Quotations about:
    death


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

Jonathan Swift (1667-1745) English writer and churchman
“Thoughts on Religion” (1726)
    (Source)
 
Added on 19-Dec-22 | Last updated 19-Dec-22
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For those who live neither with religious consolations about death nor with a sense of death (or of anything else ) as natural, death is the obscene mystery, the ultimate affront, the thing that cannot be controlled. It can only be denied.

Susan Sontag (1933-2004) American essayist, novelist, activist
Illness As Metaphor, ch. 7 (1978)
    (Source)
 
Added on 5-Dec-22 | Last updated 5-Dec-22
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We should laugh before being happy, for fear of dying without having laughed.

[Il faut rire avant que d’être heureux, de peur de mourir sans avoir ri.]

Jean de La Bruyère (1645-1696) French essayist, moralist
The Characters [Les Caractères], ch. 4 “Of the Heart [Du coeur],” § 63 (1688) [tr. Stewart (1970)]
    (Source)

(Source (French)). Alternate translations:

We must laugh before we are happy, or else we may die before we have cause to laugh.
[Bullord ed. (1696)]

We must laugh before we are happy, for fear we die before we laugh at all.
[Curll ed. (1713)]

We must laugh before we are happy, or else we may die before we ever laugh at all.
[Browne ed. (1752)]

We must laugh before we are happy, or else we may die before ever having laughed at all.
[tr. Van Laun (1885)]

We must laugh before we are happy, for fear of dying before we have laughed.
[tr. Lee (1903), "Brief Reflections on Men and Things"]

 
Added on 29-Nov-22 | Last updated 29-Nov-22
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Dying is a troublesome business: there is pain to be suffered, and it wrings one’s heart; but death is a splendid thing — a warfare accomplished, a beginning all over again, a triumph. You can always see that in their faces. And come and close my eyes too, when I die; and see me as I really was.

George Bernard Shaw (1856-1950) British playwright and critic
Letter to Edith Lyttelton (5 Jul 1913)
    (Source)

Sent on the death of her husband.
 
Added on 14-Nov-22 | Last updated 14-Nov-22
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          Nothing in his life
Became him like the leaving it. He died
As one that had been studied in his death
To throw away the dearest thing he owed
As ’twere a careless trifle.

William Shakespeare (1564-1616) English dramatist and poet
Macbeth, Act 1, sc. 4, l. 8ff [Malcolm] (1606)
    (Source)
 
Added on 7-Nov-22 | Last updated 7-Nov-22
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Better to sink beneath the shock
Than moulder piecemeal on the rock!

George Gordon, Lord Byron (1788-1824) English poet
“The Giaour,” ll. 969-970 (1813)
    (Source)
 
Added on 3-Nov-22 | Last updated 3-Nov-22
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But what is all this fear of and opposition to Oblivion? What is the matter with the soft Darkness, the Dreamless Sleep?

James Thurber (1894-1961) American cartoonist and writer
In Clifton Fadiman, I Believe: The Personal Philosophies of Twenty-Three Eminent Men and Women of Our Time (1940)
    (Source)

Also published in Forum and Century (Jun 1939). Words spoken by Sylvester Blougram, the title character from Robert Browning's "Bishop Blougram's Apology" (1855).
 
Added on 31-Oct-22 | Last updated 31-Oct-22
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Death is an endless night so awful to contemplate that it can make us love life and value it with such passion that it may be the ultimate cause of all joy and all art.

Paul Theroux
Paul Theroux (b. 1941) American novelist and travel writer
“D is for Death,” Hockney’s Alphabet (1991) [ed. Stephen Spender]
    (Source)
 
Added on 24-Oct-22 | Last updated 24-Oct-22
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The perpetual work of your life is but to lay the foundation of death.

Michel de Montaigne (1533-1592) French essayist
“That to Study Philosophy Is to Learn to Die” Essays (1588) [tr. Hazlitt (1851)]
    (Source)

Alternate translation:

The constant work of your life is to build death.
[tr. Frame (1948)]

 
Added on 26-Sep-22 | Last updated 26-Sep-22
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Most persons have died before they expire — died to all earthly longings, so that the last breath is only, as it were, the locking of the doors of the already deserted mansion.

Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr. (1809-1894) American poet, essayist, scholar
The Professor at the Breakfast-Table, ch. 11 (1859)
    (Source)

Sometimes misquoted as "Many persons ...."

The chapter originally appeared as "The Professor at the Breakfast-Table: What He Said, What He Heard, and What He Saw," Atlantic Monthly (Nov 1859).
 
Added on 19-Sep-22 | Last updated 19-Sep-22
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It will happen to all of us that at some point you’ll get tapped on the shoulder and told, not just that the party is over, but slightly worse: the party’s going on but you have to leave. And it’s going on without you.

Christopher Hitchens (1949-2011) English intellectual, polemicist, socio-political critic
“Is There an Afterlife?” Roundtable Discussion, Whizin Center for Continuing Education (15 Feb 2011)
    (Source)

The quotation comes at 12:57 into the discussion.

Transcribed by Catherine O'Brian in Transcription: The Afterlife Debate with Christopher Hitchens, Sam Harris, David Wolpe, Bradley Shavit Artson (2014)
 
Added on 12-Sep-22 | Last updated 12-Sep-22
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Death ends a life … but it does not end a relationship, which struggles on in the survivor’s mind … toward some resolution, which it never finds.

Robert Anderson
Robert Anderson (1917-2009) American playwright, screenwriter, theater producer
I Never Sang for My Father, Act 2, Closing Monologue [Gene] (1968)
    (Source)

(Ellipses in original.) The line is also given at the beginning of Act 1, where it reads:

Death ends a life, but it does not end a relationship, which struggles on in the survivor's mind towards some final resolution, some clear meaning, which it perhaps never finds.

In the 1970 adaptation Anderson made for film, the line is given as "which it may never find."

 
Added on 24-Aug-22 | Last updated 24-Aug-22
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I have lived a life. I’ve journeyed through
the course that Fortune charted for me. And now
I pass to the world below, my ghost in all its glory.

[Vixi, et, quem dederat cursum Fortuna, peregi;
Et nunc magna mei sub terras ibit Imago.]

Virgil (70-19 BC) Roman poet [b. Publius Vergilius Maro; also Vergil]
The Aeneid [Ænē̆is], Book 4, l. 653ff (4.653-654) [Dido] (29-19 BC) [tr. Fagles (2006)]
    (Source)

(Source (Latin)). Alternate translations:

My fatal course is finish'd; and I go,
A glorious name, among the ghosts below.
[tr. Dryden (1697)]

I have lived, and finished the race which fortune gave me. And now my ghost shall descent illustrious to the shades below.
[tr. Davidson/Buckley (1854)]

My life is lived, and I have played
     The part that Fortune gave,
And now I pass, a queenly shade,
     Majestic to the grave.
[tr. Conington (1866)]

I have lived,
And have achieved the course that fortune gave.
And now of me the queenly shade shall pass
Beneath the earth.
[tr. Cranch (1872), l. 855ff]

I have lived and fulfilled Fortune's allotted course; and now shall I go a queenly phantom under the earth.
[tr. Mackail (1885)]

I, I have lived, and down the way fate showed to me have passed;
And now a mighty shade of me shall go beneath the earth!
[tr. Morris (1900)]

My life is lived; behold, the course assigned
By Fortune now is finished, and I go,
A shade majestic, to the world below.
[tr. Taylor (1907), st. 86, l 768ff]

My life is done.
I have accomplished what my lot allowed;
and now my spirit to the world of death
in royal honor goes.
[tr. Williams (1910)]

My life is done and I have finished the course that Fortune gave; and now in majesty my shade shall pass beneath the earth.
[tr. Fairclough (1916)]

I have lived, I have run the course that fortune gave me,
And now my shade, a great one, will be going
Below the earth.
[tr. Humphries (1951)]

I have lived, I have run to finish the course which fortune gave me:
And now, a queenly shade, I shall pass to the world below.
[tr. Day-Lewis (1952)]

I have lived
and journeyed through the course assigned by fortune.
And now my Shade will pass, illustrious,
beneath the earth.
[tr. Mandelbaum (1971), l. 900ff]

I have lived my life out to the very end
And passed the stages Fortune had appointed.
Now my tall shade goes to the under world.
[tr. Fitzgerald (1981), l. 907ff]

I have lived my life and completed the course that Fortune has set before me, and now my great spirit will go beneath the earth.
[tr. West (1990)]

I have lived, and I have completed the course
Assigned by Fortune. Now my mighty ghost
Goes beneath the earth.
[tr. Lombardo (2005)]

I'm done with life; I've run the course Fate gave me. Now my noble ghost goes to the Underworld.
[tr. Bartsch (2021)]

 
Added on 24-Aug-22 | Last updated 24-Aug-22
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Tears are sometimes an inappropriate response to death. When a life has been lived completely honestly, completely successfully, or just completely, the correct response to death’s perfect punctuation mark is a smile.

