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

I, whom Apollo sometime visited,
  Or feigned to visit, now, my day being done,
    Do slumber wholly, nor shall know at all
      The weariness of changes; nor perceive
        Immeasurable sands of centuries
          Drink up the blanching ink, or the loud sound
            Of generations beat the music down.
      - Robert Louis Stevenson,
        epitaph for himself

Now when the number of my years
  Is all fulfilled and I
    From sedentary life
      Shall rouse me up to die,
        Bury me low and let me lie
          Under the wide and starry sky.
            Joying to live, I joyed to die,
              Bury me low and let me die.
      - Robert Louis Stevenson, a poem

Here lies one who meant well, tried a little, failed much.
      - Robert Louis Stevenson, Christmas Sermon

Under the wide and starry sky,
  Dig the grave and let me lie;
    Glad did I live and gladly die,
      And I laid me down with a will.
        This be the verse you grave for me;
          "Here he lies, where he longed to be;
            Home is the sailor, home from the sea,
              And the hunter home from the hill."
      - Robert Louis Stevenson, Requiem,
        written for himself and engraved on his tombstone

Thou third great Canning, stand among our best
  And noblest, now thy long day's work hath ceased,
    Here silent in our minster of the West
      Who wert the voice of England in the East.
      - Lord Alfred Tennyson,
        Epitaph on Lord Stratford De Redcliffe

Here lies Fred,
  Who was alive and is dead.
    Had it been his father,
      I had much rather.
        Had it been his brother,
          Still better than another.
            Had it been his sister,
              No one would have missed her.
                Had it been the whole generation,
                  Still better for the nation.
                    But since 'tis only Fred,
                      Who was alive, and is dead,
                        There's no more to be said.
      - William Makepeace Thackeray, Four Georges,
        Epitaph to Frederick, Prince of Wales (Father of George III)

Ne'er to these chambers where the mighty rest,
  Since their foundation came a nobler guest;
    Nor e'er was to the bowers of bliss conveyed
      A fairer spirit or more welcome shade.
      - Thomas Tickell,
        Ode on the Death of Addison,
        placed on Addison's tomb in Henry the VII chapel, Westminster

Then haste, kind Death, in pity to my age,
  And clap the Finis to my life's last page.
    May Heaven's great Author my foul proof revise,
      Cancel the page in which my error lies,
        And raise my form above the eternal skies.
          . . . .
            The stubborn pressman's form I now may scoff;
              Revised, corrected, finally worked off!
      - C.H. Timberley, Songs of the Press

Warm summer sun, shine friendly here;
  Warm southern wind, blow kindly here;
    Green sod above, rest light, rest light--
      Good night, dear heart, good night, good night.
      - Mark Twain (pseudonym of Samuel Langhorne Clemens),
        lines on the tombstone of Susie Clemens (modification of Richardson's)

Here in this place sleeps one whom love
  Caused, through great cruelty to fall.
    A little scholar, poor enough,
      When Francois Villon men did call.
        No scrap of land or garden small
          He owned. He gave his goods away,
            Table and trestles, baskets--all;
              For God's sake say for him this Lay.
      - Francois Villon, his own epitaph

Mantua bore me; the people of Calabria carried me off; Parthenope (Napes) holds me now. I have sung of pastures, of fields, of chieftains.
  [Lat., Mantua me genuit; Calabri rapuere; tenet nunc
    Parthenope. Cecini pascua, rura, duces.]
      - Virgil or Vergil (Publius Virgilius Maro Vergil),
        Epitaph of Virgil, said to be by himself

He directed the stone over his grave to be thus inscribed:
  Hie jacet hujus Sententiae primus Author:
    Disputandi pruritus ecclesiarum scabies.
      Nomen alias quaere.
        Here lies the first author of this sentence:
          "The itch of disputation will prove the scab of the Church." Inquire his name elsewhere.
      - Izaak Walton, Life of Wotton

His friends he loved. His direst earthly foes--
  Cats--I believe he did but feign to hate.
    My hand will miss the insinuated nose,
      Mine eyes the tail that wagged contempt at Fate.
      - Sir William Watson (2), An Epitaph

Avete multum Spesque, Forsque; sum in vado.
  Qui pone sint illudite; haud mea interest.
      - Dr. Henry Wellesley,
        version of the Greek "Anthologia" epigram in Dr. Wellesley's "Anthologia Polyglotta", p. 464, ed. 1849

The poet's fate is here in emblem shown,
  He asked for bread, and he received a stone.
      - Samuel Wesley, the Elder, Epigrams,
        on Butler's Monument in Westminster Abbey

Here lies, in a "horizontal" position
  The "outside" case of
    Peter Pendulum, watch-maker.
      He departed this life "wound up"
        In hopes of being "taken in hand" by his Maker,
          And of being thoroughly "cleaned, repaired" and "set a-going"
            In the world to come.
      - C.H. Wilson,
        Polyanthea--Epitaph on a Watch-maker,
        transcribed from Aberconway Churchyard

O what a monument of glorious worth,
  When in a new edition he comes forth,
    Without erratas, may we think he'll be
      In leaves and covers of eternity!
      - Rev. Benjamin Woodbridge,
        Lines on John Cotton

He first deceased; she for a little tried
  To live without him, liked it not, and died.
      - Sir Henry Wotton,
        Upon the Death of Sir Albertus Morton's Wife


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