Reference > Quotations > Hoyt & Roberts, comps. > Hoyt’s New Cyclopedia of Practical Quotations
Hoyt & Roberts, comps.  Hoyt’s New Cyclopedia of Practical Quotations.  1922.
Who doubting tyranny, and fainting under
Fortune’s false lottery, desperately run
To death, for dread of death; that soul’s most stout,
That, bearing all mischance, dares last it out.
        Beaumont and Fletcher—The Honest Man’s Fortune. Act IV. Sc. 1.
        But if there be an hereafter,
And that there is, conscience, uninfluenc’d
And suffer’d to speak out, tells every man,
Then must it be an awful thing to die;
More horrid yet to die by one’s own hand.
        Blair—The Grave. L. 398.
Our time is fixed, and all our days are number’d;
How long, how short, we know not:—this we know,
Duty requires we calmly wait the summons,
Nor dare to stir till Heaven shall give permission.
        Blair—The Grave. L. 417.
The common damn’d shun their society.
        Blair—The Grave. Referring to suicides in Hell. Attributed to Lamb, but not found in his works.
  The beasts (Conservatives) had committed suicide to save themselves from slaughter.
        John Bright—Speech at Birmingham. (1867).
                Fool! I mean not
That poor-souled piece of heroism, self-slaughter;
Oh no! the miserablest day we live
There’s many a better thing to do than die!
  If suicide be supposed a crime, it is only cowardice can impel us to it. If it be no crime, both prudence and courage should engage us to rid ourselves at once of existence when it becomes a burden. It is the only way that we can then be useful to society, by setting an example which, if imitated, would preserve every one his chance for happiness in life, and would effectually free him from all danger or misery.
        David Hume—Essay on Suicide.
While foulest fiends shun thy society.
        Lee—Rival Queens. V. I. 86.
Ah, yes, the sea is still and deep,
All things within its bosom sleep!
A single step, and all is o’er,
A plunge, a bubble, and no more.
        Longfellow—Christus. The Golden Legend. Pt. V.
When Fannius from his foe did fly
Himself with his own hands he slew;
Who e’er a greater madness knew?
Life to destroy for fear to die.
        Martial—Epigrams. Bk. II. 80. Same idea in Antiphanes—Fragment. Comicorum Græcorum. P. 567. Meineke’s ed.
That kills himself to avoid misery, fears it,
And, at the best, shows but a bastard valour.
This life’s a fort committed to my trust,
Which I must not yield up till it be forced:
Nor will I. He’s not valiant that dares die,
But he that boldly bears calamity.
        Massinger—The Maid of Honour. Act IV. Sc. 3.
If you like not hanging, drown yourself;
Take some course for your reputation.
        Massinger—New Way to pay Old Debts. Act II. Sc. 1.
            Bravest at the last,
She levell’d at our purposes, and, being royal,
Took her own way.
        Antony and Cleopatra. Act V. Sc. 2. L. 338.
      Against self-slaughter
There is a prohibition so divine
That cravens my weak hand.
        Cymbeline. Act III. Sc. 4. L. 78.
For who would bear the whips and scorns of time,
The oppressor’s wrong, the proud man’s contumely,
The pangs of despised love, the law’s delay,
The insolence of office, and the spurns
That patient merit of the unworthy takes,
When he himself might his quietus make
With a bare bodkin?
        Hamlet. Act III. Sc. 1. L. 76. (“Poor” for “proud”; “despriz’d” for “despised” in folio.)
  The more pity that great folk should have countenance in this world to drown or hang themselves, more than their even Christian.
        Hamlet. Act V. Sc. 1. L. 29.
He that cuts off twenty years of life
Cuts off so many years of fearing death.
        Julius Cæsar. Act III. Sc. 1. L. 101.
You ever-gentle gods, take my breath from me;
Let not my worser spirit tempt me again
To die before you please!
        King Lear. Act IV. Sc. 6. L. 221.
  There is no refuge from confession but suicide; and suicide is confession.
        Daniel Webster—Argument on the Murder of Captain White. April 6, 1830.
Britannia’s shame! There took her gloomy flight,
On wing impetuous, a black sullen soul…
Less base the fear of death than fear of life.
O Britain! infamous for suicide.
        Young—Night Thoughts. Night V. L. 436.

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