Famous people’s epitaphs reflect their dispositions, good or bad, while those of lesser lights prey on our love of puns:
William Shakespeare: Good frend, for Jesus’ sake forbeare/To digg the dust enclosed heare;/Blest be ye man yt spares thes stones,/And curst be he yt moves my bones.
John Gay: The world’s a joke, and all things show it./I thought so once, and now I know it.
Benjamin Franklin: The body of/Benjamin Franklin, printer,/Like the cover of an old book,/Its contents worn out/And stript of its lettering and gilding,/lies here food for the worms./Yet the work itself shall not be lost,/For it shall as he believes/Appear once more,/In a new/And more beautiful edition,/Corrected and amended/By the Author.
Archbishop Potter: Alack, alack, and well-a-day;/Potter himself is turned to clay.
John Camden Hotten: Hotten/Rotten/Forgotten
A music teacher: Stephen and tie/Are now both even:/Stephen beat time/Now time’s beat Stephen.
Emma and Maria Littleboy: Two littleboys lie here./Yet strange to say/The littleboys/Are girls.