In my letter to Julian, I praised his balance of contrast between Lucretius, who said that since you won’t know you are dead you need not fear the condition of death, and Philip Larkin, who observes in his imperishable “Aubade” that this is exactly the thing about the postmortem condition that actually does, and must, make one afraid (emphasis mine): The sure extinction that we travel to And shall be lost in always. Not to be here, Not to be anywhere, And soon; nothing more terrible, nothing more true . . . And specious stuff that says no rational being Can fear a thing it will not feel,...
But we are all “dead men on leave,” as Eugene Levine said at his trial in Munich for being a revolutionary after the counter-revolution of 1919.
“Until you have done something for humanity,” said the great American educator Horace Mann, “you should be ashamed to die.”
in the catalogue a distressing number belong to former friends (the
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