On the Fear of Death
by William Hazlitt
Perhaps the best cure for the fear of death is to reflect that life has a beginning as well as an end. There was a time when we were not: this gives me no concern- why then should it trouble us that a time will come when we shall cease to be?
I have no wish to have been alive a hundred years ago, or in the reign of Queen Anne? Why should I regret and lay it so much to heart that I shall not be alive a hundred years hence, in the reign of I cannot tell whom?
To die is only to be as we were born; yet no one feels any remorse, or regret, or repugnance, in contemplating this last idea.
It is rather a relief and disburdening of the mind: it seems to have been a holiday time with us then: we were not called to appear upon the stage of life, to wear robes or tatters, to laugh or cry, be hooted or applauded; we had lain perdus all this while, snug out of harm’s way; and had slept out our thousands of centuries without wanting to be waked up; at peace and free from care, in a long nonage, in a sleep deeper and calmer than that of infancy, wrapped in the softest and finest dust.
And the worst that we dread is, after a short fretful , feverish being, after vain hopes, and idle fears, to sink to final repose again, and forget the trouble dream of life!