C.N. Douglas, comp. Forty Thousand Quotations: Prose and Poetical. 1917.


Peas to his Hashes.

Epitaph on a London Cook.

Satire does not look pretty upon a tombstone.

Charles Lamb.

Here lies one whose name was writ in water.

Engraved on Keats’ Tombstone.

  • It is so soon that I am done for,
  • I wonder what I was begun for!
  • Epitaph in Cheltenham Churchyard.

  • Shrine of the mighty! can it be,
  • That this is all remains of thee?
  • Byron.

    Grave-stones tell truth scarce forty years. Generations pass while families last not three oaks.

    Sir Thomas Browne.

    If you would see his monument look around.

    Inscription on the tomb of Sir Christopher Wrenn, St. Paul’s, London.

  • Of Manners gentle, of Affections mild;
  • In Wit a man; Simplicity, a child.
  • Pope.

  • Nature and Nature’s laws lay hid in night.
  • God said “Let Newton be”! and all was light.
  • Pope.

    Let there be no inscription upon my tomb; let no man write my epitaph; no man can write my epitaph.


  • And many a holy text around she strews
  • That teach the rustic moralist to die.
  • Gray.

  • Life is a jest, and all things show it,
  • I thought so once, but now I know it.
  • Gay.

  • Here lies Anne Mann; she lived an
  • Old maid and died an old Mann.
  • Bath Abbey.

    I conceive disgust at these impertinent and misbecoming familiarities inscribed upon your ordinary tombstone.

    Charles Lamb.

  • Nobles and heralds, by your leave,
  • Here lies what once was Matthew Prior,
  • The son of Adam and of Eve:
  • Can Bourbon or Nassau claim higher?
  • Prior.

  • These are two friends whose lives were undivided;
  • So let their memory be, now they have glided
  • Under the grave; let not their bones be parted,
  • For their two hearts in life were single-hearted.
  • Shelley.

  • To this sad shrine, whoe’er thou art! draw near,
  • Here lies the friend most lov’d, the son most dear;
  • Who ne’er knew joy but friendship might divide,
  • Or gave his father grief but when he died.
  • Pope.

  • By foreign hands thy dying eyes were closed,
  • By foreign hands thy decent limbs composed,
  • By foreign hands thy humble grave adorned,
  • By strangers honored, and by strangers mourned.
  • Pope.

  • Beneath these green trees rising to the skies,
  • The planter of them, Isaac Greentrees, lies;
  • The time shall come when these green trees shall fall,
  • And Isaac Greentrees rise above them all.
  • Epitaph at Harrow, England.

    After your death you were better have a bad epitaph than their ill report while you lived.


  • The turf has drank a
  • Widow’s tear;
  • Three of her husbands
  • Slumber here.
  • Epitaph at Staffordshire.

  • Traveller, let your step be light,
  • So that sleep these eyes may close,
  • For poor Scarron, till to-night,
  • Ne’er was able e’en to doze.
  • Scarron, Epitaph written by himself.

  • Johnny Carnegie lies here
  • Descendit of Adam and Eve,
  • Gif only can gang hieher,
  • I’se willing give him leve.
  • Epitaph in an old Scottish Churchyard.

  • Emigravit, is the inscription on the tombstone where he lies;
  • Dead he is not, but departed,—for the artist never dies.
  • Longfellow, Nuremberg.

  • 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.
  • Sam’l Johnson, Epitaph for Hogarth.

  • Here lies Nolly Goldsmith, for shortness called Noll,
  • Who wrote like an angel, and talked like poor Poll.
  • David Garrick.

  • If e’er she knew an evil thought
  • She spoke no evil word:
  • Peace to the gentle! She hath sought
  • The bosom of her Lord.
  • Ebenezer Elliot.

  • 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.
  • Tennyson, Epitaph on Lord Stratford.

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

  • Ere sin could blight or sorrow fade,
  • Death came with friendly care;
  • The opening bud to Heaven conveyed,
  • And bade it blossom there.
  • Coleridge, Epitaph on an Infant.

    Here lie the remains of James Pady, Brickmaker, in hope that his clay will be remoulded in a workmanlike manner, far superior to his former perishable materials.

    Epitaph from Addiscombe Churchyard, England.

  • Underneath this stone doth lie
  • As much beauty as could die;
  • Which in life did harbor give
  • To more virtue than doth live.
  • If at all she had a fault,
  • Leave it buried in this vault.
  • Ben Jonson.

  • Man’s life is like unto a winter’s day,
  • Some break their fast and so depart away,
  • Others stay dinner then depart full fed;
  • The longest age but sups and goes to bed.
  • Oh, reader, then behold and see,
  • As we are now so must you be.
  • Bishop Henshaw.

  • Underneath this crust
  • Lies the mouldering dust
  • Of Eleanor Batchelor Shoven,
  • Well versed in the arts
  • Of pies, custards and tarts,
  • And the lucrative trade of the oven.
  • When she lived long enough,
  • She made her last puff,
  • A puff by her husband much praised.
  • And now she doth lie
  • And make a dirt pie,
  • In hopes that her crust may be raised.
  • Epitaph on a Yorkshire Cook, England.

  • And here the precious dust is laid;
  • Whose purely temper’d clay was made
  • So fine that it the guest betray’d.
  • Else the soule grew so fast within,
  • It broke the outward shell of sinne
  • And so was hatch’d a cherubin.
  • Thos. Carew.

  • From his cradle
  • He was a scholar, and a ripe, and good one;
  • Exceeding wise, fair spoken, and persuading;
  • Lofty and sour to them that lov’d him not,
  • But to those men that sought him, sweet as summer:
  • *****
  • And to add greater honors to his age
  • Than man could give, he died fearing God.
  • Shakespeare.

  • I came at morn—’twas spring, I smiled,
  • The fields with green were clad;
  • I walked abroad at noon,—and lo!
  • ’Twas summer,—I was glad;
  • I sate me down; ’twas autumn eve,
  • And I with sadness wept;
  • I laid me down at night, and then
  • ’Twas winter,—and I slept.
  • Mary Pyper.

    The body of Benjamin Franklin, Printer (like the cover of an old book, its contents torn out and stript of its lettering and gilding), lies here, food for worms; but the work shall not be lost, for it will (as he believed) appear once more in a new and more elegant edition, revised and corrected by the author.

    Benjamin Franklin.

  • Full many a life he saved
  • With his undaunted crew;
  • He put his trust in Providence,
  • And cared not how it blew.
  • Epitaph in Deal Churchyard, England.

  • Here rests his head, upon the lap of earth,
  • A youth to fortune and to fame unknown;
  • Fair Science frown’d not on his humble birth,
  • And Melancholy mark’d him for her own.
  • Large was his bounty, and his soul sincere;
  • Heav’n did a recompense as largely send:
  • He gave to Mis’ry (all he had) a tear,
  • He gain’d from Heav’n (’twas all he wish’d) a friend,
  • No farther seek his merits to disclose,
  • Or draw his frailties from their dread abode;
  • There they alike in trembling hope repose,
  • The bosom of his Father and his God.
  • Gray.