i guess i've been on a bit of a self-reflection tear lately and i've unfortunately had to deal with a few deaths recently which have also contributed to said reflections...epitaph: strictly, an inscription on a tomb; by extension, a statement, usually in verse, commemorating the dead. The earliest such inscriptions are those found on Egyptian sarcophagi. In England epitaphs did not begin to assume a literary character until the time of Elizabeth I. Ben Jonson, John Milton, Alexander Pope, and Samuel Johnson were considered masters of the art. The epitaph on Ben Jonson's own tomb in Westminster Abbey was splendidly brief: “O rare Ben Jonson!” Epitaphs are often humorous. It is not known whether the epitaph printed below is amusing by design or by accident: Here lie I Martin Elginbrodde: Have mercy on my soul, Lord God, As I wad do, were I Lord God, And ye were Martin Elginbrodde.
these recent brushes have had me thinking about my own mortality and what kind of legacy i hoped to leave behind when my own date with death came rolling around and if were to die today, what would my epitaph be...
guess my favourite quote (whether correctly attributed to emerson or not - it's been debated) sums it up for me...
"To laugh often and much, to win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children, to earn the appreciation of honest critics and endure the betrayal of false friends, to appreciate beauty, to find the best in others, to leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch, or a redeemed social condition, to know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived, THIS is to have succeeded." - Ralph Waldo Emerson
here's to hoping my epitaph would say "this man succeeded".
what would your epitaph say and what legacy do you hope to leave behind??