Julie Burchill
Julie Burchill (b. 1959) English novelist, columnist, broadcaster
Quoted in The Independent (5 Dec 1989)
 
Added on 22-Aug-22 | Last updated 22-Aug-22
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Into a dancer you have grown,
From a seed somebody else has thrown.
Go on ahead and throw some seeds of your own,
And somewhere between the time you arrive and the time you go,
May lie a reason you were alive but you’ll never know.

Jackson Browne
Jackson Browne (b. 1948) American musician, songwriter, political activist
“For a Dancer” (1974)
    (Source)
 
Added on 15-Aug-22 | Last updated 15-Aug-22
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Speaking for myself, I could never pray to be delivered from sudden death. It is how you live, and not how you die that counts, and sudden deaths are only sad for those who are left. It is not dying, but living, that is a preparation for Death.

Margot Asquith
Margot Asquith (1864-1945) British socialite, author, wit [Emma Margaret Asquith, Countess Oxford and Asquith; Margot Oxford; née Tennant]
More Memories, ch. 11 (1933)
    (Source)
 
Added on 15-Aug-22 | Last updated 15-Aug-22
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In any man who dies there dies with him,
his first snow and kiss and fight.

[И если умирает человек,
с ним умирает первый его снег,
и первый поцелуй, и первый бой…]

Yevgeny Yevtushenko
Yevgeny Yevtushenko (1933-2017) Russian poet, writer, film director, academic [Евге́ний Евтуше́нко, Evgenij Evtušenko]
“People” (1961), l. 12ff, Selected Poems (1962)
    (Source)
 
Added on 15-Aug-22 | Last updated 15-Aug-22
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I discovered that I don’t nearly have the fear of death that I once had. What I do have is the terrible awareness of how little time there is to accomplish so many of the things that you want to accomplish. The other thing that seems accentuated, almost to a point of distortion, is the need, the desperate need you have of family, of loved ones. When it appeared possible I might not make it, I didn’t feel so much the awful awareness of, Jesus Christ, it’s going to be me ending the earth. What seemed to me the most predominant in my fears was that it would be the relationships that would end.

Rod Serling (1924-1975) American screenwriter, playwright, television producer, narrator
Audio diary (May 1975)
    (Source)

Recorded comments in the hospital after his first heart attack. In Anne Serling, As I Knew Him: My Dad, Rod Serling (2013).
 
Added on 26-Jul-22 | Last updated 26-Jul-22
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Everybody has to die, but I always believed an exception would be made in my case. Now what?

William Saroyan (1908-1981) American writer
Interview with the Associated Press (16 Apr 1981)
    (Source)

Saroyan called the AP five days before his collapse and subsequent death from cancer. The statement was intended to be released after his demise. The last two words are usually omitted.
 
Added on 18-Jul-22 | Last updated 18-Jul-22
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There is no living, none,
If Bertram be away. ’Twere all one
That I should love a bright particular star
And think to wed it, he is so above me.
In his bright radiance and collateral light
Must I be comforted, not in his sphere.
Th’ ambition in my love thus plagues itself:
The hind that would be mated by the lion
Must die for love.

William Shakespeare (1564-1616) English dramatist and poet
All’s Well That Ends Well, Act 1, sc. 1, l. 89ff [Helena] (1602?)
    (Source)
 
Added on 13-Jul-22 | Last updated 13-Jul-22
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Remember that you can’t necessarily sanctify a cause by virtue of the fact that men die for it. A death in a worthless or even questionable cause is a pointless, meaningless, tragically premature death.

Rod Serling (1924-1975) American screenwriter, playwright, television producer, narrator
Commencement Address, Ithaca College, New York (13 May 1972)
    (Source)
 
Added on 28-Jun-22 | Last updated 28-Jun-22
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Insofar as I may be heard by anything, which may or may not care what I say, I ask, if it matters, that you be forgiven for anything you may have done or failed to do which requires forgiveness. Conversely, if not forgiveness but something else may be required to insure any possible benefit for which you may be eligible after the destruction of your body, I ask that this, whatever it may be, be granted or withheld, as the case may be, in such a manner as to insure your receiving said benefit. I ask this in my capacity as your elected intermediary between yourself and that which may not be yourself, but which may have an interest in the matter of your receiving as much as it is possible for you to receive of this thing, and which may in some way be influenced by this ceremony. Amen.

Roger Zelazny (1937-1995) American writer
“Agnostic’s Prayer,” Creatures of Light and Darkness (1969)
    (Source)

Used by a character to shrive a person about to commit a public suicide. Also called the "Possibly Proper Death Litany."
 
Added on 11-May-22 | Last updated 1-Jun-22
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Ripheus fell, a man
Most just of all the Trojans, most fair-minded.
The gods thought otherwise.

[Cadit et Rhipeus, iustissimus unus
qui fuit in Teucris et servantissimus aequi:
dis aliter visum.]

Virgil (70-19 BC) Roman poet [b. Publius Vergilius Maro; also Vergil]
The Aeneid [Ænē̆is], Book 2, l. 426ff (2.426) [Aeneas] (29-19 BC) [tr. Humphries (1951)]
    (Source)

(Source (Latin)). Alternate translations:

Then Ripheus follow'd, in th' unequal fight;
Just of his word, observant of the right:
Heav'n thought not so.
[tr. Dryden (1697)]

Ripheus too falls, the most just among the Trojans, and of the strictest integrity; but to the gods it seemed otherwise.
[tr. Davidson/Buckley (1854)]

Then Rhipeus dies: no purer son
Troy ever bred, more jealous none
Of sacred right: Heaven's will be done.
[tr. Conington (1866)]

Next
Rhipeus, of all Trojans most upright
And just : -- such was the pleasure of the gods!
[tr. Cranch (1872), l. 580ff]

Rhipeus falls, the one man who was most righteous and steadfast in justice among the Teucrians: the gods' ways are not as ours.
[tr. Mackail (1885)]

Fell Rhipeus there, the heedfullest of right
Of all among the Teucrian folk, the justest man of men;
The Gods deemed otherwise.
[tr. Morris (1900)]

Next, Rhipeus dies, the justest, but in vain,
The noblest soul of all the Trojan train.
Heaven deemed him otherwise.
[tr. Taylor (1907), st. 57, l. 508ff]

Then Rhipeus fell;
we deemed him of all Trojans the most just,
most scrupulously righteous; but the gods
gave judgment otherwise.
[tr. Williams (1910)]

Ripheus, too, falls, foremost in justice among the Trojans, and most zealous for the right -- Heaven's will was otherwise.
[tr. Fairclough (1916)]

Then Rhipeus fell, he who of all the Trojans
Was most fair-minded, the one who was most regardful of justice:
God's ways are inscrutable.
[tr. Day Lewis (1952)]

Then Ripheus, too, has fallen -- he was first
among the Teucrians for justice and
observing right; the gods thought otherwise.
[tr. Mandelbaum (1971)]

And Ripheus fell,
A man uniquely just among the Trojans,
The soul of equity; but the gods would have it
Differently.
[tr. Fitzgerald (1981), l. 560ff]

Rhipeus also fell. Of all the Trojans he was the most righteous, the greatest lover of justice. But the gods made their own judgments.
[tr. West (1990)]

Then Rhipeus,
Of all Teucrians the most righteous (but the gods
Saw otherwise) went down.
[tr. Lombardo (2005), l. 493ff]

Rhipeus falls too, the most righteous man in Troy,
the most devoted to justice, true, but the gods
had other plans.
[tr. Fagles (2006)]

 
Added on 13-Apr-22 | Last updated 13-Apr-22
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Everywhere, wrenching grief, everywhere, terror
and a thousand shapes of death.

[Crudelis ubique
Luctus, ubique pavor, et plurima mortis imago.]

