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Wallace StevensDeath is the mother of beauty. Only the perishable can be beautiful, which is why we are unmoved by artificial flowers.

—  Wallace Stevens, 1879-1955, American poet

T. S. EliotThere is one who remembers the way to your door: Life you may evade, but Death you shall not.

—  T. S. Eliot, 1888-1965, British poet, Nobel 1948

Wilson MiznerStop dying. Am trying to write a comedy.

—  Wilson Mizner, 1876-1913, American playwright

     (telegram to his ill brother)

Wilson MiznerI want a priest, a rabbi and a Protestant minister. I want to hedge my bets.

—  Wilson Mizner, 1876-1913, American playwright

     (on his deathbed)

Steve JobsRemembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart.

—  Steve Jobs, 1955-2011, American businessman

Benjamin FranklinA dying man can do nothing easy.

—  Benjamin Franklin, 1706-1790, American politician & writer

     (his last words)

Eugene O’NeillI knew it! I knew it! Born in a hotel room and, goddamn it, dying in a hotel room.

—  Eugene O’Neill, 1888-1953, American playwright, Nobel 1936

     (his last words)

John DrydenTo die is landing on some distant shore.

—  John Dryden, 1631-1700, English poet

Arthur ClarkeBehind every man now alive stand thirty ghosts, for that is the ratio by which the dead outnumber the living.

—  Arthur Clarke, 1917-2008, British Sci-Fi writer

Emile M. CioranOne of the greatest delusions of the average man is to forget that life is death's prisoner.

—  Emile M. Cioran, 1911-1995, French-Romanian philosopher

Lao-TzuLife and death are one thread, the same line viewed from different sides.

—  Lao-Tzu, 6th cent. BC, Chinese philosopher

NapoleonDeath is nothing, but to live defeated and inglorious is to die daily.

—  Napoleon, 1769-1821, French Emperor

Michel de MontaigneIt is not death, it is dying that alarms me.

—  Michel de Montaigne, 1533-1592, French thinker

Otto von BismarckAnyone who has ever looked into the glazed eyes of a soldier dying on the battlefield will think hard before starting a war.

—  Otto von Bismarck, 1815-1898, German chancellor

Benjamin FranklinMost people die at 25 and aren’t buried until they’re 75.

—  Benjamin Franklin, 1706-1790, American politician & writer

Andy WarholI never think that people die. They just go to department stores.

—  Andy Warhol, 1928-1987, American artist

Julius CaesarWhich death is preferably to every other? The unexpected.

—  Julius Caesar, 101-14 BC, Roman general & Consul

Oscar WildeDeath is the only thing that ever terrifies me. I hate it. One can survive everything nowadays except that.

—  Oscar Wilde, 1854-1900, Irish writer

Manolis DoukidesDeath: I would like to know who makes this bad joke on us.

—  Manolis Doukides, Greek writer

Eric HofferA great man's greatest good luck is to die at the right time.

—  Eric Hoffer, 1902-1983, American writer & philosopher

Charles Caleb ColtonDeath is the liberator of him whom freedom cannot release, the physician of him whom medicine cannot cure, and the comforter of him whom time cannot console.

—  Charles Caleb Colton, 1780-1832, English cleric & writer

Antonio PorchiaWhen I die, I will not see myself die, for the first time.

—  Antonio Porchia, 1885-1968, Italian-Argentinian poet

Albert CamusMaman died today. Or maybe yesterday; I can't be sure.

Aujourd'hui maman est morte. Ou peut-être hier, je ne sais pas.

—  Albert Camus, 1913-1960, French writer, Nobel 1957

     (first sentences of “The Stranger”)

Albert CamusSince we're all going to die, it's obvious that when and how don't matter.

—  Albert Camus, 1913-1960, French writer, Nobel 1957

Francis BaconDeath is a friend of ours; and he that is not ready to entertain him is not at home.

—  Francis Bacon, 1561-1626, English philosopher

Stanislaw Jerzy LecI am against using death as a punishment. I am also against using it as a reward.

—  Stanislaw Jerzy Lec, 1906-1966, Polish author of maxims

La RochefoucauldNeither the sun nor death can be looked at steadily.

—  La Rochefoucauld, 1613-1680, French writer

Jean CocteauI have a piece of great and sad news to tell you: I am dead.

—  Jean Cocteau, 1889-1963, French artist

Jean CocteauI only fear the death of others. For me, true death is that of the people I love.

—  Jean Cocteau, 1889-1963, French artist

Victor HugoIt is nothing to die. It is frightful not to live.

—  Victor Hugo, 1802-1885, French writer

Sigmund FreudNone believes in his own death. In the unconscious everyone is convinced of his own immortality.

—  Sigmund Freud, 1856-1939, Austrian psychologist, founder of psychoanalysis

George SantayanaOnly the dead have seen the end of war.

—  George Santayana, 1863-1952, Spanish-American philosopher

Elbert HubbardNo matter how long you live, die young.

—  Elbert Hubbard, 1856-1915, American writer

William ShakespeareAs flies to wanton boys are we to the gods.
They kill us for their sport.

