Ivan Turgenev

What Shall I Think?...

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What shall I think when I come to die, if only I am in a condition to think
anything then?

Shall I think how little use I have made of my life, how I have slumbered,
dozed through it, how little I have known how to enjoy its gifts?

'What? is this death? So soon? Impossible! Why, I have had no time to do
anything yet.... I have only been making ready to begin!'

Shall I recall the past, and dwell in thought on the few bright moments I
have lived through--on precious images and faces?

Will my ill deeds come back to my mind, and will my soul be stung by the
burning pain of remorse too late?

Shall I think of what awaits me beyond the grave ... and in truth does
anything await me there?

No.... I fancy I shall try not to think, and shall force myself to take
interest in some trifle simply to distract my own attention from the
menacing darkness, which is black before me.

I once saw a dying man who kept complaining they would not let him have
hazel-nuts to munch!... and only in the depths of his fast-dimming eyes,
something quivered and struggled like the torn wing of a bird wounded to

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