Virgil (70-19 BC) Roman poet [b. Publius Vergilius Maro; also Vergil]
The Aeneid [Ænē̆is], Book 2, l. 368ff (2.368-369) (29-19 BC) [tr. Fagles (2006), ll. 461-462]
    (Source)

On the fighting in the streets of Troy. (Source (Latin)). Alternate translations:

All parts resound with tumults, plaints, and fears;
And grisly Death in sundry shapes appears.
[tr. Dryden (1697)]

Every where is cruel sorrow, every where terror and death in thousand shapes.
[tr. Davidson/Buckley (1854)]

Dire agonies, wild terrors swarm,
And Death glares grim in many a form.
[tr. Conington (1866)]

And everywhere are sounds of bitter grief,
And terror everywhere, and shapes of death.
[tr. Cranch (1872), l. 506-507]

Everywhere is cruel agony, everywhere terror, and the sight of death at every turn.
[tr. Mackail (1885)]

Grim grief on every side,
And fear on every side there is, and many-faced is death.
[tr. Morris (1900)]

All around
Wailings, and wild affright and shapes of death abound.
[tr. Taylor (1907), st. 49, l. 440-41]

Anguish and woe
were everywhere; pale terrors ranged abroad,
and multitudinous death met every eye.
[tr. Williams (1910)]

Everywhere sorrow,
Everywhere panic, everywhere the image
Of death, made manifold.
[tr. Humphries (1951)]

All over the town you saw
Heart-rending agony, panic, and every shape of death.
[tr. Day Lewis (1952)]

And everywhere
are fear, harsh grief, and many shapes of slaughter.
[tr. Mandelbaum (1971), l. 497-98]

Grief everywhere,
Everywhere terror, and all shapes of death.
[tr. Fitzgerald (1981)]

Bitter grief was everywhere. Everywhere there was fear, and death in many forms.
[tr. West (1990)]

Raw fear
Was everywhere, grief was everywhere,
Everywhere the many masks of death.
[tr. Lombardo (2005)]

All around were bitter grief and fear, and different scenes of death.
[tr. Bartsch (2021)]

 
Added on 30-Mar-22 | Last updated 30-Mar-22
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I will accept that sometimes a villain has to die, but I’ll be damned if I’ll take free drinks for doing it.

Phil Foglio (b. 1956) American writer, cartoonist
Agatha H. and the Clockwork Princess [Barry Heterodyne] (2012) [with Kaja Foglio]
    (Source)
 
Added on 28-Mar-22 | Last updated 28-Mar-22
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But let us die, go plunging into the thick of battle.
One hope saves the defeated: they know they can’t be saved!

[Moriamur et in media arma ruamus.
Una salus victis, nullam sperare salutem.]

Virgil (70-19 BC) Roman poet [b. Publius Vergilius Maro; also Vergil]
The Aeneid [Ænē̆is], Book 2, l. 353ff (2.353-354) [Aeneas] (29-19 BC) [tr. Fagles (2006), l. 443ff]
    (Source)

(Source (Latin)). Alternate translations:

Then let us fall, but fall amidst our foes:
Despair of life the means of living shows.
[tr. Dryden (1697)]

Let us meet death, and rush into the thickest of our armed foes. The only safety for the vanquished is to throw away all hopes of safety.
[tr. Davidson/Buckley (1854)]

Come -- rush we on our fate.
No safety may the vanquished find
Till hope of safety be resigned.
[tr. Conington (1866)]

Let us die,
And plunge into the middle of the fight.
The only safety of the vanquished is
To hope for none.
[tr. Cranch (1872)]

Let us die, and rush on their encircling weapons. The conquered have one safety, to hope for none.
[tr. Mackail (1885)]

Fall on a very midst the fire and die in press of war!
One hope there is for vanquished men, to cherish hope no more.
[tr. Morris (1900)]

Forward, then,
To die and mingle in the tumult's blare.
Sole hope to vanquished men of safety is despair.
[tr. Taylor (1907), st. 47, l. 421ff]

Let us fight
unto the death! To arms, my men, to arms!
The single hope and stay of desperate men
is their despair.
[tr. Williams (1910)]

Let us die, and rush into the midst of arms. One safety the vanquished have, to hope for none!
[tr. Fairclough (1916)]

So let us die,
Rush into arms. One safety for the vanquished
Is to have hope of none.
[tr. Humphries (1951)]

Let us die, let us charge into the battle's heart!
Losers have one salvation -- to give up all hope of salvation.
[tr. Day Lewis (1952)]

Then let
us rush to arms and die. The lost have only
this one deliverance: to hope for none.
[tr. Mandelbaum (1971), l. 477ff]

Come, let us die,
We'll make a rush into the thick of it.
The conquered have one safety: hope for none.
[tr. Fitzgerald (1981), l. 470ff]

Let us die. Let us rush into the thick of the fighting. The one safety for the defeated is to have no hope of safety.
[tr. West (1990)]

All that is left for us
Is to rush onto swords and die. The only chance
For the conquered is to hope for none.
[tr. Lombardo (2005)]

Let us die even as we rush into the thick of the fight. The only safe course for the defeated is to expect no safety.
[Routledge (2005)]

Let's die by plunging into war. Our only refuge is to have no hope of refuge.
[tr. Bartsch (2021)]

 
Added on 23-Mar-22 | Last updated 23-Mar-22
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All through history in every culture we’ve had to make up mythology to explain death to ourselves and to explain life to ourselves.

Ray Bradbury (1920-2012) American writer, futurist, fabulist
“The Fantasy Makers: A Conversation with Ray Bradbury and Chuck Jones,” Interview by Mary Harrington Hall, Psychology Today (Apr 1968)
    (Source)
 
Added on 9-Mar-22 | Last updated 9-Mar-22
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Near this spot
are deposited the Remains of one
who possessed Beauty without Vanity,
Strength without Insolence,
Courage without Ferocity,
and all the Virtues of Man without his Vices.
This Praise, which would be unmeaning Flattery
if inscribed over human Ashes,
is but a just tribute to the Memory of
BOATSWAIN, a DOG

George Gordon, Lord Byron (1788-1824) English poet
“Epitaph to a Dog” (1808)
    (Source)

Carved on the headstone over Boatswain's grave at Newstead Abbey, the family's ancestral home. Byron acquired the dog at age fifteen; Boatswain died of rabies, an endemic disease in England at the time, five years later. Byron wanted to be buried beside him, but the sale of the property made that impossible.

While the rest of the poem is considered Byron's, these first lines may have been written by his friend, John Cam Hobhouse. More discussion here.
 
Added on 14-Feb-22 | Last updated 14-Feb-22
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The reports of my death are greatly exaggerated.

Mark Twain (1835-1910) American writer [pseud. of Samuel Clemens]
(Paraphrase)
    (Source)

This was based on a statement Mark Twain made to a British correspondent of the New York Journal (in some incorrect versions the New York Evening Sun) who tracked him down in London upon reports in America that Twain was dying there. Twain wrote out a note saying, "James Ross Clemens, a cousin of mine, was seriously ill two or three weeks ago in London but is well now. The report of my illness grew out of his illness; the report of my death was an exaggeration." This response was published 2 June 1897, and the longhand note is still preserved.

In 1906, Twain recalled the incident for his memoir that he told the reporter, "Say the report is exaggerated." On retyping the manuscript some months later, he scribbled the word "greatly" in front of "exaggerated," and it was published that way in The North American Review.

In Albert B. Paine's Mark Twain, a Biography, Vol. 2, ch. 197 (1912), the story is that Twain told the correspondent, "Just say the report of my death has been grossly exaggerated."

Further discussion:
 
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Clutter is what silts up exactly like silt in a flowing stream when the current, the free flow of the mind, is held up by an obstruction. I spent four hours in Keene yesterday getting the car inspected and two new tires put on, also finding a few summer blouses. The mail; has accumulated in a fearful way, so I have a huge disorderly pile of stuff to be answered on my desk. In the end what kills is not agony (for agony at least asks something of the soul) but everyday life.

May Sarton
May Sarton (1912-1995) Belgian-American poet, novelist, memoirist [pen name of Eleanore Marie Sarton]
Journal of a Solitude, “May 28th” (1973)
    (Source)
 
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I am not ready to die,
But I am learning to trust death
As I have trusted life.
I am moving
Toward a new freedom
Born of detachment,
And a sweeter grace —
Learning to let go.

May Sarton
May Sarton (1912-1995) Belgian-American poet, novelist, memoirist [pen name of Eleanore Marie Sarton]
“Gestalt at Sixty,” sec. 3 (1972)
    (Source)
 
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Aristotle says that on the banks of the River Hypanis, which falls into the Euxine from a part of Europe, there is an order of beasties (creatures, insects, bestiolæ), which live one day. Of these, therefore, any that dies at the eight hour has died at an advanced age, but any that dies at sunset, in positive senility, especially if it be the solstice. Compare, now, our longest life with eternity, and we shall be found to be in much the same category as these ephemerals.

[Apud Hypanim fluvium, qui ab Europae parte in Pontum influit, Aristoteles ait bestiolas quasdam nasci, quae unum diem vivant. Ex his igitur hora VIII quae mortua est, provecta aetate mortua est; quae vero occidente sole, decrepita, eo magis, si etiam solstitiali die. Confer nostram longissimam aetatem cum aeternitate: in eadem propemodum brevitate qua illae bestiolae reperiemur.]

