Friedrich Nietzsche, The Gay Science.  Die fröhliche Wissenschaft.

First published in 1882.

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The Thought of Death.  It gives me a melancholy happiness to live in the midst of this confusion of streets, of necessities, of voices: how much enjoyment, impatience and desire, how much thirsty life and drunkenness of life comes to light here every moment!  And yet it will soon be so still for all these shouting, lively, life loving people!  How everyone's shadow, his gloomy travelling companion stands behind him!  It is always as in the last moment before the departure of an emigrant ship: people have more than ever to say to one another, the hour presses, the ocean with its lonely silence waits impatiently behind all the noise so greedy, so certain of its prey!  And all, all, suppose that the past has been nothing, or a small matter, that the near future is everything: hence this haste, this crying, this self deafening and self overreaching!  Everyone wants to be foremost in this future, and yet death and the stillness of death are the only things certain and common to all in this future!  How strange that this sole thing that is certain and common to all, exercises almost no influence on men, and that they are the furthest from regarding themselves as the brother hood of death!  It makes me happy to see that men do not want to think at all.  

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