This dependence [on language] is absolute, despotic, but it unshackles as well. For, while always older than the writer, language still possesses the colossal centrifugal energy imparted to it by its temporal potential -- that is, by all the time lying ahead.
(Joseph Brodsky, from the essay Uncommon Visage)
But if the sick woman is near her end and has reached her death-agony, someone who is with her must run at once through the convent beating on a wooden board to give warning of the sister's departure.
(The Letters of Abelard and Heloise, tr. Betty Radice)