Marcus Tullius Cicero (106-43 BC) Roman orator, statesman, philosopher
Tusculan Disputations [Tusculanae Disputationes], Book 1, ch. 39 (1.39) / sec. 94 (45 BC) [tr. Black (1889)]
    (Source)

The reference is to Aristotle, History of Animals, 5.19 (552b.18). (Source (Latin)). Alternate translations:

By the mouth of the Hypanis, which on the side of Europe, falleth into the Black Sea; Aristotle reports certain Insects to be bred, that live but one day. Such therefore, of these, as dye at two in the Afternoon, dye elderly; but such, as at Sunset, very aged; and the more, if it be on the longest day in Summer. Compare our life, at longest, with Eternity; we shall be found, in a manner, as short-liv'd as are these Insects.
[tr. Wase (1643)]

Aristotle saith, there is a kind of insect, near the river Hypanis;, which runs from a certain part of Europe, into the Pontus, whose life consists but of one day; those that die at the eighth hour, die in full age; those who die when the sun sets, very old, especially when the days are at the longest. Compare our l9ongest age with eternity, and we shall be found as short-lived as those little animals.
[tr. Main (1824)]

At the river Hypanis, which flows into the Euxine, from a part of Europe, certain little insects, Aristotle says, are born to live but a day. Then, one of these, that dies at two afternoon, dies well-advanced in life; but he that dies at sunset, especially about the summer solstice, decrepit. Compare our longest age with eternity; we shall be found in much the same brevity with these little insects.
[tr. Otis (1839)]

On the River Hypanis, which flows from some part of Europe into the Euxine Sea, Aristotle says that there is a certain species of insects that live only a day. One of them that died at the eighth hour of the day would have died at an advanced age; one of them that died at sunset, especially at the summer solstice, would have been decrepit. If we compare our life with eternity, we shall find ourselves of almost as brief a being as those insects.
[tr. Peabody (1886)]

By the river Hypanis which flows into the Black Sea on the European side, Aristotle says some tiny creatures are born which live for one day. So of these one which has died in the eight hour has died at an advanced age; one which has died at sunset is senile, all the more if it dies at the summer solstice. Compare the longest human life with eternity; we shall turn out to be almost as short-lived as these tiny creatures.
[tr. Douglas (1985)]

Aristotle reports that along the river Hypanis, which flows into Pontus from Europe, tiny creatures are born that live but a single day. If they die at the eighth hour they're of an advanced age, if at sunset, they're decrepit -- even more so on the solstice. Measure the longest human lifespan against eternity: you'll find we live about as briefly as those little creatures do.
[tr. Habinek (1996)]

On the river Hypanis which flows from part of Europe into the Black Sea, Aristotle says that little creates are born which live for a single day. One of them, therefore, that has died at the eighth hour of the day has died at an advanced age; one that has died at sunset is senile, and all the more so if this occurs at the summer solstice. Compare our longest lifetime with eternity: we shall be found to be virtually as short-lived as those little creatures.
[tr. Davie (2017)]

Aristotle says that certain little beasts which live for only one day are born near the Hypanis, which flows from part of Europe into the Black Sea. One of these who dies at sunrise dies as a youth; one who dies at noon has already achieved an advanced age; but one who departs at the setting of the sun dies old, especially if it is the solstice. Compare the entirety of our life with eternity, and we will be found to exist for just as short a time as that animal.
[tr. @sentantiq (2019), quoting from Petrarch, Secretum 3.17]

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

William Shakespeare (1564-1616) English dramatist and poet
Julius Caesar, Act 2, sc. 2, l. 34ff [Caesar] (1599)
    (Source)

The initial phrase has seemingly morphed in the retelling, though still being cited to Shakespeare: "A coward dies a thousand times before his death, but the valiant taste of death but once." This is the form most often seen, but is not Shakespeare.

In A Farewell to Arms (1929), Hemingway gives another paraphrase: "The coward dies a thousand deaths, the brave but one."
 
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I see that Time’s the king of men,
For he’s their parent, and he is their grave,
And gives them what he will, not what they crave.

William Shakespeare (1564-1616) English dramatist and poet
Pericles, Act 2, sc. 3, l. 49ff (1607) [with George Wilkins]
    (Source)
 
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Men that look no further than their outsides, think health an appurtenance unto life, and quarrel with their constitutions for being sick; but I that have examined the parts of man, and know upon what tender filaments that fabric hangs, do wonder that we are not always so; and considering the thousand doors that lead to death, do thank my God that we can die but once.

[Men that looke no further than their outsides thinke health an appertinance unto life, and quarrell with their constitutions for being sick; but I that have examined the parts of man, and know upon what tender filaments that Fabrick hangs, doe wonder that we are not alwayes so; and considering the thousand dores that lead to death doe thanke my God that we can die but once.]

Thomas Browne (1605-1682) English physician and author
Religio Medici, Part 1, sec. 44 (1643)
    (Source)
 
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Poor child, most tried of men, Persephone, daughter of Zeus, is not deceiving you in any way; this is the law that rules all mortals at their death. For just as soon as life has left the white bones, and the sinew no longer hold together bones and flesh, when the erupting force of blazing fire undoes the body, then the spirit wanders: much like a dream, it flits away and hovers, now here, now there.

[‘ὤ μοι, τέκνον ἐμόν, περὶ πάντων κάμμορε φωτῶν,
οὔ τί σε Περσεφόνεια Διὸς θυγάτηρ ἀπαφίσκει,
ἀλλ᾽ αὕτη δίκη ἐστὶ βροτῶν, ὅτε τίς κε θάνῃσιν:
οὐ γὰρ ἔτι σάρκας τε καὶ ὀστέα ἶνες ἔχουσιν,
ἀλλὰ τὰ μέν τε πυρὸς κρατερὸν μένος αἰθομένοιο
δαμνᾷ, ἐπεί κε πρῶτα λίπῃ λεύκ᾽ ὀστέα θυμός,
ψυχὴ δ᾽ ἠύτ᾽ ὄνειρος ἀποπταμένη πεπότηται.]

Homer (fl. 7th-8th C. BC) Greek author
The Odyssey [Ὀδύσσεια], Book 11, l. 216ff (11.216) (c. 700 BC) [tr. Mandelbaum (1990)]
    (Source)

Anticleia, Odysseus' mother, responding to him when he's unable to embrace her shade in the Underworld. (Source (Greek)). Alternate translations:

O son, she answer’d, of the race of men
The most unhappy, Our most equal Queen
Will mock no solid arms with empty shade,
Nor suffer empty shades again t’ invade
Flesh, bones, and nerves; nor will defraud the fire
Of his last dues, that, soon as spirits expire
And leave the white bone, are his native right,
When, like a dream, the soul assumes her flight.
The light then of the living with most haste,
O son, contend to.
[tr. Chapman (1616)]

Oh no, quoth she, my son, she’d no intent
T’ abuse you. ’Tis the nature of the dead.
We are no longer sinews, flesh, and bones,
We are substances incorporeal,
All that ’s consumed i’ th’ fun’ral fire; when once
That’s done, it in itself stands several;
Flies like a dream.
[tr. Hobbes (1675), l. 203ff]

O son of woe, the pensive shade rejoin'd;
O most inured to grief of all mankind!
"'Tis not the queen of hell who thee deceives;
All, all are such, when life the body leaves:
No more the substance of the man remains,
Nor bounds the blood along the purple veins:
These the funereal flames in atoms bear,
To wander with the wind in empty air:
While the impassive soul reluctant flies,
Like a vain dream, to these infernal skies.
[tr. Pope (1725)]

Ah, son! thou most afflicted of mankind!
On thee, Jove’s daughter, Proserpine, obtrudes
No airy semblance vain; but such the state
And nature is of mortals once deceased.
For they nor muscle have, nor flesh, nor bone;
All those (the spirit from the body once
Divorced) the violence of fire consumes,
And, like a dream, the soul flies swift away.
[tr. Cowper (1792), l. 258ff]

O my child,
'Tis not Persephone deludes thee here.
This is their portion who, from light exiled,
Dying descend into these regions drear,
Sinewless, fleshless, boneless. On the bier
All substance was burnt out by force of fie,
When first the spirit, her cold flight to steer,
Left the white bones , and fluttering from the pyre
Straight to these shadowy realms did like a dream retire.
[tr. Worsley (1861), st. 32]

Alas! my child! thou most ill-starred of all men!
'Tis not Persephone--Zeus' daughter, fools thee!
But this is the way with mortals, when they're dead.
Their powers no more are clothed with flesh and bones;
But these the mighty strength of the blazing fire
Consumes, when once life's left the calcined bones,
And the soul, like a dream, on wings hath fled away.
[tr. Bigge-Wither (1869), l. 217ff]

Ah me, my child, of all men most ill-fated, Persephone, the daughter of Zeus, doth in no wise deceive thee, but even on this wise it is with mortals when they die. For the sinews no more bind together the flesh and the bones, but the great force of burning fire abolishes these, so soon as the life hath left the white bones, and the spirit like a dream flies forth and hovers near.
[tr. Butcher/Lang (1879)]

