Great Throughts Treasury

A database of quotes


"Love lent me wings; my path was like a stair; a lamp unto my feet, that sun was given; and death was safety and great joy to find; but dying now, I shall not climb to Heaven." - Michelangelo, aka Michaelangelo Buonarroti, fully Michelangelo di Lodovico Buonarroti Simoni NULL

"Philosophy... consists in keeping the demon within a man free from violence and unharmed, superior to pains and pleasures, doing nothing without a purpose, nor feeling the need of another man’s doing or not doing anything; and besides, accepting all that happens, and all that is allotted, as coming from thence, wherever it is, from whence he himself came; and, finally, waiting for death with a cheerful mind." - Marcus Aurelius, Marcus Aurelius Antoninus Augustus

"I encounter death not so much as a problem to be solved, nor a puzzle to be pieced together, but as a mystery to be experienced. Death, whatever its meaning and real nature, seems always to elude us. It is, always and finally, a mystery. And mystery refuses to be captured and be used. We do not capture it, but are captured by it. And being captured, we can be 'engaged' to death and allow it to reveal its depth and richness." - Mitsuo "Mits" Aoki

"How bitter is the thought of death to him who lives at peace!" - Apocrypha NULL

"I regret not death. I am going to meet my friends in another world." - Ludovico Ariosto

"I am a particle of this organism called the earth... Life is because life must be... Life and death are cosmic breath... Each person designs his own destiny... The purpose of life is to continue developing consciousness." - Freddy Arevalo, aka Don Valerio Cohaila

"Righteous men are greater after their death than during their lifetime." - Babylonian Talmud

"Death foreseen is the hatefullest death to man." - Bacchylides NULL

"It is the responsibility of free men to trust and to celebrate what is constant - birth, struggle, and death are constant - and so is love, though we may not always think so - and to apprehend the nature of change, to be able and willing to change. I speak of change not on the surface but in the depths - change in the sense of renewal. But renewal becomes impossible if one supposes things to be constant that are not - safety, for example, or money or power. One clings then to chimeras, but which one can only be betrayed, and the entire hope - the entire possibility - of freedom disappears." -

"Life, the permission to know death." - Djuna Chappell Barnes

"What a power has Death to awe and hush the voices of this earth! How mute we stand when that presence confronts us, and we look upon the silence he has wrought in a human life! We can only gaze, and bow our heads, and creep with our broken stammering utterances under the shelter of some great word which God has spoken, and in which we see through the history of human sorrow the outstretching and overshadowing of the eternal arms." - W. W. Battershall

"Spend your time in nothing which you know must be repented of; in nothing on which you might not pray for the blessing of God; in nothing which you could not review with a quiet conscience on your dying bed; in nothing which you might not safely and properly be found doing if death should surprise you in the act." - Richard Baxter

"Never chase a lie. Let it alone, and it will run itself to death. I can work out a good character much faster than anyone can lie me out of it." - Lyman Beecher

"I have set before thee life and death, blessing and cursing, therefore choose life." - Bible or The Bible or Holy Bible NULL

"Do not grieve. Misfortunes will happen to the wisest and best of men. Death will come, always out of season. It is the command of the Great Spirit, and all nations and people must obey. What is past and what cannot be prevented should not be grieved for... Misfortunes do not flourish particularly in our lives - they grow everywhere." - Big Elk, aka Ontopanga NULL

"Sleep and death - they differ in duration rather than in quality. Perhaps both are sojourns in the spiritual, the real world. In one case our carriage waits nightly to take us back from the entrance of slumber, while in the other, having arrived at our destination and with no further use for the carriage..." -

"We are to live with life and die with death, not separated from them. The problem of suffering is insoluble, because we think of ourselves as apart from pain and death, in opposition to them. We can be free from change only by changing with it." - R. H. Blyth, fully Reginald Horace Blyth

"One day when famine had wrought great misery in Russia a beggar, weak, emaciated, all but starved to death, asked for alms. Tolstoy searched his pockets for a coin but discovered that he was without as much as a copper piece. Taking the beggar's worn hands between his own, he said: "Do not be angry with me brother; I have nothing with me." The thin, lined face of the beggar became illumined as from some inner light, and he whispered in reply: "But you called me brother - that was a great gift."" - Wesley Boyd

"Yes, as my swift days near their goal, 'Tis all that I implore: In life and death a chainless soul, With courage to endure." - Emily Brontë, fully Emily Jane Brontë, aka pseudonym Ellis Bell

"Death never happens but once, yet we feel it every moment of our lives." - Jean de La Bruyère

"There are but three events which concern men: birth, life and death. They are unconscious of their birth, they suffer when they die, and they neglect to live." - Jean de La Bruyère

"The press, important as is its office, is but the servant of the human intellect, and its ministry is for good or for evil, according to the character of those who direct it. The press is a mill which grinds all that is put into its hopper. Fill he hopper with poisoned grain, and it will grind it to meal, but there is death in the bread." - William Cullen Bryant

"Buddhist Sutra from Sanskrit “The Heart of the Prajnaparamita” - All dharmas are marked with emptiness; they are neither produced nor destroyed, neither defiled nor immaculate, neither increasing nor decreasing. Therefore, in emptiness there is neither form, nor feeling, nor perception, nor mental functioning, nor consciousness; no eye, or ear, or nose, or tongue, or body, or mind; no form, no sound, no smell, no taste, no touchable, no object of mind, no realm of elements (from sight to mind-consciousness), no interdependent origins (from ignorance to death and decay), no extinction of death and decay, no suffering, no origination, no extinction, no path, no wisdom, no attainment." -