—  William Shakespeare, 1564-1616, English poet & playwright ‐ King Lear

T. S. EliotWe don't actually fear death, we fear that no one will notice our absence, that we will disappear without a trace.

—  T. S. Eliot, 1888-1965, British poet, Nobel 1948

Bob DylanAll this talk about equality. The only thing people really have in common is that they are all going to die.

—  Bob Dylan, 1941-, American singer [Nobel 2016]

Anton ChekhovWhich executioner is the more humane, he who kills you in a few minutes or he who drags the life out of you in the course of many years.

—  Anton Chekhov, 1860-1904, Russian writer

Anton ChekhovDeath is terrible, but still more terrible is the feeling that you might live for ever and never die.

—  Anton Chekhov, 1860-1904, Russian writer

William ShakespeareCowards die many times before their deaths; The valiant never taste of death but once.

—  William Shakespeare, 1564-1616, English poet & playwright ‐ Julius Caesar

Latin Quotes

Latin proverbDeath has the last word.

Mors ultima ratio.

—  Latin proverb

SenecaLet us live, since we must die.

Vivamus, moriendum est.

—  Seneca, 4 AD-65 AD, Roman philosopher

HoraceOne night awaits everyone.

Omnes una manet nox.

—  Horace, 65-8 BC, Roman poet

HoraceI shall not wholly die.

Non omnis moriar.

—  Horace, 65-8 BC, Roman poet

Latin phraseRemember death.

Memento mori.

—  Latin phrase

CiceroThey lived.


—  Cicero, 106-43 BC, Roman orator & statesman

     (after the execution of the participants in the Catilinarian conspiracy; meaning: “they are dead”)


Quotes in Verse

Oscar WildeFor he who lives more lives than one
More deaths than one must die.

—  Oscar Wilde, 1854-1900, Irish writer

John DrydenAll human things are subject to decay,
And, when fate summons, monarchs must obey.

—  John Dryden, 1631-1700, English poet

Robert FrostForgive, O Lord, my little jokes on Thee
And I'll forgive Thy great big one on me.

—  Robert Frost, 1874-1963, American poet

Funny Quotes

Woody AllenIt’s not that I’m afraid to die. I just don’t want to be there when it happens.

—  Woody Allen, 1935-, American actor & film director

Henry YoungmanA doctor gave a man six months to live. The man couldn't pay his bill, so he gave him another six months.

—  Henry Youngman, 1906-1998, American comedian

Mark TwainThe report of my death was an exaggeration.

—  Mark Twain, 1835-1910, American writer

Kurt VonnegutOne of the few good things about modern times: If you die horribly on television, you will not have died in vain. You will have entertained us.

—  Kurt Vonnegut, 1922-2007, American writer

Sam GoldwynI don't think anybody should write his autobiography until after he's dead.

—  Sam Goldwyn, 1879-1974, American film producer

George BurnsHow can I die? I'm booked.

—  George Burns, 1896-1996, American comedian

George BurnsI get up every morning and read the obituary column. If my name's not there, I eat breakfast.

—  George Burns, 1896-1996, American comedian

Ancient Greek

MenanderHe whom the gods love dies young.

Ον γαρ οι Θεοί φιλούσιν, αποθνήσκει νέος.

—  Menander, 4th cent. BC, Ancient Greek dramatist (New Comedy)

EpicurusDeath is nothing to us. Because something which is decomposed has no senses while something without senses is nothing to us.

Ο θάνατος ουδέν προς ημάς· το γαρ διαλυθέν αναισθητεί· το δ' αναισθητούν ουδέν προς ημάς.

—  Epicurus, 341-270 BC, Ancient Greek philosopher

HeraclitusCorpses are more useless than dung.

Νέκυες κοπρίων εκβλητότεροι.

—  Heraclitus, 544-484 BC, Ancient Greek philosopher

EpicurusDeath, therefore, the most awful of evils, is nothing to us, seeing that, when we are, death is not come, and when death is come, we are not.

Το φρικωδέστατον ουν των κακών ο θάνατος ουθέν προς ημάς͵ επειδήπερ όταν μεν ημείς ώμεν͵ ο θάνατος ου πάρεστιν͵ όταν δε ο θάνατος παρῇ͵ τόθ΄ ημείς ουκ εσμέν.

—  Epicurus, 341-270 BC, Ancient Greek philosopher


American Indian proverbLife is not separate from death. It only looks that way.

—  American Indian proverb ‐ Blackfoot

Movie Quotes

Bananas (1971)- You have a chance to die for freedom.
- Yes, well, freedom is wonderful. On the other hand, if you're dead, it's a tremendous drawback to your sex life.

—  from the film Bananas (1971)

Alphaville (1965)What is the privilege of the dead? To die no more.

—  from the film Alphaville (1965)

Alphaville (1965)Yes, I am afraid of death. But for a humble secret agent, it's an everyday thing, like whiskey. And I've been drinking all my life.

—  from the film Alphaville (1965)

Night of the Living Dead (1968)Yeah, they're dead. They're all messed up.

—  from the film Night of the Living Dead (1968)


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