Five Fun and Interesting Epitaphs
When someone famous or beloved dies, it is common to have a special phrase or quote carved into the headstone. These engravings (or epitaphs) are a kind of parting gift to the world; more public than your last words and more permanent than a note written on paper, these messages are what people who visit your gravesite carry with them for years to come.
It is no wonder that some of history’s more notable figures have epitaphs worth paying attention to. Although you will find interesting headstones in any cemetery you visit, here are a few of our favorites.
- Winston Churchill: This British prime minister was known for his sharp wit and irascibility. His headstone epitaph combines the best of those two qualities.
“I am ready to meet my Maker. Whether my Maker is prepared for the great ordeal of meeting me is another matter.”
- David Hume: A Scottish philosopher and historian of the eighteenth century, David Hume was most famous for his explorations of human nature and the science of man. It makes sense, then, that his grave sums up the essence of being as:
“Within this circular idea / Called vulgarly a tomb / The ideas and impressions lie / That constituted Hume.”
- Dorothy Parker: This famous American writer and satirist left many notable quotes behind, most of which are tributes to her ability to capture sentiment in short, witty lines. Her self-chosen epitaph is no different, and her cremated ashes were interred with a memorial plaque that reads:
“Excuse my dust.”
- Aphra Behn: A dramatist in the seventeenth century, Aphra Behn is not the most well-known person on this list, but she did manage to sum up her life’s work and beliefs in a few short lines.
“Here lies a Proof that Wit can never be / Defence enough against Mortality.”
- Ludolph van Ceulen: It is not just the famous authors and wits who get great epitaphs. Few people would recognize Ludolph van Ceulen by name, but his headstone sums up his entire life’s work:
As you can probably tell, van Ceulen was a mathematician famous for his calculation of pi to 35 digits – a pretty impressive feat for the year 1610.
History is full of interesting epitaphs and heartwarming messages to future generations. All you have to do is walk through a cemetery to see for yourself what measures individuals (and their families) will take to capture an entire lifetime in a few short words.