O me, my child, my darling, most hapless man of men,
Persephone, daughter of Zeus, beguileth thee nought hereby,
But this is the lot of mortals when at last they come to die;
For no longer then the sinews hold together flesh and bone,
But they by the might of the fire bright-flaming are undone,
When first from the white bones wendeth the soul and living breath,
And the soul as a dream forth flieth and flitting hovereth.
[tr. Morris (1887)]

Ah, my own child, beyond all men ill-fated! In no wise is Persephone, daughter of Zeus, beguiling you, but this is the way of mortals when they die: the sinews no longer hold the flesh and bones together; for these the strong force of the flaming fire destroys, when once the life leaves the white bones, and like a dream the spirit flies away.
[tr. Palmer (1891)]

My son, she answered, most ill-fated of all mankind, it is not Proserpine that is beguiling you, but all people are like this when they are dead. The sinews no longer hold the flesh and bones together; these perish in the fierceness of consuming fire as soon as life has left the body, and the soul flits away as though it were a dream. [tr. Butler (1898)]

But this is the appointed way with mortals when one dies. For the sinews no longer hold the flesh and the bones together, but the strong might of blazing fire destroys these, as soon as the life leaves the white bones, and the spirit, like a dream, flits away, and hovers to and fro.
[tr. Murray (1919)]

Alas my hapless child! Here is no mockery from Persephone, daughter of Zeus: it is the common judgment upon all mortals when they die. Then the nerves will no more bind flesh and frame into one body, for the terrible intensity of the searing fire subdues them till they vanish, as the quickening spirit vanishes from the white bones and the soul flies out, to hover like a dream.
[tr. Lawrence (1932)]

My child, my child! came her reply. What man on earth has more to bear than you? This is no trick played on you by Persephone, Daughter of Zeus. You are only witnessing here the law of our mortal nature, when we come to die. We no longer have sinews keeping the bones and flesh together, but once the life-force has departed from our white bones, all is consumed by the fierce heat of the blazing fire, and the soul slips away like a dream and flutters on the air.
[tr. Rieu (1946)]

O my child -- alas,
most sorely tried of men -- great Zeus' daughter,
Persephone, knits no illusion for you.
All mortals meet this judgment when they die.
No flesh and bone are here, none bound by sinew,
since the bright-hearted pyre consumed them down --
the white bones long exanimate -- to ash;
dreamlike the soul flies, insubstantial.
[tr. Fitzgerald (1961)]

Oh my child, ill-fated beyond all other mortals, this is not Persephone, daughter of Zeus, beguiling you, but it is only what happens, when they die, to all mortals. The sinews no longer hold the flesh and the bones together. The queens of the past and once the spirit has left the white bones, all the rest of the body is made subject to the fire's strong fury, but the soul flitters out like a dream and flies away.
[tr. Lattimore (1965)]

My son, my son, the unluckiest man alive!
This is no deception sent by Queen Persephone,
this is just the way of mortals when we die.
Sinews no longer bind the flesh and bones together --
the fire in all its fury burns the body down to ashes
once life slips from the white bones, and the spirit,
rustling, flitters away ... flown like a dream.
[tr. Fagles (1996)]

O my child, most ill-fated of men,
It is not that Persephone is deceiving you.
This is the way it is with mortals.
When we die, the sinews no longer hold
Flesh and bones together. The fire destroys these
As soon as the spirit leaves the white bones,
And the ghost flutters off and is gone like a dream.
[tr. Lombardo (2000)]

Alas, my child, came my revered mother's reply, ill-fated above all men! This is no trick played on you by Persephone, Daughter of Zeus. It is the law of our mortal nature, when we come to die. We no longer have sinews keeping the bones and flesh together; once life has departed from our white bones, all is consumed by the fierce heat of the blazing fire, and the soul slips away like a dream and goes fluttering on its ways.
[tr. DCH Rieu (2002)]

Ah my child, ill-fated beyond all men! It is not that Persephone, daughter of Zeus, is deceiving you, but it is the law that touches all mortal beings when they die: no longer do they have sinews that bind flesh and bone together, for as soon as the spirit departs from their white bones, the fierce heat of the blazing fire destroys everything, and their shade flies off, fluttering like a dream.
[tr. Verity (2016)]

Oh, my child! You are the most unlucky man alive. Persephone is not deceiving you. Thsi is the rule for mortals when we die. Our muscles cease to hold the flesh and skeleton together; as soon as life departs our white bones, the force of blazing fire destroys the corpse. The spirit flies away and soon is gone, just like a dream.
[tr. Wilson (2017)]

Alas, my child, ill-fated beyond all other mortals, Persephonē, daughter of Zeus, is in no way beguiling you. No, this is the fixed law for mortals, when anyone dies: The sinews no longer keep flesh and bones together, they're destroyed by the powerful force of blazing fire as soon as the spirit departs from the white bones and the soul, like a dream, flies fluttering off, is gone.
[tr. Green (2018)]

My child, of all men most unfortunate,
no, dread Persephone, daughter of Zeus,
is not deceiving you. Once mortals die,
this is what’s ordained for them. Their sinews
no longer hold the flesh and bone together.
The mighty power of a blazing fire
destroys them, once our spirit flies from us,
from our white bones. And then it slips away,
and, like a dream, it flutters to and fro.
[tr. Johnston (2019), l. 268ff]

 
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But aren’t we, the living, wretched since we must die? What pleasure can there be in life, when day and night we must reflect that we have to die, and at any moment?

[Qui vivimus, cum moriendum sit, nonne miseri sumus? quae enim potest in vita esse iucunditas, cum dies et noctes cogitandum sit iam iamque esse moriendum?]

Marcus Tullius Cicero (106-43 BC) Roman orator, statesman, philosopher
Tusculan Disputations [Tusculanae Disputationes], Book 1, ch. 7 (1.7) / sec. 14 [Auditor] (45 BC) [tr. Douglas (1985)]
    (Source)

(Source (Latin)). Alternate translations:

What say you of us that are alive, can we be other than miserable, since we must die? for what enjoyment can there be in life, when we are to think day and night that die we must of a certain, and it is uncertain whether this or the next Moment?
[tr. Wase (1643)]

What then? we that are alive, are we not wretched, seeing we must die? for what is there agreeable in life, when we must night and day reflect that we may instantly die?
[tr. Main (1824)]

But what? as to us who are alive, are we not miserable? For, what pleasantness can there be in life, when, by night and by day, we have to reflect already, even already, we are to die?
[tr. Otis (1839)]

What then? we that are alive, are we not wretched, seeing we must die? for what is there agreeable in life, when we must night and day reflect that, at some time or other, we must die?
[tr. Yonge (1853)]

Yet are not we who live miserable, seeing that we must die? For what pleasure can there be in life, while by day and by night we cannot but think that we may die at any moment?
[tr. Peabody (1886)]

But how then? Are not we, who live, miserable, seeing that we must die? For what pleasure can there be in life when, night and day, the thought cannot fail to haunt us, that at any moment we must die?
[tr. Black (1889)]

Aren't the living miserable, since we have to die? What joy can there be in life if day and night we are forced to consider the inevitable approach of death?
[tr. Habinek (1996)]

Are we not wretched, we who live though we must die? What joy can there be in life, when we must think day and night that we must at some time die?
[tr. @sententiq (2016)]

 
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You seem a youth to look upon.
You dyed your hair — and lo,
The locks once whiter than a swan
Are blacker than a crow.
Not everyone can you deceive
And, though you hide the grey,
Yet Proserpine will not believe
But snatch the mask away.

[Mentiris iuvenem tinctis, Laetine, capillis,
Tam subito corvus, qui modo sygnus eras.
Non omnes fallis; scit te Proserpina canum
Personam capiti detrahet illa tuo.]

