OF GOD, THE SUPREME WISDOM, AND PRIMAL LOVE. BEFORE ME WERE NO THINGS CREATED SAVE THINGS ETERNAL, AND ETERNAL I ABIDE; LEAVE EVERY HOPE, O YE THAT ENTER.
[tr. Butler (1885)]

Through me ye pass into the city of woe,
     Through me into eternal pain ye rove;
     Through me amidst the people lost ye go.
My high Creator justice first did move;
     Me Power Divine created, and designed,
     The highest wisdom and the primal love.
Previous to me was no created kind,
     Save the Eternal; I eternal last.
     Ye who here enter, leave all hope behind.
[tr. Minchin (1885)]

Through me is the way into the woeful city; through me is the way into eternal woe; through me is the way among the lost people. Justice moved my lofty maker: the divine Power, the supreme Wisdom and the primal Love made me. Before me were no things created, unless eternal, and I eternal last. Leave every hope, ye who enter!
[tr. Norton (1892)]

Through me lieth the way to the city of tribulation; through me lieth the way to the pain that hath no end; through me lieth the way amongst the lost. Justice it was that moved my august maker; God's puissance reared me, wisdom from on high, and first-born love. Before me created things were not, save those that are eternal; and I abide eternally. Leave every hope behind, ye that come within.
[tr. Sullivan (1893)]

Through me the road is to the city doleful:
     Through me the road is to eternal dolour:
     Through me the road is through the lost folk's dwelling:
Justice it was that moved my lofty Maker:
     Divine Omnipotence it was that made me,
     Wisdom supreme, and Love from everlasting:
Before me were not any things created.
     Save things eternal: I endure eternal:
     Leave every hope behind you, ye who enter.
[tr. Griffith (1908)]

THROUGH ME THE WAY INTO THE WOEFUL CITY,
     THROUGH ME THE WAY TO THE ETERNAL PAIN,
     THROUGH ME THE WAY AMONG THE LOST PEOPLE.
JUSTICE MOVED MY MAKER ON HIGH,
     DIVINE POWER MADE ME
     AND SUPREME WISDOM AND PRIMAL LOVE;
BEFORE ME NOTHING WAS CREATED
     BUT ETERNAL THINGS AND I ENDURE ETERNALLY.
     ABANDON EVERY HOPE, YE THAT ENTER.
[tr. Sinclair (1939)]
v
THROUGH ME THE WAY IS TO THE CITY OF WOE:
     THROUGH ME THE WAY INTO THE ETERNAL PAIN;
     THROUGH ME THE WAY AMONG THE LOST BELOW.
RIGHTEOUSNESS DID MY MAKER ON HIGH CONSTRAIN.
     ME DID DIVINE AUTHORITY UPREAR;
     ME SUPREME WISDOM AND PRIMAL LOVE SUSTAIN.
BEFORE I WAS, NO THINGS CREATED WERE
     SAVE THE ETERNAL, AND I ETERNAL ABIDE.
     RELINQUISH ALL HOPE, YE WHO ENTER HERE.
[tr. Binyon (1943)]

THROUGH ME THE ROAD TO THE CITY OF DESOLATION,
     THROUGH ME THE ROAD TO SORROWS DIUTURNAL,
     THROUGH ME THE ROAD AMONG THE LOST CREATION.
JUSTICE MOVED MY GREAT MAKER; GOD ETERNAL
     WROUGHT ME: THE POWER, AND THE UNSEARCHINBLY
     HIGH WISDOM, AND THE PRIMAL LOVE SUPERNAL.
NOTHING ERE I 2WAS MADE WAS MADE TO BE
     SAVE THINGS ENTERNE, AND I ETERNE ABIDE;
     LAY DOWN ALL HOPE, YOU THAT GO IN BY ME.
[tr. Sayers (1949)]

I AM THE WAY INTO THE CITY OF WOE.
     I AM THE WAY TO A FORSAKEN PEOPLE.
     I AM THE WAY INTO ETERNAL SORROW.
SACRED JUSTICE MOVED MY ARCHITECT.
     I WAS RAISED HERE BY DIVINE OMNIPOTENCE,
     PRIMORDIAL LOVE, AND ULTIMATE INTELLECT.
ONLY THOSE ELEMENTS TIME CANNOT WEAR
     WERE MADE BEFORE ME, AND BEHOND TIME I STAND.
     ABANDON ALL HOPE YE WHO ENTER HERE.
[tr. Ciardi (1954)]

THROUGH ME YOU ENTER THE WOEFUL CITY,
     THROUGH ME YOU ENTER ETERNAL GRIEF,
     THROUGH ME YOU ENTER AMONG THE LOST.
JUSTICE MOVED MY HIGH MAKER:
     THE DIVINE POWER MADE ME,
     THE SUPREME WISDOM, AND THE PRIMAL LOVE.
BEFORE ME NOTHING WAS CREATED
     IF NOT ETERNAL, AND ETERNAL I ENDURE.
     ABANDON EVERY HOPE, YOU WHO ENTER.
[tr. Singleton (1970)]

THROUGH ME THE WAY INTO THE DOLEFUL CITY,
     THROUGH ME THE WAY INTO ETERNAL GRIEF,
     THROUGH ME THE WAY AMONG A RACE FORSAKEN.
JUSTICE MOVED MY HEAVENLY CONSTRUCTOR;
     DIVINE OMNIPOTENCE CREATED ME,
     AND HIGHEST WISDOM JOINED WITH PRIMAL LOVE.
BEFORE ME NOTHING BUT ETERNAL THINGS
     WERE MADE, AND I SHALL LAST ETERNALLY.
     ABANDON HOPE, FOREVER, YOU WHO ENTER.
[tr. Musa (1971)]

