Today is National Epitaphs Day – at least I think it is – and I must thank those readers who, over the years, have sent me the following, for it means I can knock off early and prepare myself for yet another long weekend.
I have come across no noteworthy epitaphs on South African gravestones, but there appear to be plenty elsewhere.
It is my bounden duty – seeing today is NED – to share them with readers.
Some, such as the next three, are rather mean-spirited.
On a grave in East Dalhousie Cemetery, Nova Scotia:
Here lies Ezekial Aikle. Age 102. The Good Die Young.
In a London cemetery:
Here lies Ann Mann who lived an old maid but died an old Mann. December 8, 1767.
In a Ribbesford, England, cemetery:
The children of Israel wanted bread
And the Lord sent them manna,
Old clerk Wallace wanted a wife,
And the Devil sent him Anna.
On the grave of the victim of a road accident in Uniontown, Pennsylvania:
Here lies the body
of Jonathan Blake
Stepped on the gas
Instead of the brake.
On a 19th century grave in Silver City, Nevada:
Here lays Butch,
We planted him raw.
He was quick on the trigger,
But slow on the draw.
Sir John Strange’s epitaph on his tombstone in England:
Here lies an honest lawyer, and that is Strange.
An anonymous person in Stowe, Vermont:
I was somebody. Who, is no business of yours.
Lester Moore was a Wells Fargo Co station agent for Naco, Arizona, in the Wild West of the 1880s.
He is buried in the Boot Hill Cemetery in Tombstone, Arizona:
Here lies Lester Moore.
Four slugs from a .44.
No Les No More.
In a Georgia cemetery:
I told you I was sick!
John Penny’s epitaph in the cemetery at Wimborne, England:
Reader if cash thou art in want of any – Dig 4 feet deep and thou wilt find a Penny.
Anna Hopewell’s grave in Enosburg Falls, Vermont:
Here lies the body of our Anna
Done to death by a banana
It wasn’t the fruit that laid her low
But the skin of the thing that made her go.
Someone in Winslow, Maine, didn’t like Beza Wood:
In Memory of Beza Wood, departed this life November 2, 1837 aged 45 years. Here lies one Wood enclosed in wood.
One Wood within another.
The outer wood is very good:
We cannot praise the other.
On a grave from the 1880s in Nantucket, Massachusetts:
Under the sod and under the trees
Lies the body of Jonathan Pease.
He is not here, there’s only the pod:
Pease shelled out and went to God.
A grave in Girard, Pennsylvania:
Here lies Ellen Shannon who was fatally burned March 21, 1870 by the explosion of a lamp filled with RE Danforth’s Non-Explosive Burning Fluid.
In a Thurmont, Maryland, cemetery:
Here lies an atheist all dressed up and no place to go.
In Newbury, England (1742):
Tom Smith is dead, and here he lies,
Nobody laughs and nobody cries;
Where his soul’s gone, or how it fares,
Nobody knows, and nobody cares.
Hillaire Belloc (1870-1953), one of my favourite poets, but an indifferent politician:
Here richly, with ridiculous display,
The Politician’s corpse was laid away.
While all of his acquaintance sneered and slanged,