Martial (AD c.39-c.103) Spanish Roman poet, satirist, epigrammatist [Marcus Valerius Martialis]
Epigrams [Epigrammata], Book 3, epigram 43 (3.43) [tr. Pott & Wright (1921)]
    (Source)

Proserpina (the Roman version of Persephone) was the goddess / Queen of the Underworld. (Source (Latin)). Alternate translations:

With tinctur'd locks the dotard youth puts on:
Behold a raven, from but now a swan!
Though cheat'st not all; not her, who rules the dead:
She soon shall pull the mask from off thy head.
[tr. Elphinston (1782), Part 2, ep. 21]

You simulate youth, Lentinus, with your dyed hairs; so suddenly a crow, who were so lately a swan. You do not deceive everyone: Proserpina knows you for a greybeard, she will tear off the masque from your head.
[tr. Amos (1858), ch. 4, ep. 140]

Letinus, fain to cheat men's eyes,
You smear your head with umber dyes;
And, late a swan as white as snow,
You've suddenly become a crow.
Is everyone deceived by you?
No, one can tell the genuine hue.
Proserpine knows your hair is grey,
And she will tear that mask away.
[tr. Webb (1879)]

You ape youth, Laetinus, with your dyed hair; and you, who were but now a swan, are suddenly become a crow! You will not deceive everyone: Proserpine knows that you are hoary, and will snatch the mask from your head.
[tr. Bohn's Classical (1897)]

You pretend you're still youthful by dyeing your hair --
Now a crow, though a swan just of late --
But you don't fool us all, for Proserpina knows,
She'll show up the sham of your pate.
[tr. Nixon (1911)]

You falsely ape youth, Laetinus, with dyed hair, so suddenly a raven who were but now a swan. You don't deceive all; Proserpine knows you are hoary: she shall pluck the mask from off your head.
[tr. Ker (1919)]

You wish, Lætinus, to be thought a youth,
And so you dye your hair.
You're suddenly a crow, forsooth:
Of late a swan you were!
You can't cheat all: there is a Lady dread
Who knows your hair is grey:
Proserpina will pounce upon your head,
And tear the mask away.
[tr. Duff (1929)]

You counterfeit youth with hair-dye, Laetinus: all of a sudden you're a raven, when just now you were a swan. You don't fool everyone: Proserpina knows you are grey; she will drag the mask from your head.
[tr. Nisbet (2015)]

Thou, that not a month ago
Wast white as swan or driven snow,
Now blacker far than Aesop's crow,
Thanks to thy wig, sett'st up for beau:
Faith, Harry, thou'rt i' the wrong box;
Old age these vain endeavours mocks,
And time, that knows thou 'st hoary locks,
Will pluck thy mask off with a pox.
[tr. Browne]

Lentinus counterfeits his youth
With periwigs, I trow,
But art thou changed so soon, in truth,
From a swan to a crow?
Though canst not all the world deceive:
Proserpine knows thee gray;
And she'll make bold, without your leave,
To take your cap away.
[tr. Fletcher]

Before a swan, behind a crow,
Such self-deceit I ne'er did know.
Ah, cease your arts! Death knows you're grey,
And, spite of all, will have his way.
[tr. Hoadley]

Laetinus, why deceive us so,
With borrowed plumage trying?
The Queen of Shades will surely know
When she slips off your mask below,
In Death there's no more dyeing.
[tr. Pitt-Kethley]

 
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And earth who herself bestowed the body takes it back and wastes not a whit.

[Terram corpus quae dederit, ipsam capere neque dispendi facere hilum.]

Quintus Ennius (239-169 BC) Roman poet, writer
Fragment from the Annales Book 1, frag. 11-12 [tr. Warmingham (1935)]
    (Source)

In Varro, De Lingua Latina, Book 5, sec 60, ll. 4-5 (1st C BC). In some locations, the Latin is given as "terraque corpus quae dedit ipsa capit neque dispendi facit hilum."

Alternate translations:
The body she's given Earth does herself take back, and of loss not a whit does she suffer.
[tr. Kent (1938)]

Earth herself takes back the body which she gave, and permits no loss whatsoever.
[Source (2013)]

 
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All deaths are dour: the fate of men is sad; but there’s no death more miserable than the doom starvation sends.

[Πάντες μὲν στυγεροὶ θάνατοι δειλοῖσι βροτοῖσι,
λιμῷ δ’ οἴκτιστον θανέειν καὶ πότμον ἐπισπεῖν.]

Homer (fl. 7th-8th C. BC) Greek author
The Odyssey [Ὀδύσσεια], Book 12, l. 341ff (12.341-342) [Eurylochus] (c. 700 BC) [tr. Mandelbaum (1990)]
    (Source)

Urging is fellow sailors to slaughter the Sun God's cattle. That ends poorly.Original Greek. Alternate translations:

Hear what I shall say,
Though words will staunch no hunger, ev’ry death
To us poor wretches that draw temporal breath
You know is hateful; but, all know, to die
The death of Famine is a misery
Past all death loathsome.
[tr. Chapman (1616)]

Meantime Eurylochus bad counsel gives
To his companions. All deaths, quoth he,
Are hateful to what thing soever lives;
But death by hunger is the worst can be.
[tr. Hobbes (1675)]

O friends, a thousand ways frail mortals lead
To the cold tomb, and dreadful all to tread;
But dreadful most, when by a slow decay
Pale hunger wastes the manly strength away.
[tr. Pope (1725)]

Death, however caused,
Abhorrence moves in miserable man,
But death by famine is a fate of all
Most to be fear’d.
[tr. Cowper (1792)]

Friends, though to wretched men all deaths are dire,
Yet it is far most miserable to pine
With pangs of famine and for want expire.
[tr. Worsley (1861), st. 47]

Death is in all shapes to unhappy men
A fearful fate: but misery extreme
Were it our own destruction to provoke
And die of hunger.
[tr. Musgrave (1869), l. 515ff]

All deaths are hateful to us wretched mortals;
But death by famine is most pitiable.
[tr. Bigge-Wither (1869)]

Truly every shape of death is hateful to wretched mortals, but to die of hunger and so meet doom is most pitiful of all.
[tr. Butcher/Lang (1879)]

All manner of death is loathly to wretched men that die,
But to meet our fate by famine is to end most wretchedly.
[tr. Morris (1887)]

Hateful is every form of death to wretched mortals; and yet to die by hunger, and so to meet one's doom, is the most pitiful of all.
[tr. Palmer (1891)]

All deaths are bad enough, but there is none so bad as famine.
[tr. Butler (1898)]

All forms of death are hateful to wretched mortals, but to die of hunger, and so meet one's doom, is the most pitiful.
[tr. Murray (1919)]

No variety of death is pleasing to us poor mortals: but commend me to hunger and its slow perishing as the meanest fate of all.
[tr. Lawrence (1932)]

To us wretched men all forms of death are abominable, but death by starvation is the most miserable end that one can meet.
[tr. Rieu (1946)]

All deaths are hateful to us, mortal wretches, but famine is the most pitiful, the worst end that a man can come to.
[tr. Fitzgerald (1961)]

All deaths are detestable for wretched mortals,
but hunger is the sorriest way to die and encounter fate.
[tr. Lattimore (1965)]

All ways of dying are hateful to us poor mortals,
true, but to die of hunger, starve to death --
that's the worst of all.
[tr. Fagles (1996)]

Every manner of dying is hateful to miserable mortals,
but most wretched by hunger to die and encounter our doomsday.
[tr. Merrill (2002)]

To us wretched men all forms of death are abominable,
but death by starvation is the most miserable way to meet one's doom.
[tr. DCH Rieu (2002)]

All ways of dying are hateful to wretched mortals, but the most miserable way to meet one's doom is by hunger.
[tr. Verity (2016)]

All human deaths are hard to bear. But starving is most miserable of all.
[tr. Wilson (2017)]

All kinds of death are loathsome to wretched mortals,
but to die of starvation -- that's the most pitiful of fates!
[tr. Green (2018)]

For wretched human beings
all forms of death are hateful. But to die
from lack of food, to meet one’s fate like that,
is worst of all. [tr. Johnston (2019), l. 445ff]

 
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The best break anybody ever gets is in bein’ alive in the first place. An’ you don’t unnerstan’ what a perfect deal it is until you realizes that you ain’t gone be stuck with it forever, either.

Walt Kelly (1913-1973) American animator and cartoonist [Walter Crawford Kelly, Jr.]
“Pogo” [Porky Pine] (15 Sep 1955)
 
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The recklessness of their ways destroyed them all.

[Αὐτῶν γὰρ σφετέρῃσιν ἀτασθαλίῃσιν ὄλοντο.]

