- An epitaph (from Ancient Greek ἐπιτάφιος (epitáphios) 'a funeral oration'; from ἐπι- (epi-) 'at, over', and τάφος (táphos) 'tomb') is a short text honoring a deceased person. Strictly speaking, it refers to text that is inscribed on a tombstone or plaque, but it may also be used in a figurative sense. Some epitaphs are specified by the person themselves before their death, while others are chosen by those responsible for the burial. An epitaph may be written in prose or in poem verse. Most epitaphs are brief records of the family, and perhaps the career, of the deceased, often with a common expression of love or respect—for example, "beloved father of ..."—but others are more ambitious. From the Renaissance to the 19th century in Western culture, epitaphs for notable people became increasingly lengthy and pompous descriptions of their family origins, career, virtues and immediate family, often in Latin. Notably, the Laudatio Turiae, the longest known Ancient Roman epitaph, exceeds almost all of these at 180 lines; it celebrates the virtues of an honored wife, probably of a consul. Some are quotes from holy texts, or aphorisms. One approach of many epitaphs is to "speak" to the reader and warn them about their own mortality. A wry trick of others is to request the reader to get off their resting place, inasmuch as the reader would have to be standing on the ground above the coffin to read the inscription. Some record achievements (e.g., past politicians note the years of their terms of office). Nearly all (excepting those where this is impossible by definition, such as the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier) note name, year or date of birth, and date of death. Many list family members and the relationship of the deceased to them (for example, "Father / Mother / Son / Daughter of"). (en)
- Oh God (en)
- And the beat goes on. (en)
- He never killed a man that did not need killing. (en)
- Here lies One whose Name was writ in Water (en)
- Homo sum! the adventurer (en)
- I told you I was ill. (en)
- I've finally stopped getting dumber. (en)
- When you go home, tell them of us and say,
For your tomorrow, we gave our today (en)
- While you live, shine
have no grief at all
life exists only for a short while
and Time demands his due. (en)
- That's all folks! (en)
- Against you I will fling myself, unvanquished and unyielding, O Death! (en)
- We must know. We will know. (en)
- This is my father's crime against me, which I myself committed against none. (en)
- To save your world you asked this man to die:
Would this man, could he see you now, ask why? (en)
- Sleep after toyle, port after stormie seas,
Ease after warre, death after life, does greatly please. (en)
- Go tell the Spartans, stranger passing by
that here, obedient to their law, we lie. (en)
- There is borne an empty hearse
covered over for such as appear not.
Heroes have the whole earth for their tomb. (en)
- Here sleeps at peace a Hampshire Grenadier
Who caught his early death by drinking cold small beer.
Soldiers, be wise at his untimely fall,
And when you're hot, drink strong or none at all. (en)
- Heroes and Kings your distance keep;
In peace let one poor poet sleep,
Who never flattered folks like you;
Let Horace blush and Virgil too. (en)
- Cast a cold eye
On life, on death.
Horseman, pass by! (en)
- Good frend for İesvs sake forebeare,
To digg the dvst encloased heare.
Bleste be yͤ man yͭ spares thes stones,
And cvrst be he yͭ moves my bones.
Good friend, for Jesus's sake forbear
To dig the dust enclosed here.
Blessed be the man that spares these stones,
And cursed be he that moves my bones. (en)