THROUGH ME THE WAY INTO THE SUFFERING CITY,
     THROUGH ME THE WAY TO THE ETERNAL PAIN,
     THROUGH ME THE WAY THAT RUNS AMONG THE LOST.
JUSTICE URGED ON MY HIGH ARTIFICER;
     MY MAKER WAS DIVINE AUTHORITY,
     THE HIGHEST WISDOM, AND THE PRIMAL LOVE.
BEFORE ME NOTHING BUT ETERNAL THINGS
     WERE MADE, AND I ENDURE ETERNALLY.
     ABANDON EVERY HOPE WHO ENTER HERE.
[tr. Mandelbaum (1980)]

Through me you go into the city of weeping;
     Through me you go into eternal pain;
     Through me you go among the lost people.
Justice is what moved my exalted Maker;
     I was the invention of the power of God,
     Of his wisdom, and of his primal love.
Before me there was nothing that was created
     Except eternal things; I am eternal:
     No room for hope, when you enter this place.
[tr. Sisson (1981)]

THROUGH ME YOU ENTER INTO THE CITY OF WOES,
     THROUGH ME YOU ENTER INTO ETERNAL PAIN,
     THROUGH ME YOU ENTER THE POPULATION OF LOSS.
JUSTICE MOVED MY HIGH MAKER, IN POWER DIVINE,
     WISDOM SUPREME, LOVE PRIMAL. NO THINGS WERE
     BEFORE ME NOT ENTERNAL; ETERNAL I REMAIN.
ABANDON ALL HOPE, YOU WHO ENTER HERE.
[tr. Pinsky (1994)]

THROUGH ME THE WAY INTO THE GRIEVING CITY,
     2THROUGH ME THE WAY INTO ETERNAL SORROW,
     THROUGH ME THE WAY AMONG THE LOST PEOPLE.
JUSTICE MOVED MY HIGH MAKER;
     DIVINE POWER MADE ME,
     HIGHEST WISDOM, AND PRIMAL LOVE.
BEFORE ME WERE NO THINGS CREATED
     EXCEPT ETERNAL ONES, AND I ENDURE ETERNAL.
     ABANDON EVERY HOPE, YOU WHO ENTER.
[tr. Durling (1996)]

THROUGH ME THE WAY TO THE INFERNAL CITY:
     THROUGH ME THE WAY TO ETERNAL SADNESS:
     THROUGH ME THE WAY TO THE LOST PEOPLE.
JUSTICE MOVED MY SUPREME MAKER:
     I WAS SHAPED BY DIVINE POWER,
     BY HIGHEST WISDOM, AND BY PRIMAL LOVE.
BEFORE ME, NOTHING WAS CREATED,
     THAT IS NOT ETERNAL: AND ETERNAL I ENDURE.
     FORSAKE ALL HOPE, ALL YOU THAT ENTER HERE.
[tr. Kline (2002)]

Through me you go to the grief-wracked city.
     Through me to everlasting pain you go.
     Through me you go and pass among lost souls.
Justice inspired my exalted Creator.
     I am a creature of the Holiest Power,
     of Wisdom in the HIghest and of Primal Love.
Nothing till I was made was made, only
     eternal beings. And I endure eternally.
     Surrender as you enter every hope you have.
[tr. Kirkpatrick (2006)]

It is through me you come to the city of sorrow,
     It is through me you reach eternal sadness,
     It is through me you join the forever-lost.
Justice moved my makers' wondrous hands;
     I was made by Heaven's powers, holy, divine,
     Endless wisdom, primal love of man.
Eternal existence preceded mine,
     And nothing more. I will exist for ever.
     Give up all hope, until the end of time.
[tr. Raffel (2010)]

TO ENTER THE LOST CITY, GO THROUGH ME.
THROUGH ME YOU GO TO MEET A SUFFERING
UNCEASING AND ETERNAL. YOU WILL BE
WITH PEOPLE WHO, THROUGH ME, LOST EVERYTHING.

MY MAKER, MOVED BY JUSTICE, LIVES ABOVE.
THROUGH HIM, THE HOLY POWER, I WAS MADE --
MADE BY THE HEIGHT OF WISDOM AND FIRST LOVE,
WHOSE LAWS ALL THOSE IN HERE ONCE DISOBEYED.

FROM NOW ON, EVERY DAY FEELS LIKE YOUR LAST
FOREVER. LET THAT BE YOUR GREATEST FEAR.
YOUR FUTURE NOW IS TO REGRET THE PAST.
FORGET YOUR HOPES. THEY WERE WHAT BROUGHT YOU HERE.
[tr. James (2013)]

 
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Nay, we have heard it said that there is not a quaker or a baptist, a presbyterian or an episcopalian, a catholic or a protestant in heaven: that, on entering that gate, we leave those badges of schism behind, and find ourselves united in those principles only in which god has united us all. Let us not be uneasy then about the different roads we may pursue, as believing them the shortest, to that our last abode: but, following the guidance of a good conscience, let us be happy in the hope that, by these different paths, we shall all meet in the end. and that you and I may there meet and embrace is my earnest prayer: and with this assurance I salute you with brotherly esteem and respect.

Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826) American political philosopher, polymath, statesman, US President (1801-09)
Letter to Miles King (26 Sep 1814)
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A Dialogue between two Infants in the womb concerning the state of this world, might handsomely illustrate our ignorance of the next, whereof methinks we yet discourse in Platoes denne, and are but Embryon Philosophers.

