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

Here she lies a pretty bud,
  Lately made of flesh and blood;
    Who, as soone fell fast asleep,
      As her little eyes did peep.
        Give her strewings, but not stir
          The earth that lightly covers her.
      - Robert Herrick, Upon a Child that Dyed

His foe was folly and his weapon wit.
      - Anthony Hope (pseudonym of Sir Anthony Hope Hawkins),
        inscribed on bronze tablet for William Gilbert on the Victoria Embankment, Aug. 31, 1915

Under the shadow of a leafy bough
  That leaned toward a singing rivulet,
    One pure white stone, whereon, like crown on brow,
      The image of the vanished star was set;
        And this was graven on the pure white stone
          In golden letters--"While she lived she shone."
      - Jean Ingelow, Star's Monument (st. 47)

Who left nothing of authorship untouched, and touched nothing which he did not adorn.
  [Lat., Qui nullum fere scribendi genus non tetigit; nullum quod tetigit non ornavit.]
      - Samuel Johnson (a/k/a Dr. Johnson) ("The Great Cham of Literature"),
        Oliver Goldsmith's epitaph in Westminster Abbey

The hand of him here torpid lies,
  That drew th' essential form of grace,
    Here closed in death th' attentive eyes
      That saw the manners in the face.
      - Samuel Johnson (a/k/a Dr. Johnson) ("The Great Cham of Literature"),
        Epitaph for Hogarth

Sleep undisturbed within this peaceful shrine,
  Till angels wake thee with a note like thine.
      - Samuel Johnson (a/k/a Dr. Johnson) ("The Great Cham of Literature"),
        Epitaph on Claude Phillips

Underneath this sable herse
  Lies the subject of all verse,--
    Sydneye's sister, Pembroke's mother.
      Death, ere thou hast slaine another,
        Faire and learn'd and good as she,
          Tyme shall throw a dart at thee.
      - attributed to Ben Jonson,
        epitaph on the Countess of Pembroke

Underneath this stone doth lie
  As much beauty as could die;
    Which in life did harbor give
      To more virtue that doth live.
        If at all she had a fault,
          Leave it buried in this vault.
      - Ben Jonson, Epigram
         (CXXIV, to Lady Elizabeth L.H.)

I conceive disgust at these impertinent and misbecoming familiarities inscribed upon your ordinary tombstone.
      - Charles Lamb (used pseudonym Elia)

Satire does not look pretty upon a tombstone.
      - Charles Lamb (used pseudonym Elia)

I strove with none, for none was worth my strife;
  Nature I loved, and after Nature, Art;
    I warmed both hands before the fire of life;
      It sinks, and I am ready to depart.
      - Walter Savage Landor, Epitaph on Himself

Emigravit, is the inscription on the tombstone where he lies;
  Deal he is not, but departed,--for the artist never dies.
      - Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Nuremberg

Here lie I, Martin Elginbrodde:
  Have mercy o' my soul, Lord God;
    As I wad do, were I Lord God,
      And ye were Martin Elginbrodde.
      - George MacDonald, David Elginbrod
         (ch. XIII)

The shameless Chloe placed on the tombs of her seven husbands the inscription, "The work of Chloe." How could she have expressed herself more plainly?"
      - Martial (Marcus Valerius Martialis),
        Epigrams (bk. IX, ep. 15)

Here lies the child spoiled by the world which he spoiled.
  [Fr., Ci git l'enfant gate du monde qu'il gata.]
      - Baroness Jeanne Isabelle de Bottens de Montolieu,
        epitaph on Voltaire

And when I lie in the green kirkyard,
  With the mould upon my breast,
    Say not that she did well--or ill,
      "Only, She did her best."
      - Dinah Maria Mulock (used pseudonym Mrs. Craik),
        given in her obituary notice in the "Athenoeum"

Beneath this stone old Abraham lies;
  Nobody laughs and nobody cries.
    Where he is gone, and how he fares,
      Nobody knows and nobody cares.
      - Abraham Newland,
        on the monument of Abraham Newland, his own words

May he rest in Peace.
  [Lat., Requiescat in pace.]
      - Order of the Mass

Here lies Tibullus; of all that he was there scarcely remains enough, to fill a small urn.
  [Lat., Jacet ecce Tibullus;
    Vix manet e toto parva quod urna capit.]
      - Ovid (Publius Ovidius Naso), Amorum
         (bk. III, 9, 39)

May his bones rest gently.
  [Lat., Molliter ossa cubent.]
      - Ovid (Publius Ovidius Naso), Heroides
         (VII, 162)

"In his last binn Sir Peter lies."
  . . . .
    He kept at true humour's mark
      The social flow of pleasure's tide:
        He never made a brow look dark,
          Nor caused a tear, but when he died.
      - Thomas Love Peacock, To Sir Peter

Plautus has prepared himself for a life beyond the grave; the comic stage deserted weeps; laughter also and jest and joke; and poetic and prosaic will bewail his loss together.
  [Lat., Postquam est mortem aptus Plautus: comoedia luget
    Scena deserta, dein risus ludus jocusque
      Et numeri innumeri simul omnes collacrumarunt.]
      - Plautus (Titus Maccius Plautus),
        epitaph of Plautus , by himself

O man! whosoever thou art, and whensoever thou comest, for come I know thou wilt, I am Cyrus, founder of the Persian empire. Envy me not the little earth that covers my body.
      - Plutarch,
        Life of Alexander--Epitaph of Cyrus

Kneller, by Heaven and not a master taught
  Whose art was nature, and whose pictures thought,
    . . . .
      Living great Nature fear'd he might outvie
        Her works; and dying, fears herself may die.
      - Alexander Pope,
        inscription on the monument of Sir Geofrey Kneller in Westminster Abbey

Under this marble, or under this sill,
  Or under this turf, or e'en what they will,
    Whatever an heir, or a friend in his stead,
      Or any good creature shall lay o'er my head,
        Lies one who ne'er car'd, and still cares not a pin
          What they said or may say of the mortal within;
            But who, living and dying, serene, still and free,
              Trusts in God that as well as he was he shall be.
      - Alexander Pope, Epitaph


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