Death Quotes

Find inspiration and comfort in these poets' words about death

Portrait of William Shakespeare
DEA / G. DAGLI ORTI/Getty Images

It's difficult to know what to say when trying to comfort someone who has suffered the loss of a loved one. But death is part of the human condition, and there is no shortage of literature about death and dying. Sometimes it takes a poet to give us perspective on the meanings of life and death.

Here are some famous, and hopefully comforting, quotes about death from poets and writers that would be appropriate when offering condolences.

William Shakespeare Quotes About Death

"And, when he shall die, Take him and cut him out in little stars, And he will make the face of Heaven so fine That all the world will be in love with night And pay no worship to the garish sun."
— From "Romeo and Juliet"

Love's not Time's fool, though rosy lips and cheeks
Within his bending sickle's compass come;
Love alters not with his brief hours and weeks,
But bears it out even to the edge of doom.
—  From "Sonnet 116"

"Cowards die many times before their deaths; the valiant never taste of death but once."
— From "Julius Caesar"

"To die, to sleep
To sleep: perchance to dream: ay, there's the rub
For in that sleep of death what dreams may come
When we have shuffled off this mortal coil,
Must give us pause: there's the respect
That makes calamity of so long life."

— From "Hamlet"

Quotes About Death from Other Poets

"Be near me when my light is low... And all the wheels of being slow. "
—   Alfred Lord Tennyson

"Because I could not stop for death, He kindly stopped for me; The carriage held but just ourselves and immortality."
—  Emily Dickinson

"Death comes to all. But great achievements build a monument which shall endure until the sun grows cold. "
—  George Fabricius

"Death gives us sleep, eternal youth, and immortality."
— Jean Paul Richter

"Death is a commingling of eternity with time; in the death of a good man, eternity is seen looking through time."
— Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe

"He who has gone, so we but cherish his memory, abides with us, more potent, nay, more present than the living man."
— Antoine de Saint Éxupéry

Do not stand at my grave and weep.
I am not there; I do not sleep.
I am a thousand winds that blow.
I am the diamond glints on snow.
I am the sunlight on ripened grain.
I am the gentle autumn rain.

When you awaken in the morning's hush
I am the swift uplifting rush
Of quiet birds in circled flight.
I am the soft stars that shine at night.
Do not stand at my grave and cry;
I am not there; I did not die.
— Mary Elizabeth Frye

Where you used to be, there is a hole in the world, which I find myself constantly walking around in the daytime, and falling in at night.
— Edna St. Vincent Millay

"Though lovers are lost, love shall not. And death shall have no dominion." 
— Dylan Thomas

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Your Citation
Khurana, Simran. "Death Quotes." ThoughtCo, Aug. 27, 2020, Khurana, Simran. (2020, August 27). Death Quotes. Retrieved from Khurana, Simran. "Death Quotes." ThoughtCo. (accessed June 9, 2023).