Thomas Browne (1605-1682) English physician and author
Hydriotaphia, or Urne-Buriall, ch. 4 (1658)
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All religions are ultimately cargo cults. Adherents perform required rituals, follow specific rules, and expect to be supernaturally gifted with desired rewards — long life, honor, wisdom, children, good health, wealth, victory over opponents, immortality after death, any desired rewards.

Octavia Butler (1947-2006) American writer
Parable of the Talents, ch. 19, epigram (1998)
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Once, when a religionist denounced me in unmeasured terms, I sent him a card saying, “I am sure you believe that I will go to hell when I die, and that once there I will suffer all the pains and tortures the sadistic ingenuity of your deity can devise and that this torture will continue forever. Isn’t that enough for you? Do you have to call me bad names in addition?”

Isaac Asimov (1920-1992) Russian-American author, polymath, biochemist
I, Asimov, ch. 73 “Letters” (1979)
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Justice? — You get justice in the next world, in this world you have the law.

William Gaddis
William Gaddis (1922-1998) American novelist
A Frolic of His Own, Opening line (1994)
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My parents in the underworld! I send
This servant girl — take care and gently tend.
Conduct her past the terrifying shade.
Keep her of circling horrors unafraid,
For she, alas, was only six days shy
Of six years when too soon she came to die.
Protect her as she plays her childhood games,
And lisps, as shyly she was wont, our names.
Earth, sadly mounded on this gravesite new,
Press lightly on her, as she did on you.

[Hanc tibi, Fronto pater, genetrix Flaccilla, puellam
Oscula commendo deliciasque meas,
Parvula ne nigras horrescat Erotion umbras
Oraque Tartarei prodigiosa canis.
Impletura fuit sextae modo frigora brumae,
Vixisset totidem ni minus illa dies.
Inter tam veteres ludat lasciva patronos
Et nomen blaeso garriat ore meum.
Mollia non rigidus caespes tegat ossa nec illi,
Terra, gravis fueris: non fuit illa tibi.]

Martial (AD c.39-c.103) Spanish Roman poet, satirist, epigrammatist [Marcus Valerius Martialis]
Epigrams [Epigrammata], Book 5, epigram 34 (5.34) [tr. Wills (2007)]
    (Source)

Erotion was a slave child in Martial's household, per other epigrams. The identity of Fronto and Flaccilla -- whether they are the names of Martial's parents or Erotion's -- is ambiguous in the Original Latin, and a subject of debate. Alternate translations:

Ye parents Fronto and Flaccilla here,
To you I do commend my girl, my dear,
Lest pale Erotion tremble at the shades,
And the foul dog of hell's prodigious heads.
Her age fulfilling just six winters was,
Had she but known so many days to pass.
'Mongst you, old patrons, may she sport and play,
And with her lisping tongue my name oft say.
May the smooth turf her soft bones hide, and be,
O earth, as light to her as she to thee!
[tr. Fletcher (1656)]

Fronto, to thee, to thee, Flaccilla mild,
My darling I commend, your lively child.
Oh! may no sable shades make her more pale,
Nor the Tartarean dog the Love assail.
Six times the rig'rous solstice had the run,
Has she survey'd six times another sun.
Mid her old patrons, may the prattler play;
And lsip my name, as in the realms of day.
To her soft bones no turf oppressive be:
O earth lie light on her, who lay so light on thee.
[tr. Elphinston (1782), Book 9, ep. 18]

O my father, Fronto! and my mother, Flacilla! I commend to you, in the realm below, this damsel, my delight and the object of my kisses, lest Erotion be terrified at the dark shades, and at the enormous mouth of the dog of Tartarus. She would have completed her sixth winter if she had lived six days longer. May she continue her sportive ways under your reverend patronage, and may she garrulously stammer forth my name! May the turf lie lightly on her delicate bones; you ought not, O earth, to be heavy to her; she was not so to thee!
[tr. Amos (1858) ep. 35]

To you, O Fronto my father, and to you, O Flaccilla my mother, I commend this child, the little Erotion, my joy and my delight, that she may not be terrified at the dark shades and at the monstrous mouth of the dog of Tartarus. She would just have passed the cold of a sixth winter, had she lived but six days longer. Between protectors so venerable may she sport and play, and with lisping speech babble my name. Let no rude turf cover her tender bones, and press not heavy on her, O earth; she pressed but lightly on thee.
[tr. Bohn's Classical (1859)]

To you -- dun spectres to forefend
And yon Tartarean monster dread --
This little maiden I commend,
Dead parents of my darling dead!

Had only my Erotion's span
While just so many days were told,
Been lengthened out to dwell with man,
She had been then six winters old.

Still sportive may she spend her days,
And lisp my name with prattling tongue;
Nor chide her little wanton ways,
Mid friends so old, and she so young.

Soft be the turf that shrouds her bed,
For delicate and soft was she.
And, Earth, lie lightly o'er her head,
For light the steps she laid on thee.
[tr. Webb (1879)]

Mother and sire, to you do I commend
Tiny Erotion, who must now descend,
A child, among the shadows, and appear
Before hell's bandog and hell's gondolier.
Of six hoar winters she had felt the cold,
But lacked six days of being six years old.
Now she must come, all playful, to that place
Where the great ancients sit with reverend face;
Now lisping, as she used, of whence she came,
Perchance she names and stumbles at my name.
O'er these so fragile bones, let there be laid
A plaything for a turf; and for that maid
That ran so lightly footed in her mirth
Upon thy breast -- lie lightly, mother earth!
[tr. Stevenson (1884)]

To thee, father Fronto, to thee, mother Flacilla, commend this maid, my sweetheart and my darling, that tiny Erotion may not shudder at the dark shades and the Tartarean hound's stupendous jaws. She would have completed only her sixth cold winter had she not lived as many days too few. Beside protectors so aged let her lightly play, and prattle my name with lisping tongue. And let not hard clods cover her tender bones, nor be though heavy upon her, O earth: she was not so to thee!
[tr. Ker (1919)]

