An epitaph is a statement written in memory of someone, particularly a statement that is carved on a tombstone or memorial. These are often short, poignant statements about the person who has passed away.
Loving wife and mother
Beloved son, gone too soon
Gone, but not forgotten
Always in our hearts
I have fought the good fight, I have finished the course
Examples of Famous Epitaphs
Robert Frost wrote these words himself before he died:
And were an epitaph to be my story, I'd have a short one ready for my own.
I would have written of me on my stone: I had a lover's quarrel with the world.
William Butler Yeats also write his epitaph:
Cast a cold eye on life, O Death! Horseman, pass by!
Shakespeare, who had a premonition that someone might dig up his grave, wrote these words for his epitaph:
Good friend for Jesus sake forebear,
To digg the dust encloased heare.
Blease be the man that spares these stones,
And curse be he that moves my bones.
Ben Johnson's epitaph for his 7 year-old son:
Farewell, thou child of my right hand and joy;
My sin was too much hope of thee, lov'd boy,
Seven years thou wert lent to me and I thee pay
Exacted by thy fate on the just day.
O, could I lose all father, now. For why
Will man lament the state he should envy?
To have so soon scap'd World's and flesh's rage,
And, if no other misery, yet age?
Rest in soft peace and ask'd say here doth life
Ben Johnson his best piece of poetrie.
For whose sake, henceforth, all his vows be such
As what he loves may never live too much.