It is within our rational power to understand how swiftly all things vanish; how the corporeal forms are swallowed up in the material world, and the memory of them in the tide of ages.
Such are all the things of sense, especially those which ensnare us with pleasure or terrify us with pain, or those things which vanity trumpets in our ears. How mean, how despicable, how sordid, how perishable, how dead are they! What are they whose opinions and whose voices bestow renown? What is it to die? Your mind can tell you that, did a man think of it alone, and, by close consideration, strip it of its horrible trappings, he would no longer deem it anything but a work of Nature. To dread a work of Nature is a childish thing, and this is, indeed, not only Nature’s work, but beneficial to her.
The world remembers Alexander, but what good does that do him? What matter to him (or should have) was who surrounded him on his death bed. That’s what should matter to us all.
This is an interesting meditation as it puts together in one two of Marcus’s central themes – think of death often, and yet do not fear it, because what is the point of fearing something that comes for us all.