Thou Mother dear and thou my Father's shade,
To you I now commit the gentle maid,
Erotion, my little love, my sweet;
Let not her shuddering spirit fear to meet
The ghosts, but soothe her lest she be afraid.
How should a baby heart be undismayed
To pass the lair where Cerberus is laid?
The little six-year maiden gently greet.
Dear reverend spirits, give her kindly aid
And let her play in some Elysian glade,
Lisping my name sometimes -- and, I entreat
Lie on her softly, kind earth; her feet,
Such tiny feet, on thee were lightly laid.
[tr. Pott & Wright (1921)]

Mother Flaccilla, Fronto sire that's gone,
This darling pet of mine, Erotion,
I pray ye greet, that nor the Land of Shade
Nor Hell-hound's maw shall fright my little maid.
Full six chill winters would the child have seen
Had her life only six days longer been.
Sweet child, with our lost friends to guard thee, play,
And lisp my name in thine own prattling way.
Soft be the turf that shrouds her! Tenderly
Rest on her, earth, for she trod light on thee.
[tr. Duff (1929)]

Fronto, Father, Flacilla, Mother, extend your protection from the Stygian shadows. The small Erotion (my household Iris) has changed my h ouse for yours. See that the hellhound's horrid jaws don't scare her, who was no more than six years old (less six days) on the Winter day she died. She'll play beside you gossiping about me in child's language. Weigh lightly on her small bones, gentle earth, as she, when living, lightly trod on you.
[tr. Whigham (1987)]

To your shades Fronto, and Flacilla, this child
I commend: she was my sweet and my delight.
Little Erotion shall not fear the darkened shades
nor the vast mouths of the Tartarean hound.
She’d have completed her sixth chill winter,
if she’d not lived a mere six days too few.
Now let her frisk and play among old friends
now let her chatter, and so lisp my name.
And let the soft turf cover her brittle bones:
earth, lie lightly on her: she lay lightly on you.
[tr. Kline (2006)]

This girl, father Fronto and mother Flaccilla, I commit to your care, so that little Erotion, my pet and darling, may not tremble at the dark shades and at the monstrous mouths of the hound of Tartarus. She would have just seen out the frosts of her sixth midwinter, had her life not fallen that many days short. I hope she plays and skips now in her former patrons' keeping; I hope her hare-lip mumbles my name. Please let the turf that covers her bones not be hard, and, earth, be not heavy upon her, she was no weight on you.
[tr. Nisbet (2015)]

I commend you this slave girl, father Fronto, mother Flacilla, as she was my delight and the object of my kisses. May little Erotion not fear the dark shades nor the vast mouths of the Tartarean dog. She would have completed her sixth cold winter if she'd not lived as many days too few. Now, let her play amid old friends, let her chatter and lisp my name. May the soft turf cover her brittle bones: earth, lie lightly on her, as she was not heavy on you.
[Source]

To you, my departed parents, dear mother and father,
I commend my little lost angel, Erotion, love’s daughter.
She fell a mere six days short of outliving her sixth frigid winter.
Protect her now, I pray, should the chilling dark shades appear;
muzzle hell’s three-headed hound, lest her heart be dismayed!
Lead her to romp in some sunny Elysian glade,
her devoted patrons. Watch her play childish games
as she excitedly babbles and lisps my name.
Let no hard turf smother her softening bones; and do
rest lightly upon her, earth, she was surely no burden to you!
[tr. Burch]

 
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And I’ve always said, you know, that I don’t respect people that don’t proselytize. I don’t respect that at all. If you believe that there’s a heaven and hell, and people could be going to hell — or not getting eternal life, or whatever — and you think that, “Well, it’s not really worth tellin’ ’em this, because it would make it socially awkward.” And atheists who think that people shouldn’t proselytize, “Just leave me alone. Keep your religion to yourself.” How much do you have to hate somebody to not proselytize? How much do you have to hate somebody to believe that everlasting life is possible and not tell them that?

I mean, if I believe, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that a truck was coming at you and you didn’t believe it, that a truck was bearing down on you, there’s a certain point where I tackle you — and this is more important than that.

Penn Jillette (b. 1955) American stage magician, actor, musician, author
“A Gift of a Bible,” Penn Says, ep. 192 (9 Dec 2008)
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In all your actions, words, and thoughts, be aware that it is possible that you may depart from life at any time. But leaving the human race is nothing to be afraid of, if the gods exist; they would not involve you in anything bad. And if they do not exist or have no concern for human affairs, why should I live in a universe empty of gods and empty of providence? But the gods do exist and have concern for human affairs and have placed it wholly in the power of human beings never to meet what is truly bad.

[Ὡς ἤδη δυνατοῦ ὄντος ἐξιέναι τοῦ βίου, οὕτως ἕκαστα ποιεῖν καὶ λέγειν καὶ διανοεῖσθαι. τὸ δὲ ἐξ ἀνθρώπων ἀπελθεῖν, εἰ μὲν θεοὶ εἰσίν, οὐδὲν δεινόν: κακῷ γάρ σε οὐκ ἂν περιβάλοιεν: εἰ δὲ ἤτοι οὐκ εἰσὶν ἢ οὐ μέλει αὐτοῖς τῶν ἀνθρωπείων, τί μοι ζῆν ἐν κόσμῳ κενῷ θεῶν ἢ προνοίας κενῷ; ἀλλὰ καὶ εἰσὶ καὶ μέλει αὐτοῖς τῶν ἀνθρωπείων καὶ τοῖς μὲν κατ̓ ἀλήθειαν κακοῖς ἵνα μὴ περιπίπτῃ ὁ ἄνθρωπος, ἐπ̓ αὐτῷ τὸ πᾶν ἔθεντο.]

