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It’s so hard to forget pain, but it’s even harder to remember sweetness. We have no scar to show for happiness. We learn so little from peace.

Chuck Palahniuk (b. 1962) American novelist and freelance journalist
Diary (2003)
Added on 29-May-17 | Last updated 29-May-17
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Darkness and light divide the course of time, and oblivion shares with memory a great part even of our living beings; we slightly remember our felicities, and the smartest strokes of affliction leave but short smart upon us. Sense endureth no extremities and sorrows destroy us or themselves. To weep into Stones are fables. Afflictions induce callousities, miseries are slippery, or fall like Snow upon us, which notwithstanding is no unhappy stupidity. To be ignorant of evils to come, and forgetful of evils past, is a merciful provision in nature, whereby we digest the mixture of our few and evil days, and our delivered senses not relapsing into cutting remembrances, our sorrows are not kept raw by the edge of repetitions.

Thomas Browne (1605-1682) English physician and author
Hydriotaphia, or Urne-Buriall, ch. 5 (1658)
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Added on 29-May-17 | Last updated 29-May-17
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It was later that the story of Windle Poons really came to an end, if “story” means all that he did and caused and set in motion. In the Ramtop village where they dance the real Morris dance, for example, they believe that no one is finally dead until the ripples they cause in the world die away — until the clock he wound up winds down, until the wine she made has finished its ferment, until the crop they planted is harvested. The span of someone’s life, they say, is only the core of their actual existence.

Terry Pratchett (1948-2015) English author
Reaper Man (1991)
Added on 29-May-17 | Last updated 29-May-17
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I hate that I’ve become one of those old men who visits a cemetery to be with his dead wife. When I was (much) younger I used to ask Kathy what the point would be. A pile of rotting meat and bones that used to be a person isn’t a person anymore; it’s just a pile of rotting meat and bones. The person is gone — off to heaven or hell or wherever or nowhere. You might as well visit a side of beef.

When you get older you realize this is still the case. You just don’t care. It’s what you have.

John Scalzi (b. 1969) American writer
Old Man’s War (2005)
Added on 16-Aug-16 | Last updated 16-Aug-16
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Posthumous charities are the very essence of selfishness, when bequeathed by those who, when alive, would part with nothing.

Charles Caleb "C. C." Colton (1780-1832) English cleric, writer
Lacon: or, Many Things in Few Words, #341 (1821 ed.)
Added on 30-Jul-16 | Last updated 30-Jul-16
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Wouldst thou find my ashes? Look
In the pages of my book;
And, as these thy hands doth turn,
Know here is my funeral urn.

Adelaide Crapsey (1878-1914) American poet
“The Immortal Residue” (1915)
Added on 26-May-16 | Last updated 26-May-16
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The Church does not superstitiously observe days, merely as days, but as memorials of important facts. Christmas might be kept as well upon one day of the year as another; but there should be a stated day for commemorating the birth of our Savior, because there is danger that what may be done on any day, will be neglected.

Samuel Johnson (1709-1784) English writer, lexicographer, critic
Comment (22 Mar 1767)
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In James Boswell, The Life of Samuel Johnson (1791)
Added on 24-Dec-15 | Last updated 24-Dec-15
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For I know not why we should delay our tokens of respect to those who deserve them, until the heart that our sympathy could have gladdened has ceased to beat. As men cannot read the epitaphs inscribed upon the marble that covers them, so the tombs that we erect to virtue often only prove our repentance that we neglected it when with us.

Edward George Bulwer-Lytton (1803-1873) English novelist and politician
Letter to F. T. Mappin (25 Sep 1855)
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Quoted in The Illustrated London News, Vol. 27 (6 Oct 1855)
Added on 6-Oct-14 | Last updated 6-Oct-14
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War would end if the dead could return.

Stanley Baldwin (1867-1947) British Conservative politician, Prime Minister
(Attributed)
Added on 26-May-14 | Last updated 26-May-14
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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)
Added on 17-Mar-14 | Last updated 17-Mar-14
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And is he dead whose glorious mind
Lifts thine on high?
To live in the hearts we leave
Is not to die!

Campbell - not to die - wist_info

Thomas Campbell (1777–1844) Scottish poet
“Hallowed Ground” (1825)
Added on 8-Feb-11 | Last updated 19-Nov-15
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Let the sweet Muses lead me to their soft retreats, their living fountains, and melodious groves, where I may dwell remote from care, master of myself … let me no more be seen in the wrangling forum, a pale and odious candidate for precarious fame … let me live free from solicitude … and when nature shall give the signal to retire may I possess no more than I may bequeath to whom I will. At my funeral let no token of sorrow be seen, no pompous mockery of woe. Crown me with chaplets; strew flowers on my grave, and let my friends erect no vain memorial to tell where my remains are lodged.

Tacitus (c.56-c.120) Roman historian, orator, politician [Publius or Gaius Cornelius Tacitus]
“A Dialogue on Oratory,” sec. 13, Dialogus, Agricola, Germania

In The Works of Tacitus, Oxford trans., rev., vol. 2, (1854). The above is the version read at the funeral for Justice Hugo Black. The printed version differs in reading, at the start, "Me let the sweet Muses lead," and in using "anxious" for "odious."

Alt trans. (Peterson (1914)): "As for myself, may the 'sweet Muses,' as Virgil says, bear me away to their holy places where sacred streams do flow, beyond the reach of anxiety and care, and free from the obligation of performing each day some task that goes against the grain. May I no longer have anything to do with the mad racket and the hazards of the forum, or tremble as I try a fall with white-faced Fame. I do not want to be roused from sleep by the clatter of morning callers or by some breathless messenger from the palace; I do not care, in drawing my will, to give a money-pledge for its safe execution through anxiety as to what is to happen afterwards; I wish for no larger estate than I can leave to the heir of my own free choice. Some day or other the last hour will strike also for me, and my prayer is that my effigy may be set up beside my grave, not grim and scowling, but all smiles and garlands, and that no one shall seek to honour my memory either by a motion in the senate or by a petition to the Emperor."
Added on 16-Apr-10 | Last updated 20-Jun-16
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I didn’t attend the funeral, but I sent a nice letter saying I approved of it.

Mark Twain (1835-1910) American writer [pseud. of Samuel Clemens]
(Attributed)
Added on 9-Nov-06 | Last updated 26-Jan-19
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Let us so live that when we come to die even the undertaker will be sorry.

Mark Twain (1835-1910) American writer [pseud. of Samuel Clemens]
The Tragedy of Pudd’n’head Wilson, ch. 6 (1894)

Sometimes given: "Let us endeavor so to live that ..."
Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 26-Jan-19
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