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Wherefore I joy that you may see,
Upon my head, such strings to be.


God grant to those that white hairs have,
No worse them take than I have meant:
That, after they be laid in grave,
Their souls may joy their lives well spent •
God grant likewise that you may see,
Upon your head, such hairs to be.


EPITAPH is from the Greek (EPI, upon, and TAPHOS, tomb), and signifies what is written on a tomb, that is, a monumental inscription. It is usually very brief. Its general tone is serious. But often it has been made the vehicle of wit, humor, and satire, and not seldom the channel of gross flattery or slander.


BAMUEL JOHNSON. 1. An epitaph, as the word itself implies, is an inscription on the tomb, and in its most extensive import may admit indiscriminately satire or praise. But, as malice has seldom produced monuments of defamation, and the tombs hitherto raised have been the work of friendship and benevolence, custom has contracted the original latitude of the word, so that it signifies, in the general acceptation, an inscription engraven on a tomb in · honor of the person deceased.

2. As honors are paid to the dead in order to incite others to the imitation of their excellencies, the principal intention of epitaphs is to perpetuate the examples of virtue, that the tomb: of a good man may supply the want of his presence, and veneration for his memory produce the same effect as the observation of his life. Those spitaphs are, therefore, the most perfect, which set virtue in the strongest light, and are best adapted to exalt the reader's ideas and rouse his emulation.

3. The best subject for epitaphs is private virtue; virtua exerted in the same circumstances in which the bulk of man. kind are placed, and which, therefore, may admit of many imitadrs. He that has delivered his country from oppression, or freed the world from ignorance and error, can excite the emulation of a very small number; but he that has repelled the temptations of poverty, and disdained to free himself from distress at the expense of his virtue, may animate multitudes, by his example, to the same firmness of heart and steadiness of resolution.



Underneath this sable hearse
Lies the subject of all verse :
Sidney's sister, Pembroke's mother.
Death, ere thou canst find another,
Good, and fair, and wise as she,
Time shall throw a dart at thee.



Here lies, now a prey to insulting neglect,
What once was a butterfly, gay in life's beam :
Want only of wisdom denied her respect,
Want only of goodness denied her esteem.

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Stop, Christian passer-by, stop, child of God !
And read with gentle breast. Beneath this sod
A poet lies, or that which once seemed he-
Oh, lift a thought in prayer for S. T. C.!
That he, who, many a year, with toil of breath,
Found death in life, may here find life in death!

Mercy, for praise-to be forgiven, for fame,
He asked and hoped through Christ. Do thou the same



Stranger ! behold, interred together,
The souls of learning and of leather.
Poor Joe is gone, but left his all:
You'll find his relics in a stall.
His works were neat, and often found
Well stitched, and with morocco bound.
Tread lightly–where the bard is laid,
He cannot mend the shoe he made;
Yet is he happy in his hole.
With verse immortal as his sole.
But still to business he held fast,
And stuck to Phoebus to the last.
Then who shall say so good a fellow
Was only "leather and prunella ?”
For character-he did not lack it;
And, if he did, 'twere shame to Black-it.”

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WILLIAM COWPKR Here Johnson lies—a sage by all allowed, Whom to have bred, may well make England proud ; Whose prose was eloquence, by wisdom taught, The graceful vehicle of virtuous thought; Whose verse may claim-grave, masculine, and strong, Superior praise to the mere poet's song; Who many a noble gift from heaven possessed, And faith at last, alone worth all the rest. O man, immortal by a double prize, By fame on earth—by glory in the skies !

* Blackett was a shoemaker and a poet.




Here lies our sovereign lord the king,

Whose word no man relies on;
Who never said a foolish thing,

And never did a wise one.



Nature and nature's laws lay hid in night:
God said — Let Newton be! and there was light.

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From life's superfluous cares enlarged,
His debt of human toil discharged,
Here Cowley lies, beneath this shed,
To every worldly interest dead :
With decent poverty content;
His hours of ease not idly spent;
To fortune's goods a foe professed,
And, hating wealth, by all caressed.
'Tis sure he's dead ! for lo! how small
A spot of earth is now his all !
Oh! wish that earth may lightly lay,
And every care be far away;
Bring flowers, the short-lived roses bring,
To life deceased fit offering!
And sweets around the poet strow,
Whilst yet with life his ashes glow

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ON A MISER. Here crumbling lies beneath this mold A man whose sole delight was gold; Content was never once his guest, Though twice ten thousand filled his chest; For he, poor man, with all his store, Died in great want the want of more!



Nothing but leaves; the spirit grieves

Over a wasted life;
Sin committed while conscience slept,
Promises made but never kept,

Hatred, battle, and strife;
. Nothing but leaves !

Nothing but leaves; no garnered sheaves

Of life’s fair, ripened grain ; Words, idle words, for earnest deeds ; We sow our seeds—lo! tares and weeds; We reap with toil and pain

Nothing but leaves !


Nothing but leaves; memory weaves

No vail to screen the past :
As we retrace our weary way,
Counting each lost and misspent day-
We find, sadly, at last,

Nothing but leaves !

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