Marcus Aurelius (AD 121-180) Roman emperor (161-180), Stoic philosopher
Meditations, Book 2, #11 [tr. Gill (2014)]
    (Source)

Original Greek. Alternate translations:

Whatsoever thou dost affect, whatsoever thou dost project, so do, and so project all, as one who, for aught thou knowest, may at this very present depart out of this life. And as for death, if there be any gods, it is no grievous thing to leave the society of men. The gods will do thee no hurt, thou mayest be sure. But if it be so that there be no gods, or that they take no care of the world, why should I desire to live in a world void of gods, and of all divine providence? But gods there be certainly, and they take care for the world; and as for those things which be truly evil, as vice and. wickedness, such things they have put in a man's own power, that he might avoid them if he would.
[tr. Casaubon (1634), #8]

Manage all your Actions and Thoughts in such a Manner as if you were just going to step into the Grave. And what great matter is the Business of Dying; if the Gods are in Being you can suffer nothing, for they'll do you no Harm, and if they are not, or take no Care of us Mortals, why then I must tell you, that a World without either Gods, or Providence is not worth a Man's while to live in. But there's no need of this Supposition; The Being of the Gods, and their Concern in Human Affairs is beyond Dispute. And as an Instance of this, They have put it in his Power not to fall into any Calamity properly so called.
[tr. Collier (1701)]

Since it is possible that thou mayest depart from life this very moment, regulate every act and thought accordingly. But to go away from among men, if there are gods, is not a thing to be afraid of, for the gods will not involve thee in evil; but if indeed they do not exist, or if they have no concern about human affairs, what is it to me to live in a universe devoid of gods or devoid of providence? But in truth they do exist, and they do care for human things, and they have put all the means in man's power to enable him not to fall into real evils.
[tr. Long (1873 ed.)]

Manage all your actions, words, and thoughts accordingly , since you may at any moment quit life. And what great matter is the business of dying? If the gods are in being, you can suffer nothing, for they will do you no har. And if they are not, or take no care of us mortals -- why, then a world without either gods or Providence is not worth a man's while ot live in. But, in truth, the being of the gods, and their concern in human affairs, is beyond dispute. And they have put it entirely in a man's power not to fall into any calamity properly so-called.
[tr. Zimmern (1887)]

Whatever you do or say or think, it is in your power, remember, to take leave of life. In departing from this world, if indeed there are gods, there is nothing to be afraid of; for gods will not let you fall into evil. But if there are no gods, or if they do not concern themsleves with men, why live on in a world devoid of gods, or devoid of providence? But there do exist gods, who do concern themselves with men. And they have put it wholly in the power of man not to fall into any true evil.
[tr. Rendall (1898 ed.)]

Let thine every deed and word and thought be those of a man who can depart from life this moment.[16] But to go away from among men, if there are Gods, is nothing dreadful ; for they would not involve thee in evil. But if indeed there are no Gods, or if they do not concern themselves with the affairs of men, what boots it for me to live in a Universe where there are no Gods, where Providence is not? Nay, but there are Gods, and they do concern themselves with human things;[17] and they have put it wholly in man's power not to fall into evils that are truly such.
[tr. Haines (1916)]

In the conviction that it is possible you may depart from life at once, act and speak and think in every case accordingly. But to leave the company of men is nothing to fear, if gods exist; for they would not involve you in ill. If, however, they do not exist or if they take no care for man's affairs, why should I go on living in a world void of gods, or void of providence? But they do exist, and they do care for men's lives, and they have put it entirely in a man's power not to fall into real ills.
[tr. Farquharson (1944)]

In all you do or say or think, recollect that at any time the power of withdrawal from life is in your hands. If gods exist, you have nothing to fear in taking leave of mankind, for they will not let you come to harm. But if there are no gods, or if they have no concern with mortal affairs, what is life to me, in a world devoid of gods or devoid of Providence? Gods, however, do exist, and do concern themselves with the world of men. They have given us full power not to fall into any of the absolute evils.
[tr. Staniforth (1964)]

You could leave life right now. Let that determine what you do and say and think. If the gods exist, then to abandon human beings is not frightening; the gods would never subject you to harm. And if they don't exist, or don't care what happens to us, what would be the point of living in a world without gods or Providence? But they do exist, they do care what happens to us, and everything a person needs to avoid real harm they have placed within him.
[tr. Hays (2003)]

Do, say, and think each thing as if it is possible to die right now. To leave the discussion of human affairs, if there are gods, it is nothing terrible -- for they would not ensnare you in evil. If, moreover, there are no gods -- or if the realms of men are not their concern -- why would I live in a universe emptied of gods or their foresight? No, there are gods and they are concerned with the affairs of men. And they have completely arranged it that the human race many not fall into evils that are truly evil.
[tr. @sentantiq (2017)]

 
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To those who wish to punish others — or at least to see them punished, if the avengers are too cowardly to take matters into their own hands — the belief in a fiery, hideous hell appears to be a great source of comfort.

Steve Allen (1922-2000) American composer, entertainer, and wit.
Steve Allen on the Bible, Religion, and Morality, “Hell” (1990)
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I trouble not myself about the manner of future existence. I content myself with believing, even to positive conviction, that the power that gave me existence is able to continue it, in any form and manner he pleases, either with or without this body; and it appears more probable to me that I shall continue to exist hereafter than that I should have had existence, as I now have, before that existence began.

