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Adrian

Epitaphs

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I read this somewhere in the past:

 

<BLOCKQUOTE>May you have food and raiment,

A soft pillow for your head,

May you be forty years in heaven

Before the devil knows you're dead.</BLOCKQUOTE>

and this one:

 

<BLOCKQUOTE>You came into the world naked and bare

Went through the world with trouble and care

You'll exit the world for who knows where

But if you're a thoroughbred here, you're a thoroughbred there.</BLOCKQUOTE>

And I'm guessing this one originated in Ireland:

 

<BLOCKQUOTE>Go neirigh an bothar leat, go mbeidh an gaoth choiche sa droim agat, is go mbeidh tu thuas ar neamh leath-uair roimh is eol don diabhal go bhuil tu marbh</BLOCKQUOTE>

It had this translation:

 

<BLOCKQUOTE>May the road rise to meet you, may the wind be at your back and may you be in heaven half an hour before the devil knows you're dead.</BLOCKQUOTE>

I like all of these are they all poetic and, especially, short.

 

Anybody else have any favourites?

 

[Edited to indent the quotes]

 

[This seemed to be the best forum for this topic, feel free to move it if there's somewhere better]

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Well there's the very famous one on Spike Milligan's headstone: "I told you I was ill"

 

Not very poetic, of course! If I remember any others I'll post back.

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Well there's the very famous one on Spike Milligan's headstone: "I told you I was ill"

 

Not very poetic, of course! If I remember any others I'll post back.

I think "Epitaph" might be the wrong thread title (though Spike is always worth quoting). I was meaning poems to commemorate the dead, probably spoken at the funeral or written later to the breaved, rather than on headstones.

 

Perhaps I meant a threnody? Dirge? Lament? Forgive my lack of the wrong term.

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Hmm and there was I going all classical with the memorial to the Spartans by Simonides

 

Tell the Spartans,passerby,

That here,obedient to their laws,

We lie.

 

Inscribed on Leonidas's tomb at Thermopylae. Described as an epitaph.

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Again, an epitaph rather than a poetic lament, but when I was in Los Angeles earlier in the year, I was told that Mel Blanc (the voice of Bugs Bunny) is buried there (the cemetery is called 'Hollywood Forever' - what else?) and 'That's all folks!' is written on his headstone. I thought this was particularly good, although, sadly, I didn't see it for myself. Like Spike's, not especially poetic, but very witty.

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Here lies a Great and Mighty King

Whos' promise none rely'ed on

He never said a Foolish thing

Nor ever did a Wise one

 

John Wilmot Earl of Rochester on King Charles 2

 

Don't thinkit is actually on any gravestone as such, but was attributed to the Earl after King Charles death.

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If you've seen The Royal Tenebaums:

 

In the funeral scene, the epitaph reads 'Died heroically saving his family from a sinking ship' or words to that effect.

 

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Funnily enough, I was working on this only last week. Here's Wilde's, predictibly lyrical:

 

ALIEN TEARS WILL FILL FOR HIM

PITY'S LONG-BROKEN ERN,

FOR HIS MOURNERS WILL BE OUTCAST MEN,

AND OUTCASTS ALWAYS MOURN.

 

Shakespeare's is somewhat morbid:

 

Good frend for Jesus sake forbeare,

To digg the dust encloased heare!

Blest be the man that spares thes stones,

And curst be he that moves my bones.

 

You can see this one at Monk's House, Sussex, where Virginia and Leonard Woolf used to live; Virginia's buried in the garden:

 

Against you I will fling myself,

unvanquished and unyielding, O Death!

And the other one I like is Christopher Wren's. Where's he buried? Guess...

LECTOR, SI MONUMENTUM REQUIRIS CIRCUMSPICE

(Reader, if you seek his monument look around.)

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This one may be apocryphal but is said to be in a churchyard in Cheltenham

 

Here lie I and my four daughters

Dead of drinking Cheltenham Waters

If we'd but stuck to Epsom salts

We wouldn't be lying in these here vaults.

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