Here are excerpts from my vote for one of the greatest speeches of all time, Socrates' "Apology" (as recorded by his student, Plato):
For this fear of death is indeed the pretence of wisdom,
and not real wisdom, being the appearance of knowing the unknown;
since no one knows whether death, which they in their fear apprehend
to be the greatest evil, may not be the greatest good…
Let us reflect in another way, and we shall see that there is great reason
to hope that death is a good, for one of two things: - either death is a state of nothingness
and utter unconsciousness, or, as men say, there is a change and migration
of the soul from this world to another. Now if you suppose that there is no consciousness,
but a sleep like the sleep of him who is undisturbed even by the sight of dreams,
death will be an unspeakable gain. … Now if death is like this, I say that to die is gain;
for eternity is then only a single night.
But if death is the journey to another place,
and there, as men say, all the dead are, what good, O my friends and judges,
can be greater than this? If indeed when the pilgrim arrives in the world below,
he is delivered from the professors of justice in this world, and finds the true judges
who are said to give judgment there…that pilgrimage will be worth making….
Above all, I shall be able to continue my search into true and false knowledge;
as in this world, so also in that; I shall find out who is wise, and who pretends to be wise,
and is not. What would not a man give, O judges, to be able to examine the leader
of the great Trojan expedition; or Odysseus or Sisyphus, or numberless others,
men and women too! What infinite delight would there be in conversing with them
and asking them questions! For in that world they do not put a man to death for this;
certainly not. For besides being happier in that world than in this, they will be immortal,
if what is said is true…
Wherefore, O judges, be of good cheer about death, and know this of a truth –
that no evil can happen to a good man, either in life or after death.
He and his are not neglected by the gods; nor has my own approaching end
happened by mere chance. But I see clearly that to die and be released
was better for me; and therefore the oracle gave no sign…
The hour of departure has arrived, and we go our ways - I to die, and you to live.
Which is better God only knows.