Thomas Paine (1737-1809) American political philosopher and writer
The Age of Reason, Part 1, Recapitulation (1794)
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Do the best you can where you are; and, when that is accomplished, God will open a door for you, and a voice will call, “Come up hither into a higher sphere.”

Henry Ward Beecher (1813-1887) American clergyman and orator
Life Thoughts [ed. E. Proctor] (1858)
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Anyway, if you stop tellin’ people it’s all sorted out after they’re dead, they might try sorting it all out while they’re alive.

Terry Pratchett (1948-2015) English author
Good Omens, “Saturday” [Adam] (1990) [with Neil Gaiman]
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Trust me, the being-dead part is much easier than the dying part. If you can watch much television, then being dead will be a cinch. Actually, watching television and surfing the Internet are really excellent practice for being dead.

Chuck Palahniuk (b. 1962) American novelist and freelance journalist
Damned, ch. 1 (2011)
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I do not see in religion the mystery of the incarnation, but the mystery of the social order; religion attaches to heaven an idea of equality that stops the rich from being massacred by the poor.

[Quant à moi, je ne vois pas dans la religion le mystère de l’incarnation, mais le mystère de l’ordre social; elle rattache au ciel une idée d’égalité qui empêche que le riche ne soit massacré par le pauvre.]

Napoleon Bonaparte (1769-1821) French emperor, military leader
Statement (4 Mar 1806)
    (Source)

Quoted in Opinions de Napoléon sur divers sujets de politique et d'administration, recueillies par un membre de son conseil d'état (1833).
 
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Satchelmouth was by no means averse to the finger-foxtrot and the skull fandango, but he’d never murdered anyone, at least on purpose. Satchelmouth had been made aware that he had a soul and, though it had a few holes in it and was a little ragged around the edges, he cherished the hope that some day the god Reg would find him a place in a celestial combo. You didn’t get the best gigs if you were a murderer. You probably had to play the viola.

Terry Pratchett (1948-2015) English author
Soul Music (1994)
 
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As to a hereafter, we have not the slightest evidence that there is any — no evidence that appeals to logic and reason. I have never seen what to me seemed an atom of proof that there is a future life. And yet — I am strongly inclined to expect one.

Mark Twain (1835-1910) American writer [pseud. of Samuel Clemens]
Quoted in Albert Bigelow Paine, Mark Twain: A Biography, Vol. 4, ch. 264 (1922)
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How surely are the dead beyond death. Death is what the living carry with them. A state of dread, like some uncanny foretaste of a bitter memory. But the dead do not remember and nothingness is not a curse. Far from it.

Cormac McCarthy (b. 1933) American novelist, playwright, screenwriter
Suttree (1979)
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“Far better that they are dead and with God, who will know how to deal with them. That is, after all,” Miss Mead said gravely, “what God is for.”

Kerry Greenwood (b. 1954) Australian author and lawyer
Urn Burial (1996)
 
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The principle is surely not new in the world: everyone ought to know by this time that a mountebank, thinking only of tomorrow’s cakes, is far safer with power in his hands than a prophet and martyr, his eyes fixed frantically upon the rewards beyond the grave.

H.L. Mencken (1880-1956) American writer and journalist [Henry Lewis Mencken]
“What I Believe,” sec. 2, Forum and Century (Sep 1930)
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DEATH: You see. No shock. No engulfment. No tearing asunder. What you feared would come like an explosion is like a whisper. What you thought was the end is the beginning.

George Clayton Johnson (1929-2015) American writer
Twilight Zone, 3×16 “Nothing in the Dark” (5 Jan 1962)
 
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And, when you, looking on your fellow men
Behold them doomed to endless misery,
How can you talk of joy and rapture then?
May God withhold such cruel joy from me!

Anne Brontë (1820-1849) British novelist, poet [pseud. Acton Bell]
“A Word to Calvinists” (28 May 1843)
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I have little confidence in any enterprise or business or investment that promises dividends only after the death of the stockholders.

Robert Green Ingersoll (1833-1899) American lawyer, agnostic, orator
Letter to the Chicago Times (27 Mar 1890)
 
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“Do unto others …” is a good rule of thumb. I live by that. Forgiveness is probably the greatest virtue there is. But that’s exactly what it is -­‐ a virtue. Not just a Christian virtue. No one owns being good. I’m good. I just don’t believe I’ll be rewarded for it in heaven. My reward is here and now. It’s knowing that I try to do the right thing. That I lived a good life. And that’s where spirituality really lost its way. When it became a stick to beat people with. “Do this or you’ll burn in hell.”

You won’t burn in hell. But be nice anyway.

Ricky Gervais (b. 1961) English comedian, actor, director, writer
“Why I’m an Atheist,” Wall Street Journal (19 Dec 2010)
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Indeed, if we consider the unblushing promises of reward and the staggering nature of the rewards promised in the Gospels, it would seem that Our Lord finds our desires not too strong, but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased.

C.S. Lewis (1898-1963) English writer and scholar [Clive Staples Lewis]
“The Weight of Glory,” sermon, Oxford University Church of St Mary the Virgin (8 Jun 1941)
 
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The wish falls often warm upon my heart that I may learn nothing here that I cannot continue in the other world; that I may do nothing here but deeds that will bear fruit in heaven.

Jean Paul Richter (1763-1825) German novelist, art historian, aesthetician [Johann Paul Friedrich Richter; pseud. Jean Paul]
Letter to Rector Werner (1781)
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“You are fettered,” said Scrooge, trembling. “Tell me why?”

“I wear the chain I forged in life,” replied the Ghost. “I made it link by link, and yard by yard; I girded it on of my own free will, and of my own free will I wore it.”