"Ere yet we yearn for what is out of our reach, we are still in the cradle. When wearied out with our yearnings, desire again falls asleep, we are on the death-bed." - Edward Bulwer-Lytton, 1st Baron Lytton, fully Edward George Earle Lytton Bulwer-Lytton, Lord Lytton

"If life must not be taken too seriously, then so neither must death." - Samuel Butler

"It is death, and not what comes after death, that men are generally afraid of." - Samuel Butler

"Life is the art of drawing sufficient conclusions from insufficient premises... If life is an illusion, then so is death-the greatest of all illusions. If life must not be taken too seriously-then neither must death." - Samuel Butler

"The history of the world is the record of the weakness, frailty and death of public opinion." - Samuel Butler

"The longer I live, the more I am certain that the difference between men, between the feeble and the powerful, between the great and the insignificant, is energy - invincible determination - a purpose once fixed, and then death or victory." - Thomas Buxton, fully Sir Thomas Fowell Buxton, 1st Baronet

"Experience has taught me that the only friends we can call our own, who can have no change, are those over whom the grave has closed; the seal of death is the only seal of friendship." -

"Heaven gives its favorites early death." -

"Must I consume my life - this little life, in guarding against all may make it less? It is not worth so much! - it were to die before my hour, to live in dread of death." -

"The meaning of life cannot be separated from the meaning of death. Even the sun dies, so death is natural too. Only suffering must be appeased." - Henri Cartier-Bresson

"Death comes not to the living soul, nor age to the loving heart." - Phoebe Cary

"The thing to do when you're impatient is to turn to your left and ask advice from your death. It is always on our left, as at arms length. An immense amount of pettiness is dropped if your death makes a gesture to you, or if you have the feeling that your companion is there watching you. How can anyone feel so important when we know that death is stalking us? Death is the only wise advise that we have. When we feel that everything is gong wrong, turn to your death and ask if that is so. Your death will tell you that you're wrong. That nothing really matters outside its touch. Ask death's advice and drop the cursed pettiness that belongs to men that live their lives as if death will never tap them... It doesn't matter what the decision is. Nothing could be more or less serious than anything else. In a world where death is the hunter there are no small or big decisions. There are only decisions we make in the face of our inevitable death." -

"The only popularity worth aspiring after, is the popularity of the heart - the popularity that is won in the bosom of families, and at the side of death beds." - Allan Chalmers, fully Allan Knight Chalmers

"Death is not an end, but a transition crisis. All the forms of decay are but masks of regeneration - the secret alembics of vitality." - Edwin Hubbell Chapin

"Beauty is an omnipresence of death and loveliness, a smiling sadness that we discern in nature and all things, a mystic communion that the poet feels." - Charlie Chaplin, formally Sir Charles Spencer Chaplin

"Ah is the shortest of human cries, Oh the longest. Man is born in an Ah and dies in an Oh, for birth is immediate and death is like an airplane taking off." -

"All that happens in the world of nature and man - every war, every peace, every horn of prosperity, every horn of adversity, every election, every death, every life, every success and every failure, all change, all permanence, the perished leer, the unutterable glory of stars - all things speak truth in the thoughtful spirit." - Rufus Choate

"Knowing the reality and certainty of death reminds us that we do not have time to be casual or thoughtless with our lives. We only have time to live." - Sarah Cirese

"Death to a good man is but passing through a dark entry, out of one little dusky room of his Father’s house into another that is fair and large, light-some and glorious, and divinely entertaining." - Adam Clarke

"It takes time for the absent to assume their true shape in our thoughts. After death they take on a firmer outline and then cease to change." -

"It is good... to try in imagination to give to any one species an advantage over another. Probably in no single instance should we know what to do. This ought to convince us of our ignorance on the mutual relations of all organic beings; a conviction as necessary as it is difficult to acquire. All that we can do, is to keep steadily in mind that each organic being is striving to increase in a geometrical ration; that each at some period of its life, during some season of the year, during each generation or at intervals, has to struggle for life and to suffer great destruction. When we reflect on this struggle, we may console ourselves with the full belief, that the war of nature is not incessant, that no fear is felt, that death is generally prompt, and that the vigorous, the healthy, and the happy survive and multiply." - Charles Darwin, fully Charles Robert Darwin

"It is interesting to contemplate a tangled bank, clothed with many plants of many kinds, with birds singing on the bushes, with various insects flitting about, and with worms crawling through the damp earth, and to reflect that these elaborately constructed forms, so different from each other, and dependent upon each other in so complex a manner, have all been produced by laws acting around us. These laws, taken in the largest sense, being Growth with Reproduction; Inheritance which is almost implied by reproduction; Variability from the indirect and direct action of the conditions of life and from use and disuse: a Ratio of Increase so high as to lead to a Struggle for Life, and as a consequence to Natural Selection, entailing Divergence of Character and the Extinction of less-improved forms, Thus, from the war of nature, from famine and death, the most exalted object which we are capable of conceiving, namely, the production of the higher animals, directly follows. There is grandeur in this view of life, with its several powers, having been originally breathed by the Creator into a few forms or into one; and that, whilst this planet has gone cycling on according to the fixed law of gravity, from so simple a beginning endless forms most beautiful and wonderful have been, and are being evolved." - Charles Darwin, fully Charles Robert Darwin

"Anticipate our sorrows? 'Tis like those that die for fear of death." - John Denham, fully Sir John Denham

"The poets were among the first to realize the hollowness of a world in which love is made to seem as standardized as plumbing, and death is actually a mechanized industry." - Babette Deutsch

"Some people study all their life, and at their death they have learned everything except to think." - Faith Domergue