Homer (fl. 7th-8th C. BC) Greek author
The Odyssey [Ὀδύσσεια], Book 1, l. 7ff (1.7) (c. 700 BC) [tr. Fagles (1996)]
    (Source)

Original Greek. Alternate translations:

  • "O men unwise, / They perish’d by their own impieties!" [tr. Chapman (1616)]
  • "They lost themselves by their own insolence." [tr. Hobbes (1675), l. 9]
  • "They perish’d self-destroy’d / By their own fault." [tr. Cowper (1792)]
  • "For they were slain in their own foolishness." [tr. Worsley (1861), st. 2]
  • "Destin'd as they were / In their mad arrogance to perish; fools!" [tr. Musgrave (1869)]
  • "For they in their own wilful folly perished." [tr. Bigge-Wither (1869)]
  • "For through the blindness of their own hearts they perished." [tr. Butcher/Lang (1879)]
  • "They died of their own souls' folly." [tr. Morris (1887)]
  • "For through their own perversity they perished." [tr. Palmer (1891)]
  • "For they perished through their own sheer folly." [tr. Butler (1898)]
  • "For they perished through their own deeds of sheer recklessness." [tr. Butler (1898), rev. Kim/McCray/Nagy/Power (2018)]
  • "For through their own blind folly they perished." [tr. Murray (1919)]
  • "For their own recklessness destroyed them all." [tr. Fitzgerald (1961)]
  • "They were destroyed by their own wild recklessness, / fools." [tr. Lattimore (1965)]
  • "Fools, they foiled themselves." [tr. Mendelbaum (1990)]
  • "By their own mad recklessness they were brought to destruction, childish fools." [tr. Merrill (2002)]
  • "It was their own transgression that brought them to their doom." [tr. DCH Rieu (2002)]
  • "It was through their own blind recklessness that they perished, / the fools." [tr. Green (2018)]
  • "They all died from their own stupidity, the fools." [tr. Johnston (2019)]
 
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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)]

 
Added on 31-Mar-21 | Last updated 31-Mar-21
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Then welcome fate!
‘Tis true I perish, yet I perish great:
Yet in a mighty deed I shall expire,
Let future ages hear it, and admire!

[νῦν αὖτέ με μοῖρα κιχάνει.
μὴ μὰν ἀσπουδί γε καὶ ἀκλειῶς ἀπολοίμην,
ἀλλὰ μέγα ῥέξας τι καὶ ἐσσομένοισι πυθέσθαι.]

Homer (fl. 7th-8th C. BC) Greek author
The Iliad [Ἰλιάς], Book 22, l. 303ff (22.303) [Hector] (c. 750 BC) [tr. Pope (1715-20), l. 385ff]
    (Source)

Original Greek. Alternate translations:

But Fate now conquers; I am hers; and yet not she shall share
In my renown; that life is left to every noble spirit,
And that some great deed shall beget that all lives shall inherit.
[tr. Chapman (1611), l. 266ff]

But I will not fall
Inglorious; I will act some great exploit
That shall be celebrated ages hence.
[tr. Cowper (1791), l. 347ff]

Fate overtakes me. Nevertheless I will not perish cowardly and ingloriously at least, but having done some great deed to be heard of even by posterity.
[tr. Buckley (1860)]

My fate hath found me now.
Yet not without a struggle let me die,
Nor all inglorious; but let some great act,
Which future days may hear of, mark my fall.
[tr. Derby (1864)]

Now my fate hath found me. At least let me not die without a struggle or ingloriously, but in some great deed of arms whereof men yet to be born shall hear.
[tr. Leaf/Lang/Myers (1891)]

My doom has come upon me; let me not then die ingloriously and without a struggle, but let me first do some great thing that shall be told among men hereafter.
[tr. Butler (1898)]

Now again is my doom come upon me. Nay, but not without a struggle let me die, neither ingloriously, but in the working of some great deed for the hearing of men that are yet to be.
[tr. Murray (1924)]

But now my death is upon me. Let me at least not die without a struggle, inglorious, but do some big thing first, that men to come shall know of it.
[tr. Lattimore (1951)]

Now the appointed time's upon me. Still, I would not die without delivering a stroke, or die ingloriously, but in some action memorable to men in days to come.
[tr. Fitzgerald (1974)]

So now I meet my doom. Well let me die --
but not without struggle, not without glory, no,
in some great clash of arms that even men to come
will hear of down the years!
[tr. Fagles (1990), l. 359ff]

But now has my doom overcome me. But let me at least not die without making a fight, without glory, but a great deed having done for the men of the future to hear of.
[tr. Merrill (2007)]

May I not die without a fight and without glory
but after doing something big for men to come to learn about.
[tr. @Sentantiq (2011)]

 
Added on 24-Mar-21 | Last updated 8-Dec-21
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It’s a blessing to die for a cause, because you can so easily die for nothing.

Andrew Young (b. 1932) American politician, diplomat, activist
Interview by Peter Ross Range, Playboy (Jul 1977)
    (Source)
 
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Hector, stop!
You unforgivable, you … don’t talk to me of pacts.
There are no binding oaths between men and lions —
wolves and lambs can enjoy no meeting of the minds —
they are all bent on hating each other to the death.
So with you and me. No love between us. No truce
till one or the other falls and gluts with blood
Ares who hacks at men behind his rawhide shield.

[Ἕκτορ μή μοι ἄλαστε συνημοσύνας ἀγόρευε:
ὡς οὐκ ἔστι λέουσι καὶ ἀνδράσιν ὅρκια πιστά,
οὐδὲ λύκοι τε καὶ ἄρνες ὁμόφρονα θυμὸν ἔχουσιν,
ἀλλὰ κακὰ φρονέουσι διαμπερὲς ἀλλήλοισιν,
265ὣς οὐκ ἔστ᾽ ἐμὲ καὶ σὲ φιλήμεναι, οὐδέ τι νῶϊν
ὅρκια ἔσσονται, πρίν γ᾽ ἢ ἕτερόν γε πεσόντα
αἵματος ἆσαι Ἄρηα ταλαύρινον πολεμιστήν.]

Homer (fl. 7th-8th C. BC) Greek author
The Iliad [Ἰλιάς], Book 22, l. 261ff (22.261) [Achilles] (c. 750 BC) [tr. Fagles (1990), l. 308ff]
    (Source)

After Hector proposes a pact with Achilles that the winner of their battle will not abuse the corpse of his opponent. Original Greek. Alternate translations:

Hector, thou only pestilence in all mortality
To my sere spirits, never set the point ’twixt thee and me
Any conditions; but as far as men and lions fly
All terms of cov’nant, lambs and wolves; in so far opposite state,
Impossible for love t’ atone, stand we, till our souls satiate
The God of soldiers.
[tr. Chapman (1611), l. 224ff]

"Talk not of oaths," the dreadful chief replies,
While anger flashed from his disdainful eyes,
"Detested as thou art, and ought to be,
Nor oath nor pact Achilles plights with thee;
Such pacts, as lambs and rabid wolves combine,
Such leagues, as men and furious lions join,
To such I call the gods! one constant state
Of lasting rancour and eternal hate:
No thought but rage, and never-ceasing strife,
Till death extinguish rage, and thought, and life."
[tr. Pope (1715-20)]

Hector! my bitterest foe! speak not to me
Of covenants! as concord can be none
Lions and men between, nor wolves and lambs
Can be unanimous, but hate perforce
Each other by a law not to be changed,
So cannot amity subsist between
Thee and myself; nor league make I with thee
Or compact, till thy blood in battle shed
Or mine, shall gratify the fiery Mars.
[tr. Cowper (1791), l. 302ff]

Talk not to me of covenants, O most cursed Hector. As there are not faithful leagues between lions and men, nor yet have wolves and lambs an according mind, but ever meditate evils against each other; so it is not possible for thee and me to contract a friendship, nor shall there at all be leagues between us, -- first shall one, falling, satiate the invincible warrior Mars with his blood.
[tr. Buckley (1860)]

Hector, thou object of my deadly hate,
Talk not to me of compacts; as ’tween men
And lions no firm concord can exist,
Nor wolves and lambs in harmony unite,
But ceaseless enmity between them dwells:
So not in friendly terms, nor compact firm,
Can thou and I unite, till one of us
Glut with his blood the mail-clad warrior Mars.
[tr. Derby (1864)]

Hector, talk not to me, thou madman, of covenants. As between men and lions there is no pledge of faith, nor wolves and sheep can be of one mind, but imagine evil continually against each other, so is it impossible for thee and me to be friends, neither shall be any pledge between us until one or other shall have fallen and glutted with blood Ares, the stubborn god of war.
[tr. Leaf/Lang/Myers (1891)]

Fool, prate not to me about covenants. There can be no covenants between men and lions, wolves and lambs can never be of one mind, but hate each other out and out an through. Therefore there can be no understanding between you and me, nor may there be any covenants between us, till one or other shall fall and glut grim Mars with his life's blood.
[tr. Butler (1898)]

Hector, talk not to me, thou madman, of covenants. As between lions and men there are no oaths of faith, nor do wolves and lambs have hearts of concord but are evil-minded continually one against the other, even so is it not possible for thee and me to be friends, neither shall there be oaths between us till one or the other shall have fallen, and glutted with his blood Ares, the warrior with tough shield of hide.
[tr. Murray (1924)]

Hektor, I'll have no talk of pacts with you, forever unforgiven as you are. As between men and lions there are none, no concord between wolves and sheep, but all hold one another hateful through and through, so there can be no courtesy between us, no sworn truce until one of us is down and glutting with blood the wargod Arês.
[tr. Fitzgerald (1974)]

 
Added on 24-Feb-21 | Last updated 8-Dec-21
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Some things are fairly obvious when it’s a seven-foot skeleton with a scythe telling you them.

