How some they have died,
and some they have left me
And some are taken from me
all have departed
All, all are gone,
The old familiar faces!
O, but they say the tongues of dying men
Enforce attention like deep harmony
Where words are scarce, they are
seldom spent in vain
For they breathe truth that breathe
their words in pain.
No young man ever thinks he shall die. He may believe that others will or assent to the doctrine that all men are mortal as an abstract proposition. But he is far enough from bringing it home to himself individually. Youth, buoyant activity and animal spirits, hold absolute antipathy with old age as well as death....
(Hazlitt : Table Talk)
All men think all men mortal but themselves.
(Edward Young : 1683-1765)
Cattle and fat sheep are things
to be had for the lifting,
And tripods can be won and
the tawny high heads of horses.
But a man's life cannot come back again,
it cannot be lifted
Nor captured again by force, once it has
crossed the teeth's barrier.
(Homer : 900 BC : The Iliad : Achilles' Rage)
... And I will leave. But the birds will stay singing.
And my garden will stay with its green trees with its water well.
Many afternoons the skies will be blue and placid and the bells in the belfry will chime as they are chiming this very afternoon.
The people who have loved me will pass away and the town will burst anew every year. But my spirit will always wander
nostalgic in the same recondite corner of my flowery garden.
(Juan Ramon Jimenez : from Spanish - EI Viaje Definitive : The Definite Journey)
No man at all can be living forever and we must be satisfied.
(J. M. Synge : 1871-1909 : Riders to the Sea)
How wonderful is Death : Death and his brother sleep!
(Percy Bysshe Shelley : 1792-1822)
And come he slow or come he fast,
It is but Death who comes at last.
(Sir Walter Scott : 1771-1832)
Pale Death with impartial foot knocks at the doors of poor men's hovels and of king's palaces.
(Horace : 65BC)
This world is but a thurgh fare full of wo,
And we ben pilgrimes, pas singe, to and fro;
Death is an ende of every worldly sore.
(Geoffrey Chaucer : 1340-1400 : The Canterbury Tales)
All humane things are subject to decay.
And, when Fate summons, monarchs must obey.
(John Dryden : 1631-1700)
Insurance agents carefully begin, "If something should happen to you ... “or "With all due respects, sir, we must be ready if something should happen to us ..." But death is a certainty, not a possibility.