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[ Also see Anticipation Destiny Eternity Expectation Futurity Heaven Hell Immortality Paradise Past Time Tomorrow ]

O if this were seen!
  The happiest youth--viewing his progress through
    What perils past, what crosses to ensue--
      Would shut the book, and sit him down and die.
      - William Shakespeare

The dread of something after death,
  The undiscover'd country, from whose bourn
    No traveller returns, puzzles the will;
      And makes us rather bear those ills we have,
        Than fly to others that we know not of.
      - William Shakespeare

We know what we are, but know not what we may be.
      - William Shakespeare

How many ages hence
  Shall this our lofty scene be acted over
    In states unborn and accents yet unknown!
      - William Shakespeare, Julius Caesar
         (Cassius at III, i)

And let their heirs (God, if thy will be so)
  Enrich the time to come with smooth-faced peace,
    With smiling plenty, and fair prosperous days!
      - William Shakespeare,
        The Tragedy of King Richard the Third
         (Richmond at V, v)

We are lead to the belief of a future state, not only by the weaknesses, by the hopes and fears of human nature, but by the noblest and best principles which belong to it,--by the love of virtue, and by the abhorrence of vice and injustice.
      - Adam Smith (1)

Divine wisdom, intending to detain us some time on earth, has done well to cover with a veil the prospect of life to come; for if our sight could clearly distinguish the opposite bank, who would remain on this tempestuous coast?
      - Madame de Stael (Baronne Anne Louise Germaine de Stael-Holstein)

Man is not allowed to know what will happen to-morrow.
  [Lat., Quid crastina volveret aetas,
    Scire nefas homini.]
      - Statius (Publius Papanius Statius),
        Thebais (III, 562)

Is there a rarer being,
  Is there a fairer sphere
    Where the strong are not unseeing,
      And the harvests are not sere;
        Where, ere the seasons dwindle
          They yield their due return;
            Where the lamps of knowledge kindle
              While the flames of youth still burn?
      - Edmund Clarence Stedman

Could we but know
  The land that ends our dark, uncertain travel.
      - Edmund Clarence Stedman,
        Undiscovered Country

When the Rudyards cease from Kipling
  And the Haggards ride no more.
      - James Kenneth Stephen, Lapsus Calami

There is no hope--the future will but turn
  The old sand in the falling glass of time.
      - Richard Henry Stoddard

When I am dead let the earth be dissolved in fire.
      - Caius Tranquillus Suetonius, Nero (38),
        quoting Nero

We are always looking into the future, but we see only the past.
      - Madame Anne Sophie Swetchine (Soimonoff)

The glories of the possible are ours.
      - Bayard Taylor

Till the sun grows cold,
  And the stars are old,
    And the leaves of the Judgment Book unfold.
      - Bayard Taylor, Bedouin Song

Since we stay not here, being people but of a day's abode, and our age is like that of a fly, and contemporary with that of a gourd, we must look somewhere else for an abiding city, a place in another country, to fix our house in, whose wails and foundation is God, where we must rest, or else be restless forever.
      - Jeremy Taylor

That is to be wise to see not merely that which lies before your feet, but to foresee even those things which are in the womb of futurity.
  [Lat., Istuc est sapere, non quod ante pedes modo est
    Videre, sed etiam illa, quae futura sunt
      - Terence (Publius Terentius Afer), Adelphi
         (III, 3, 32)

The past is an old armchair in the attic, the present an ominous ticking sound, and the future is anybody's guess.
      - James Thurber

I hear a voice you cannot hear,
  Which says, I must not stay;
    I see a hand you cannot see,
      Which beckons me away.
      - Thomas Tickell, Colin and Lucy

The future arrives too soon and in the wrong order.
      - Alvin Toffler

God will put an end to these also.
  [Lat., Debit deus his quoque finem.]
      - Virgil or Vergil (Publius Virgilius Maro Vergil),
        The Aeneid (I, 199)

There is no divining-rod whose dip shall tell us at twenty what we shall most relish at thirty.
      - Nathaniel Parker Willis

We may believe that we shall know each other's forms hereafter; and in the bright fields of the better land call the lost dead to us.
      - Nathaniel Parker Willis

What after all remains, when life is sped,
  And man is gathered to the silent dead?
    Home to the narrow house, the long, long sleep,
      Where pain is stilled, and sorrow doth not weep.
      - William Winter

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