In later eras, as the transition from life to death in Elysium became a more attractive option, Thanatos came to be seen as a beautiful Ephebe. He became associated more with a gentle passing than a woeful demise. Many Roman sarcophagi depict him as a winged boy, very much akin to Cupid: “Eros with crossed legs and torch reversed became the commonest of all symbols for Death”, observes Arthur Bernard Cook.
Fluttering wings unseen but heard
On my floor the dust is stirred
Fingers tracing out these words
Rasping breath inside my head
Coming closer to the bed
Everything is turning red
Sweet, sweet death!