Here’s a treat for Halloween. Most of us have been to a cemetery at least once in our lives. Modern tombstones tend to be rather boring and staid, but in earlier times, people tended to be a bit more frank when it came time to write an epitaph.
Take, for example, these verses which are not afraid to give their true opinion of the deceased.
Here lies the body of Richard Hind,
Who was neither ingenious, sober or kind.
Here lies the body of Thomas Kemp,
Who lived by wool and died by hemp;
There nothing would suffice the glutton
But with the fleece to steal the mutton;
Had he but worked and lived uprighter,
He’d ne’er been hung for a sheepbiter.
Beneath this stone, a lump of clay
Lies Arabella Young
Who on the 21st of May
Began to hold her tongue.
Some tombstones, however, were not intended to be funny, but they certainly are!
Sacred to the memory of
Major James Brush
who was killed by the accidental discharge of
a pistol by his orderly.
14th April 1831
Well done thou good and faithful servant.
A pillow of the settlement.
Born on this spot
A man of great courage
and superb equipment.
And lastly, here are some which seem to be speaking from beyond the grave.
My husband promised me
that my body should be
cremated but other
I’m Smith of Stoke, aged sixty odd,
I’ve lived without a dame
From youth-time on: and would to God
My dad had done the same.
Keep the commandments,
Don’t attempt to climb a tree,
For that’s what caused the death of me.
From “Famous Last Words & Tombstone Humor”