Dickens - forged in life - wist_info quote

Charles Dickens (1812-1870) English writer and social critic
A Christmas Carol (1843)

Sometimes oddly paraphrased, "We forge the chains we wear in life."
 
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He shrugged his shoulders. “I have known many gods. He who denies them is as blind as he who trusts them too deeply. I seek not beyond death. It may be the blackness averred by the Nemedian skeptics, or Crom’s realm of ice and cloud, or the snowy plains and vaulted halls of the Nordheimer’s Valhalla. I know not, nor do I care. Let me live deep while I live; let me know the rich juices of red meat and stinging wine on my palate, the hot embrace of white arms, the mad exultation of battle when the blue blades flame and crimson, and I am content. Let teachers and priests and philosophers brood over questions of reality and illusion. I know this: if life is illusion, then I am no less an illusion, and being thus, the illusion is real to me. I live, I burn with life, I love, I slay, and am content.”

Robert E. Howard (1906-1936) American author
“Queen of the Black Coast” (1934)
 
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The doors of Hell are locked on the inside. I do not mean that the ghosts may not wish to come out of Hell, in the vague fashion wherein an envious man “wishes” to be happy: but they certainly do not will even the first preliminary stages of that self-abandonment through which alone the soul can reach any good. They enjoy forever the horrible freedom they have demanded, and are therefore self-enslaved: just as the blessed, forever submitting to obedience, become through all eternity more and more free.

C.S. Lewis (1898-1963) English writer and scholar [Clive Staples Lewis]
The Problem of Pain (1940)
 
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There are no ordinary people. You have never talked to a mere mortal. Nations, cultures, arts, civilisations — these are mortal, and their life is to ours as the life of a gnat. But it is immortals whom we joke with, work with, marry, snub, and exploit — immortal horrors or everlasting splendours. This does not mean that we are to be perpetually solemn: We must play. But our merriment must be of that kind (and it is, in fact, the merriest kind) which exists between people who have, from the outset, taken each other seriously — no flippancy, no superiority, no presumption. And our charity must be a real and costly love, with deep feeling for the sins in spite of which we love the sinner — no mere tolerance, or indulgence which parodies love as flippancy parodies merriment. Next to the Blessed Sacrament itself, your neighbour is the holiest object presented to your senses. If he is your Christian neighbour, he is holy in almost the same way, for in him also Christ vere latitat — the glorifier and the glorified, Glory Himself, is truly hidden.

Lewis - ordinary people - wist_info quote

C.S. Lewis (1898-1963) English writer and scholar [Clive Staples Lewis]
“The Weight of Glory,” sermon, Oxford University Church of St Mary the Virgin (8 Jun 1941)
 
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   “Even if some details of dogma aren’t true — or even all of ’em — think what a consolation religion and the church are to weak humanity!”
   “Are they? I wonder! Don’t cheerful agnostics, who know they are going to die dead, worry much less than good Baptists, who worry lest their sons and cousins and sweethearts fail to get into the Baptist heaven — or what is even worse, who wonder if they may not have guessed wrong — if God may not be a Catholic, maybe, or a Mormon or Seventh-day Adventist instead of a Baptist, and then they’ll go to hell themselves. Consolation? No!”

Sinclair Lewis (1885-1951) American novelist, playwright
Elmer Gantry (1927)
 
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And for us this is the end of all the stories, and we can most truly say that they all lived happily ever after. But for them it was only the beginning of the real story. All their life in this world and all their adventures in Narnia had only been the cover and the title page: now at last they were beginning Chapter One of the Great Story which no one on earth has read: which goes on forever: in which every chapter is better than the one before.

C.S. Lewis (1898-1963) English writer and scholar [Clive Staples Lewis]
The Last Battle, final words (1956)
 
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Heaven will solve our problems, but not, I think, by showing us subtle reconciliations between all our apparently contradictory notions. The notions will all be knocked from under our feet. We shall see that there never was any problem.

C.S. Lewis (1898-1963) English writer and scholar [Clive Staples Lewis]
A Grief Observed (1961)
 
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Talk to me about the truth of religion and I’ll listen gladly. Talk to me about the duty of religion and I’ll listen submissively. But don’t come talking to me about the consolations of religion or I shall suspect that you don’t understand.

Unless, of course, you can literally believe all that stuff about family reunions “on the further shore,” pictured in entirely earthly terms. But that is all unscriptural, all out of bad hymns and lithographs. There’s not a word of it in the Bible. And it rings false. We know it couldn’t be like that. Reality never repeats. The exact same thing is never taken away and given back. How well the Spiritualists bait their hook! “Things on this side are not so different after all.” There are cigars in Heaven. For that is what we should all like. The happy past restored.

And that, just that, is what I cry out for, with mad, midnight endearments and entreaties spoken into the empty air.

C.S. Lewis (1898-1963) English writer and scholar [Clive Staples Lewis]
A Grief Observed (1961)
 
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Consider and act with reference to the true ends of existence. This world is but the vestibule of an immortal life. Every action of our lives touches on some chord that will vibrate in eternity.

Edwin Hubbell Chapin (1814-1880) American clergyman
(Attributed)
    (Source)

Quoted in Charles Northend, Memory Gems (1890).

Variant: "Every action of your life touches on some chord that will vibrate in eternity." ["Advice to the Young," quoted in Charles W. Sanders, Sanders' Union Fourth Reader (1873)]
 
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It was the Unicorn who summed up what everyone was feeling. He stamped his right fore-hoof on the ground and neighed, and then cried: “I have come home at last! This is my real country! I belong here. This is the land I have been looking for all my life, though I never knew it till now. The reason why we loved the old Narnia is that it sometimes looked a little like this. Bree-hee-hee! Come further up, come further in!”

