EPITAPH, n. [1.] An inscription on a tomb, showing that virtues acquired by death have a retroactive effect. Following is a touching example:
Here lie the bones of Parson Platt,
Wise, pious, humble and all that,
Who showed us life as all should live it;
Let that be said — and God forgive it!
[2.] A monumental inscription designed to remind the deceased of what he might have been if he had had the will and opportunity. The following epitaphs were copied by a prophet from the headstones of the future:
“Here lies the remains of great Senator Vrooman,
Whose head was as hard as the heart of a woman —
Whose heart was as soft as the head of a hammer.
Dame Fortune advanced him to eminence, d—— her!”
“We mourn the loss
Of Senator Cross.
If he’d perished later
Our grief had been greater.
If he never had died
We should always have cried.
As he died and decayed
His corruption was stayed.”
“Beneath this mound Charles Crocker now reposes;
Step lightly, strangers — also hold your noses.”
“The doctors they tried to hold William Stow back, but
We played at his graveside the sham and the sackbut.”