Death and the Dying Man book cover

Death and the Dying Man

"Death and the Dying Man" is a philosophical book written by Jean de La Fontaine exploring the concept of mortality. Through eloquent prose and comprehensive insights, the author delves on the subject of death, discussing its inevitability, implications, and societal attitude towards it. The book also grapples with man's fear of death, inviting the reader to reflect on life, the process of dying and the aftermath. It is a powerful meditation on what it means to be a fleeting mortal in a vast universe.

Genre: Fable

Death never yet surprised the sage, Who's always ready for the stage; Knowing each hour that comes may be His passage to eternity. Death's rule embraces every day: Each moment is beneath his sway. We all pay tribute to that lord; We all bow down beneath his sword. The instant the king's child has birth-- And looks forth on this desert earth--- That instant Death may it surprise, And close its scarcely-opened eyes. Beauty, youth, virtue, every day, Death steals so ruthlessly away. One day the world will be his prey: This knowledge is most largely shared; For no event we're less prepared. A dying man, a century old, Complained to Death, that he was told Too suddenly, before his will Was made; he'd duties to fulfil; "Now, is it just," this was his cry, "To call me, unprepared, to die? No; wait a moment, pray, sir, do; My wife would wish to join me, too. For still one nephew I'd provide: And I have causes to decide. I must enlarge my house, you know. Don't be so pressing, pray, sir, go." "Old man," said Death, "for once be wise; My visit can be no surprise. What! I impatient? In the throng Of Paris who has lived so long? Find me in all France even ten; I should have warned you, you say then? And so your will you would have made, Your grandson settled; basement laid. What! not a warning, when your feet Can scarcely move, and fast retreat Your memory makes, when half your mind And wit is left a league behind? When nearly all fails?--no more hearing-- No taste--all fading, as I'm fearing. The star of day shines now in vain For you: why sigh to view again The pleasures out of reach? Just see Your comrades drop continually, Dead, dying: is no warning there? I put it to you, is this fair? Come, come, old man; what! wrangling still? No matter, you must leave your will; The great republic cares not, sir, For one or no executor." And Death was right: old men, at least, Should die as people leave a feast, Thanking the host--their luggage trim: Death will not stay to please their whim. You murmur, dotard! look and sigh, To see the young, that daily die; Walk to the grave or run, a name To win of everlasting fame: Death glorious may be, yet how sure, And sometimes cruel to endure. In vain I preach; with foolish zeal, Those most akin to death but feel The more regret in quitting life, And creep reluctant from the strife.
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Jean de La Fontaine

Jean de La Fontaine was a renowned French fabulist and one of the most famous poets during the French classical period. He was born on July 8, 1621, and died on April 13, 1695. Known for his literary style, he is best known for his "Fables", which are considered classics of French literature. His works were marked by his sophisticated style and moral substance, and his fables provided a scathing critique of French society during his time. more…

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