C.S. Lewis (1898-1963) English writer and scholar [Clive Staples Lewis]
The Last Battle, ch. 15 (1956)
 
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How small man is on this little atom where he dies! But how great his intelligence! He knows when the face of the stars must be masked in darkness, when the comets will return after thousands of years, he who lasts only an instant! A microscopic insect lost in a fold of the heavenly robe, the orbs cannot hide from him a single one of their movements in the depth of space. What destinies will those stars, new to us, light? Is their revelation bound up with some new phase of humanity? You will know, race to be born; I know not, and I am departing.

François-René de Chateaubriand (1768-1848) French writer, politican, diplomat
Memoirs from Beyond the Grave [Mémoires d’Outre-Tombe], Book 42, ch. 18 (1848-1850) [tr. Kline]
 
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I was told that the Chinese said they would bury me by the Western Lake and build a shrine to my memory. I have some slight regret that this did not happen as I might have become a god, which would have been very chic for an atheist.

Bertrand Russell (1872-1970) English mathematician and philosopher
Autobiography (1968)
 
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There is probably no hell for authors in the next world — they suffer so much from critics and publishers in this.

Christian Nestell Bovee (1820-1904) American epigrammatist, writer, publisher
Intuitions and Summaries of Thought, Vol. 1, “Authors” (1862)
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Here is my Creed: I believe in one God, Creator of the Universe. That He governs it by his Providence. That he ought to be worshipped. That the most acceptable Service we can render to him, is doing Good to his other Children. That the Soul of Man is immortal, and will be treated with Justice in another Life respecting its Conduct in this. These I take to be the fundamental Principles of all sound Religion, and I regard them as you do, in whatever Sect I meet with them.

Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790) American statesman, scientist, philosopher
Letter to Ezra Stiles (9 Mar 1790)
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I believe, with the Quaker preacher, that he who steadily observes those moral precepts in which all religions concur, will never be questioned, at the gates of heaven, as to the dogmas in which they all differ. That on entering there, all these are left behind us, and the Aristideses & Cato’s, the Penns & Tillotsons, Presbyterians and Papists, will find themselves united in all principles which are in concert with the reason of the supreme mind.

Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826) American political philosopher, polymath, statesman, US President (1801-09)
Letter to William Canby (18 Sep 1813)
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To-morrow to fresh Woods, and Pastures new.

John Milton (1608-1674) English poet
“Lycidas,” l. 193 (1638)
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Sometimes I believe in God, sometimes I don’t. I think it’s 50-50 maybe. But ever since I’ve had cancer, I’ve been thinking about it more. And I find myself believing a bit more. I kind of — maybe it’s ’cause I want to believe in an afterlife. That when you die, it doesn’t just all disappear. The wisdom you’ve accumulated. Somehow it lives on, but sometimes I think it’s just like an on-off switch. Click and you’re gone. And that’s why I don’t like putting on-off switches on Apple devices.

Steve Jobs (1955-2011) American computer inventor, entrepreneur
(Attrbuted)

Quoted by his biographer, Walter Isaacson, in a 60 Minutes interview (Oct 2011)
 
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The God of Hell should be held in loathing, contempt and scorn. A God who threatens eternal pain should be hated, not loved — cursed, not worshiped. A heaven presided over by such a God must be below the lowest hell. I want no part in any heaven in which the saved, the ransomed and redeemed will drown with shouts of joy the cries and sobs of hell — in which happiness will forget misery, where the tears of the lost only increase laughter and double bliss.

Robert Green Ingersoll (1833-1899) American lawyer, agnostic, orator
“The Great Infidels” (1881)
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As long as we love we will hope to live, and when the one dies that we love we will say: “Oh, that we could meet again,” and whether we do or not it will not be the work of theology. It will be a fact in nature. I would not for my life destroy one star of human hope, but I want it so that when a poor woman rocks the cradle and sings a lullaby to the dimpled darling, she will not be compelled to believe that ninety-nine chances in a hundred she is raising kindling wood for hell.

Robert Green Ingersoll (1833-1899) American lawyer, agnostic, orator
“What Must We Do To Be Saved?” Sec. 11 (1880)
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Heaven is where those are we love, and those who love us. And I wish to go to no world unless I can be accompanied by those who love me here. Talk about the consolations of this infamous doctrine. The consolations of a doctrine that makes a father say, “I can be happy with my daughter in hell;” that makes a mother say, “I can be happy with my generous, brave boy in hell;” that makes a boy say, “I can enjoy the glory of heaven with the woman who bore me, the woman who would have died for me, in eternal agony.” And they call that tidings of great joy.

Robert Green Ingersoll (1833-1899) American lawyer, agnostic, orator
“What Must We Do To Be Saved?” Sec. 9 (1880)
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I believe in one God, and no more; and I hope for happiness beyond this life.

I believe in the equality of man; and I believe that religious duties consist in doing justice, loving mercy, and endeavouring to make our fellow-creatures happy.

But, lest it should be supposed that I believe many other things in addition to these, I shall, in the progress of this work, declare the things I do not believe, and my reasons for not believing them.

I do not believe in the creed professed by the Jewish Church, by the Roman Church, by the Greek Church, by the Turkish Church, by the Protestant Church, nor by any church that I know of. My own mind is my own church.

All national institutions of churches, whether Jewish, Christian or Turkish, appear to me no other than human inventions, set up to terrify and enslave mankind, and monopolize power and profit.

Thomas Paine (1737-1809) American political philosopher and writer
The Age of Reason, Part 1, ch. 1 (1794)
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