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“ BETTER TO HAVE A BAD EPITAPH WHEN DEAD, THAN THEIR
RANKEN & CO., DRURY HOUSE, STRAND, W.C.
Many of the Epitaphs found in this little book have been transcribed from the tomb-stones by the Collector, and others have been supplied by friends. Some express the character and peculiarities of the deceased, the feelings of surviving friends, reflections on the uncertainty of life, the shortness of time, the duration of eternity, and the value of the soul.
It has often been said that it is surprising so much nonsense should have been engraved on tomb-stones; but it must be remembered that as tragedy and comedy are often akin to each other, so the sublime and the ridiculous are often linked together. Care has been taken, however, not to reproduce any Epitaph bordering on impiety, for we entirely sympathise with Charles Lamb when he says :“ I conceive disgust at those impertinent and misbecoming familiarities inscribed upon your ordinary tomb-stones.”
There are "voices from the tombs” teaching lessons equally to the thoughtless and the reflective. A visit to
God's “own acre" in the secluded country village, or to the “city of the dead” near the bustling town, is equally suggestive, for there
“What monuments of mighty dead !
What tombs of various kinds are found !