Long before the age of Twitter, people have been encapsulating the full measure of the dearly departed in as much space a headstone or plaque allows. These epitaphs engraved on tombstones and memorials the world over go from wry to religious – but always attempting to define the person that was.
"A tomb now suffices him for whom the world was not enough"
Alexander the Great (Greek king)
"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 worms. Yet the work itself shall not be lost. It will (as he believed), appear once more In a new and more beautiful edition, corrected and amended by its Author"
Benjamin Franklin (A founding father of the United States)
"She did it the hard way."
Bette Davis (American actress)
"Vocatus atque non vocatus Deus aderit"
(Translated: "Invoked or not invoked, God will be present.")
Carl Jung (Swiss psychiatrist)
"Quoth the Raven, 'Nevermore.'"
Edgar Allan Poe (American writer, poet, editor and literary critic)
Emily Dickinson (American poet)
"The best is yet to come."
Frank Sinatra (American singer and actor)
"Looking into the portals of eternity teaches that The Brotherhood of Man is inspired by God's Word;
Then all prejudice of race vanishes away."
George Washington (first President of the United States)
"Workers of all lands unite. The philosophers have only interpreted the world in various ways; the point is to change it."
Karl Marx (German philosopher, political economist, historian, political theorist, sociologist, communist and revolutionary)
"The only proof he needed for the existence of God was music"
Kurt Vonnegut (American novelist)
(Translated "O, lord!")
Mahatma Gandhi (Indian philosopher)
"Free at last. Free at last. Thank God Almighty I'm Free At Last."
Martin Luther King, Jr. (American clergyman, activist and prominent leader)
"And alien tears will fill for him,
Pity's long-broken urn,
For his mourners will be outcast men,
And outcasts always mourn."
Oscar Wilde (Irish writer, poet, and prominent aesthete)
"I had a lover's quarrel with the world"
Robert Frost (American poet)
"Steel-true and blade-straight
The great artificer
Made my mate."
Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (Scottish physician and writer)
"Against you I will fling myself unvanquished and unyielding, O Death!"
Virginia Woolf (English novelist, essayist, diarist, epistler, publisher, feminist, and writer)
"Good friend for Jesus' sake forbear
To dig the dust enclosed here
Blest be the man that spares these stones
And cursed be he that moves my bones"
William Shakespeare (English poet and playwright)
"I am ready to meet my Maker.
Whether my Maker is prepared for the great ordeal of meeting me is another matter."
Sir Winston Churchill (British politician and soldier)