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"O Charidas, what of the under world?"
"And what of the resurrection?"
"A fable; we perish utterly."
- Callimachus, On Charidas of Cyrene,
translated by J.W. Mackail in "Select Epigrams from the Greek Anthology", also see Callimachus, "Epigrams", XIV, l. 3
No man is an island, entire of itself; every man is a piece of the main. If a clod be washed away by the sea, Europe is the less, as well as if a promontory were, as well as if a manor of thy friendís or of thine own were: any manís death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind, and therefore never send to know for whom the bells tolls; it tolls for thee.
- Dr. John Donne,
Devotions upon Emegent Occasions
How strange is the lot of us mortals! Each of us is here for a brief sojourn; for what purpose he knows not, though he senses it. But without deeper reflection one knows from daily life that one exists for other people.
- Albert Einstein
To smell a fresh turf of earth is wholesome for the body; no less are thoughts of mortality cordial to the soul. "Dust thou art, and unto dust thou shalt return."
- Thomas Fuller (1)
To smell to a turf of fresh earth is wholesome for the body; no less are thoughts of mortality cordial to the soul.
- Thomas Fuller (1), Holy and Profane States
(bk. IV, The Court Lady)
To contemplation's sober eye,
Such is the race of man;
And they that creep, and they that fly,
Shall end where they began,
Alike the busy and the gay,
But flutter through life's little day.
- Thomas Gray
That flesh is but the glasse, which holds the dust
That measures all our time; which also shall
Be crumbled into dust.
- George Herbert,
The Temple--Church Monuments
'Tis a stern and a startling thing to think
How often mortality stands on the brink
Of its grave without any misgiving;
And yet in this slippery world of strife,
In the stir of human bustle so rife,
There are daily sounds to tell us that Life
Is dying, and Death is living!
- Thomas Hood
Short is the life of those who possess great accomplishments, and seldom do they reach a good old age. Whatever thou lovest, pray that thou mayest not set too high a value on it.
- Martial (Marcus Valerius Martialis)
The lilies of the field whose bloom is brief:--
We are as they;
Like them we fade away
As doth a leaf.
- Christina Georgina Rossetti, Consider
This is the spot where I am mortal.
[Ger., Hier ist die Stelle wo ich sterblich bin.]
- Johann Christoph Friedrich von Schiller,
Don Carlos (I, 6, 67)
This muddy vesture of decay.
- William Shakespeare
What surety of the world, what hope, what stay,
When this was now a king, and now is clay!
- William Shakespeare
All that in this world is great or gay,
Doth, as a vapor, vanish and decay.
- Edmund Spenser
The immortal could we cease to contemplate,
The mortal part suggests its every trait.
God laid His fingers on the ivories
Of her pure members as on smoothed keys,
And there out-breathed her spirit's harmonies.
- Francis Thompson, Her Portrait (st. 7)
At thirty, man suspects himself a fool,
Knows it at forty, and reforms his plan;
At fifty, chides his infamous delay,
Pushes his prudent purpose to resolve,
In all the magnanimity of thought;
Resolves, and re-resolves, then dies the same.
And why? because he thinks himself immortal,
All men think all men mortal but themselves.
- Edward Young, Night Thoughts
(night I, l. 417)