Terry Pratchett (1948-2015) English author
Hogfather (1996)
 
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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)
    (Source)
 
Added on 12-Feb-21 | Last updated 12-Feb-21
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Very truly, I tell you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains just a single grain; but if it dies, it bears much fruit.

The Bible (14th C BC - 2nd C AD) Christian sacred scripture
John 12:24 [NRSV]
    (Source)

Alternate translations:

  • "Verily, verily, I say unto you, except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone; but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit." [KJV]
  • "I am telling you the truth: a grain of wheat remains no more than a single grain unless it is dropped into the ground and dies. If it does die, then it produces many grains." [GNT]
  • "I tell you, most solemnly, unless a wheat grain falls on the ground and dies, it remains only a single grain; but if it dies, it yields a rich harvest." [Jerusalem Bible]
 
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And that comrade
who meets his death and destiny, speared or stabbed,
let him die! He dies fighting for fatherland —
no dishonor there!

[ὃς δέ κεν ὑμέων
βλήμενος ἠὲ τυπεὶς θάνατον καὶ πότμον ἐπίσπῃ
τεθνάτω: οὔ οἱ ἀεικὲς ἀμυνομένῳ περὶ πάτρης
τεθνάμεν.]

Homer (fl. 7th-8th C. BC) Greek author
The Iliad [Ἰλιάς], Book 15, l. 494ff (15.494) [Hector] (c. 750 BC) [tr. Fagles (1990), l. 574ff]
    (Source)

Original Greek. Alternate translations:

If any bravely buy
His fame or fate with wounds or death, in Jove’s name let him die.
Who for his country suffers death, sustains no shameful thing,
[tr. Chapman (1611), l. 452ff]

Death is the worst; a fate which all must try;
And for our country 'tis a bliss to die.
The gallant man, though slain in fight he be,
Yet leaves his nation safe, his children free;
Entails a debt on all the grateful state;
His own brave friends shall glory in his fate.
[tr. Pope (1715-20)]

Therefore stand fast, and whosoever gall’d
By arrow or by spear, dies -- let him die;
It shall not shame him that he died to serve
His country.
[tr. Cowper (1791), l. 599ff]

Whichever of you, wounded or stricken, shall draw on his death and fate, let him die; it is not inglorious to him to die fighting for his country.
[tr. Buckley (1860)]

And if there be among you, who this day
Shall meet his doom, by sword or arrow slain,
E’en let him die! a glorious death is his
Who for his country falls.
[tr. Derby (1864)]

If any of you is struck by spear or sword and loses his life, let him die; he dies with honour who dies fighting for his country.
[tr. Butler (1898)]

If so be any of you, smitten by dart or thrust, shall meet death and fate, let him lie in death. No unseemly thing is it for him to die while fighting for his country.
[tr. Murray (1924)]

And if one finds
his death, his end, in some spear-thrust or cast,
then that is that, and no ignoble death
for a man defending his own land.
[tr. Fitzgerald (1974)]
 
Added on 27-Jan-21 | Last updated 1-Dec-21
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It is often said that before you die your life passes before your eyes. It is in fact true. It’s called living.

Terry Pratchett (1948-2015) English author
Thief of Time (2001)
 
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When we are children, we have childish interests, but do young men miss them? And when we are middle-aged, do we want what young men want? Similarly, old men are not remotely involved in the needs of middle age; they have their own. Therefore we may argue that as the concerns of each earlier stage of life fade away, so eventually do those of old age. And when that happens, we have had enough of life and we are ready for death.

[Omnino, ut mihi quidem videtur studiorum omnium satietas vitae facit satietatem. Sunt pueritiae studia certa: num igitur ea desiderant adulescentes? Sunt ineuntis adulescentiae: num ea constans iam requirit aetas, quae media dicitur? Sunt etiam eius aetatis: ne ea quidem quaeruntur in senectute. Sunt extrema quaedam studia senectutis: ergo, ut superiorum aetatum studia occidunt, sic occidunt etiam senectutis; quod cum evenit, satietas vitae tempus maturum mortis affert.]

Marcus Tullius Cicero (106-43 BC) Roman orator, statesman, philosopher
Cato Maior de Senectute [Discourse on Old Age], ch. 20 / sec. 76 (44 BC) [tr. Cobbold (2012)]
    (Source)

Original Latin. Alt. trans.:

Truly me thinks that the satiety of all things makes also a satiety of life. There are certain studies in children, shall young men desire them? there are others in youth, shall age require them? and there be studies in the last age: therefore as the studies of former ages fail, so do the studies of old age, so that when the satiety or fulnesse of life commeth, it bringeth also a fit time for death.
[tr. Austin (17th C)]

By living long we come to a Satiety in all things besides and this should naturally lead us to a Satiety of Life itself. Children we see have their particular Diversions; and does Youth, when past Childhood, pursue or desire the same? Youth also has its peculiar Exercises; and does full Manhood require these as before? Or has Old Age the same Inclinations that prevailed in more vigorous Years? We ought then to conclude, That as there is a Succession of Pursuits and Pleasures in the several Stages of Life, the one dying away, as the other advances and takes Place; so in the same Manner are those of Old Age to pass off in their Turn. And when this Satiety of Life has fully ripen'd us, we are then quietly to lie down in Death, as our last Resting-Place, where all Anxiety ends, and Cares and Fears subsist no more.
[tr. Logan (1734)]

The distaste with which, in passing through the several stages of our present being, we leave behind us the respective enjoyments peculiar to each; must necessarily, I should think, in the close of its latest period, render life itself no longer desirable. Infancy and youth, manhood and old age, have each of them their peculiar and appropriate pursuits. But does youth regret the toys of infancy, or manhood lament that no longer as a taste for the amusements of youth? The season of manhood has also its suitable objects, that are exchanged for others in old age; and these too, like all the preceding, become languid and insipt in their turn. Now when this state of absolute satiety is at length arrived; when we have enjoyed the satisfactions peculiar to old age, till we have no longer any relish remaining for them; it is then that death may justly be considered as a mature an seasonable event.
[tr. Melmoth (1773)]

In fine, satiety of life, as it seems to me, creates satiety of pursuits of every kind. There are certain pursuits belonging to boyhood; do grown-up young men therefore long for them? There are others appertaining to early youth; are they required in the sedate period of life which we call middle age? This, too, has its own pursuits, and they are not sought in old age. As the pursuits of earlier periods of life fail, so in like manner do those of old age. When this period is reached, satiety of life brings a season ripe for death.
[tr. Peabody (1884)]

On the whole, as it seems to me indeed, a satiety of all pursuits causes a satiety of life. There are pursuits peculiar to boyhood; do therefore young men regret the loss of them? There are also some of early youth; does that now settled age, which is called middle life, seek after these? There are also some of this period; neither are they looked for by old age. There are some final pursuits of old age; accordingly, as the pursuits of the earlier parts of life fall into disuse, so also do those of old age; and when this has taken place, satiety of life brings on the seasonable period of death.
[tr. Edmonds (1865)]

As a general truth, as it seems to me, it is weariness of all pursuits that creates weariness of life. There are certain pursuits adapted to childhood: do young men miss them? There are others suited to early manhood: does that settled time of life called "middle age" ask for them? There are others, again, suited to that age, but not looked for in old age. There are, finally, some which belong to old age. Therefore, as the pursuits of the earlier ages have their time for disappearing, so also have those of old age. And when that takes place, a satiety of life brings on the ripe time for death.
[tr. Shuckburgh (1895)]

To put it in a word, it seems to me
'Tis weariness of all pursuits that makes
A weary age. We have pursuits as boys,
Do young men want them? Others yet there are
Suited to growing years, are they required
By those who've reached what's termed "the middle age"?
That too enjoys its own, but are they fit
For us old me? We have our own of course,
And as the others end, just so do ours,
And when it happens, weariness of life
Proclaims that ripeness which precedes our death.
[tr. Allison (1916)]

Undoubtedly, as it seems to me at least, satiety of all pursuits causes satiety of life. Boyhood has certain pursuits: does youth yearn for them? Early youth has its pursuits: does the matured or so-called middle stage of life need them? Maturity, too, has such as are not even sought in old age, and finally, there are those suitable to old age. Therefore as the pleasures and pursuits of the earlier periods of life fall away, so also do those of old age; and when that happens man has his fill of life and the time is ripe for him to go.
[tr. Falconer (1923)]

It seems to me you have had enough of life when you have had your fill of all its activities. Little boys enjoy certain things, but older youths to not yearn for these. Young adulthood has its delights, but middle age does not desire them. There are also pleasures of middle age, but these are not sought in old age. And so, justas the pleasures of earlier ages fall away, so do those of old age. When this happens, you have had enough of life, and it is time for you to pass on.
[tr. Freeman (2016)]
 
Added on 15-Dec-20 | Last updated 15-Dec-20
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