S. Austin Allibone, comp. Prose Quotations from Socrates to Macaulay. 1880.
In the mean time, I cannot but consider, with much commiseration, the melancholy state of one who has had such a part of himself torn from him, and which he misses in every circumstance of life. His condition is like that of one who has lately lost his right arm, and is every moment offering to help himself with it. He does not appear to himself the same person in his house, at his table, in company, or in retirement; and loses the relish of all the pleasures and diversions that were before entertaining to him by her participation of them. The most agreeable objects recall the sorrow for her with whom he used to enjoy them. This additional satisfaction from the taste of pleasures in the society of one we love, is admirably described by Milton, who represents Eve, though in Paradise itself, no farther pleased with the beautiful objects around her, than as she sees them in company with Adam.
Joseph Addison and Sir Richard Steele: Tatler, No. 114.
The true way to mourn the dead is to take care of the living who belong to them. These are the pictures and statues of departed friends which we ought to cultivate, and not such as can be had for a few guineas from a vulgar artist.
Edmund Burke: To the Comte dArtois (Charles X.), Nov. 6, 1793.
To be left alone in the wide world, with scarcely a friend,this makes the sadness which, striking its pang into the minds of the young and the affectionate, teaches them too soon to watch and interpret the spirit-signs of their own heart. The solitude of the aged, when, one by one, their friends fall off, as fall the sere leaves from the trees in autumn,what is it to the overpowering sense of desolation which fills almost to breaking the sensitive heart of youth when the nearest and dearest ties are severed? Rendered callous by time and suffering, the old feel less, although they complain more: the young, bearing a grief too deep for tears, shrine in their bosoms sad memories and melancholy anticipations, which often give dark hues to their feelings in after-life.
With regard to the sharpest and most melting sorrow, that which arises from the loss of those whom we have loved with tenderness, it may be observed that friendship between mortals can be contracted on no other terms than that one must sometime mourn for the others death: and this grief will always yield to the survivor one consolation proportionate to his affliction; for the pain, whatever it be, that he himself feels, his friend has escaped.
My only consolation is in that Being under whose severe but paternal chastisement I am bent down to the ground. The philosophy which I have learned only teaches me that virtue and friendship are the greatest of human blessings, and that their loss is irreparable. It aggravates my calamity, instead of consoling me under it. My wounded heart seeks another consolation. Governed by these feelings, which have in every age and region of the world actuated the human mind, I seek relief and I find it in the soothing hope and consolatory opinion that a Benevolent Wisdom inflicts the chastisement as well as bestows the enjoyments of human life; that superintending goodness will one day enlighten the darkness which surrounds our nature and hangs over our prospects; that this dreary and wretched life is not the whole of man; that an animal so sagacious and provident, and capable of such proficiency in science and virtue, is not like the beasts that perish; that there is a dwelling-place prepared for the spirits of the just, and that the ways of God will yet be vindicated to man.
Sir James Mackintosh: On the death of his wife, to Rev. Dr. Parr.
Solon being importund by his friends not to shed powerless and unprofitable tears for the death of his son, It is for that reason that I the more justly shed them, said he, because they are powerless and unprofitable. Socrates his wife exasperated her grief by this circumstance, Oh, how unjustly do these wicked judges put him to death! Why, replied he, hadst thou rather they should justly execute me?
Michel de Montaigne: Essays, Cottons 3d ed., ch. lxix.
If there be any honour in lamenting a husband, it only appertains to those who smild upon them whilst they had them: let those who wept during their lives laugh at their deaths, as well outwardly as within. Moreover, never regard those blubberd eyes, and that pitiful voice; but consider her deportments, her complexion, and the plumpness of her cheeks under all those formal veils: tis there the discovery is to be made. There are few who do not mend upont, and health is a quality that cannot lye: that starchd and ceremonious countenance looks not so much back as forward, and is rather intended to get a new one than to lament the old.
Michel de Montaigne: Essays, Cottons 3d ed., ch. xcii.