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EPITAPHS
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[ Also see Apothegms Death Epigrams Graves Last Words Monuments Mottoes Mourning Obituaries Satire Tombs ]

This work, newly revised and improved by its great Author, will reappear in a splendid day.
      - Epitaph,
        epitaph on Oscar Meader in a church in Berlin

This world's a city of crooked streets,
  Death's the market-place where all men meet;
    If life were merchandise that men should buy,
      The rich would always live, the poor might die.
      - Epitaph

To the down Bow of Death
  His Forte gave way,
    All the Graces in sorrow were drown'd;
      Hallelujah Cresendo
        Shall be his glad lay
          When De'Capo the Trumpet shall sound.
      - Epitaph,
        epitaph to Samuel Taylor in Youlgreaves Churchyard, Derbyshire, England

What wee gave, wee have;
  What wee spent, wee had;
    What wee left, wee lost.
      - Epitaph,
        Epitaph on Edward Courtenay, Earl of Devon (1419), said to be on his tomb in Padua

I was well, I would be better; I am here.
  [Lat., Stavo bene; per star meglio, sto qui.]
      - Epitaph,
        Addison's translation of the epitaph on the monument of an Italian Valetudinarian,
        "Spectator" (no. 25)

The turf has drank a
  Widow's tear;
    Three of her husbands
      Slumber here.
      - Epitaph, Epitaph at Staffordshire

Johnny Carnegie lais heer
  Descendit of Adam and Eve,
    Gif ony cou gang hieher,
      I'se willing give him leve.
      - Epitaph,
        Epitaph in an old Scottish Churchyard

It is so soon that I am done for,
  I wonder what I was begun for!
      - Epitaph, Epitaph in Cheltenham Church-yard

Peas to his Hashes.
      - Epitaph, Epitaph on a Cook (London)

Underneath this crust
  Lies the mouldering dust
    Of Eleanor Batchelor Stoven,
      Well versed in the arts
        Of pies, custards and tarts,
          And the lucrative trade of the oven.
            When she lived long enough,
              She made her last puff,
                A puff by her husband much praised,
                  And now she doth lie
                    And make a dirt pie,
                      In hopes that her crust may be raised.
      - Epitaph, Epitaph on a Cook (Yorkshire)

Good Frend for Jesvs Sake Forbeare,
  To Digg the Dvst Encloased Heare.
    Blese be ye Man yt Spares Thes Stones.
      And Cvrst be he yt Moves my Bones.
      - Epitaph,
        Epitaph on Shakespeare's Tombstone at Stratford-on-Avon,
        said to be chosen by him, but not original

I have expended; I have given; I have kept;
  I have possessed; I do possess; I have lost;
    I am punished. What I formerly expended, I have; what I gave away I have.
      - Epitaph, Gesta Romanorum (tale XVI),
        found on the golden sarcophagus of a Roman emperor

His virtues formed the magic of his song.
      - Epitaph, Inscription of the Tomb of Cowper
         (l. 10)

Under this stone, reader, survey,
  Dead Sir John Vanbrugh's house of clay:
    Lie heavy on him earth! for he
      Laid many heavy loads on thee.
      - Dr. Abel Evans,
        epitaph on the architect of Blenheim Palace

The body of Benjamin Franklin, Printer (Like the cover of an old book, its contents torn out and stript of its lettering and gilding), Lies here, food for worms; But the work shall not be lost, for it will (as he believed) appear once more in a new and more elegant edition, revised and corrected by the author.
      - Benjamin Franklin, Epitaph on Himself

When I shall be there, I shall be without care.
  [Lat., Quand je serai la, je serai sans souci.]
      - Frederick, the Great (Frederick II),
        his inscription at foot of statue of Flora at Sans Souci, where he wished to be buried

"Fuller's earth."
      - Thomas Fuller (1),
        Epitaph written by himself

Had [Christ] the death of death to death
  Not given death by dying:
    The gates of life had never been
      To mortals open lying.
      - Reverend Fyge,
        on his tombstone in the churchyard of Castle-Camps, Cambridgeshire

Life's race well run,
  Life's work well done,
    Life's crown well won,
      Now comes rest.
      - James Abram Garfield, his epitaph

Here lies Nolly Goldsmith, for shortness called Noll,
  Who wrote like an angel, and talked like poor Poll.
      - David Garrick

Life is a jest, and all things show it,
  I thought so once, but now I know it.
      - John Gay, My Own Epitaph

What we say of a thing that has just come in fashion
  And that which we do with the dead,
    Is the name of the honestest man in the nation:
      What more of a man can be said?
      - Oliver Goldsmith,
        punning epitaph on John Newbery, the publisher

And many a holy text around she strews
  That teach the rustic moralist to die.
      - Thomas Gray, Elegy in a Country Churchyard
         (st. 21)

Man's life is like unto a winter's day,
  Some break their fast and so depart away,
    Others stay dinner then depart full fed;
      The longest age but sups and goes to bed.
        Oh, reader, then behold and see,
          As we are now so must you be.
      - Bishop Joseph Henshaw, Horoe Succisivoe

But here's the sunset of a tedious day,
  These two asleep are; I'll but be undrest,
    And so to bed. Pray wish us all good rest.
      - Robert Herrick,
        Epitaph on Sir Edward Giles


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