Get Your Premium Membership

Famous Epitaph Poems by Famous Poets

These are examples of famous Epitaph poems written by some of the greatest and most-well-known modern and classical poets. PoetrySoup is a great educational poetry resource of famous epitaph poems. These examples illustrate what a famous epitaph poem looks like and its form, scheme, or style (where appropriate).

See also:

by Burns, Robert
...IS there a whim-inspirèd fool,
Owre fast for thought, owre hot for rule,
Owre blate to seek, owre proud to snool,
 Let him draw near;
And owre this grassy heap sing dool,
 And drap a tear.

Is there a bard of rustic song,
Who, noteless, steals the crowds among,
That weekly this area throng,
 O, pass not by!
But, with a frater-feeling strong,
 Here, he...Read More

by Burns, Robert
...KNOW thou, O stranger to the fame
Of this much lov’d, much honoured name!
(For none that knew him need be told)
A warmer heart death ne’er made cold....Read More

by Aiken, Conrad
for phrase and periphrase of praise between
the twin indignities of birth and death?
Li Yung, the master of the epitaph,
forgetting about meaning, who himself
had added 'meaning' to the book of >things,'
lies who knows where, himself sans epitaph,
his text, too, lost, forever lost ...
 And yet, no,
text lost and poet lost, these only flow
into that other text that knows no year.
The peachtree in the poem is still here.
The song is in the peachtree ...Read More

by Seeger, Alan
...s dignified? 
Oh, bury them deeper than the sea 
In universal obloquy; 
Forget the ground where they lie, or write 
For epitaph: "Too proud to fight." 

I have been too long from my country's shores 
To reckon what state of mind is yours, 
But as for myself I know right well 
I would go through fire and shot and shell 
And face new perils and make my bed 
In new privations, if ROOSEVELT led; 
But I have given my heart and hand 
To serve, in serving another land, 
Ideals ...Read More

by de la Mare, Walter
...Interr'd beneath this marble stone, 
Lie saunt'ring Jack and idle Joan. 
While rolling threescore years and one 
Did round this globe their courses run; 
If human things went ill or well; 
If changing empires rose or fell; 
The morning passed, the evening came, 
And found this couple still the same. 
They walk'd and eat, good folks: what then? 
Why...Read More

by Sidney, Sir Philip
..., as to frame
A nest for my young praise in lawrell tree:
In truth, I sweare I wish not there should be
Grau'd in my epitaph a Poets name.
Ne, if I would, could I iust title make,
That any laud thereof to me should growe,
Without my plumes from others wings I take:
For nothing from my wit or will doth flow,
Since all my words thy beauty doth endite,
And Loue doth hold my hand, and makes me write. 

Stella, while now, by Honours cruell might,
I am fro...Read More

by Baudelaire, Charles, 
No man, woman, or child alive could please 
Me now. And yet I almost dare to laugh 
Because I sit and frame an epitaph-- 
"Here lies all that no one loved of him 
And that loved no one." Then in a trice that whim 
Has wearied. But, though I am like a river 
At fall of evening when it seems that never 
Has the sun lighted it or warmed it, while 
Cross breezes cut the surface to a file, 
This heart, some fraction of me, hapily 
Floats through a window even now ...Read More

by Lanier, Sidney
Yea, standest smiling in thy future grave,
Serene and brave,
With unremitting breath
Inhaling life from death,
Thine epitaph writ fair in fruitage eloquent,
Thyself thy monument.

As poets should,
Thou hast built up thy hardihood
With universal food,
Drawn in select proportion fair
From honest mould and vagabond air;
From darkness of the dreadful night,
And joyful light;
From antique ashes, whose departed flame
In thee has finer life and longer fame;
From wounds and ba...Read More

by Swift, Jonathan the Mantuan swains;
There let her frisk about her new-found love:
She loved a dog when she was here above.

The Epitaph

Here lies beneath this marble
An animal could bark, or warble:
Sometimes a *****, sometimes a bird,
Could eat a tart, or eat a t -....Read More

by Gray, Thomas
...saw him borne,— 
Approach and read, for thou can'st read, the lay
Graved on the stone beneath yon aged thorn."


Here rests his head upon the lap of earth
A Youth, to Fortune and to Fame unknown:
Fair Science frowned not on his humble birth,
And Melancholy marked him for her own.

Large was his bounty, and his soul sincere,
Heaven did a recompense as largely send:
He gave to Misery (all he had) a tear,
He gained from Heaven ('twas all he wished) a friend.<...Read More

by Thoreau, Henry David
...Here lies the body of this world, 
Whose soul alas to hell is hurled. 
This golden youth long since was past, 
Its silver manhood went as fast, 
An iron age drew on at last; 
'Tis vain its character to tell, 
The several fates which it befell, 
What year it died, when 'twill arise, 
We only know that here it lies....Read More

by Eliot, T S (Thomas Stearns)
The complete consort dancing together)
Every phrase and every sentence is an end and a beginning,
Every poem an epitaph. And any action
Is a step to the block, to the fire, down the sea's throat
Or to an illegible stone: and that is where we start.
We die with the dying:
See, they depart, and we go with them.
We are born with the dead:
See, they return, and bring us with them.
The moment of the rose and the moment of the yew-tree
Are of equal duration....Read More

by Bradstreet, Anne
2.91 If then new things, their old form must retain, 
2.92 Eliza shall rule Albian once again. 

Her Epitaph. 

3.1 Here sleeps T H E Queen, this is the royal bed 
3.2 O' th' Damask Rose, sprung from the white and red, 
3.3 Whose sweet perfume fills the all-filling air, 
3.4 This Rose is withered, once so lovely fair: 
3.5 On neither tree did grow such Rose before, 
3.6 The greater was our gain, our loss the more. 

Another.<...Read More

by Jennings, Elizabeth encountered face to face.

Sentiment will creep in. I cast it out
Wishing to give these classical repose,
No epitaph, no poppy and no rose
From me, and certainly no wish to learn about
The way they lived or died. In earth or fire
They are gone. Simply because they were human, I admire....Read More

by Donne, John
...the heat, which fire in solid matter
Leave behinde, two houres after.
Once I lov's and dy'd; and am now become
Mine Epitaph and Tombe.
Here dead men speake their last, and so do I;
Love-slaine, loe, here I lye....Read More

by Shelley, Percy Bysshe
...playful saying
At which I laughed or seemed to laugh. 
They were his words--now heed my praying,
And let them be my epitaph.
Thy memory for a term may be
My monument. Wilt remember me?
I know thou wilt; and canst forgive,
Whilst in this erring world to live
My soul disdained not, that I thought
Its lying forms were worthy aught,
And much less thee.

Oh, speak not so!
But come to me and pour thy woe 
Into this heart, full though it be,
Aye overflowing wit...Read More

by Tennyson, Alfred Lord
...then, Psyche, take my life, 
And nail me like a weasel on a grange 
For warning: bury me beside the gate, 
And cut this epitaph above my bones; 
~Here lies a brother by a sister slain, 
All for the common good of womankind.~' 
'Let me die too,' said Cyril, 'having seen 
And heard the Lady Psyche.' 
I struck in: 
'Albeit so masked, Madam, I love the truth; 
Receive it; and in me behold the Prince 
Your countryman, affianced years ago 
To the Lady Ida: here, for here sh...Read More

by Byron, George (Lord)
First ask him for his answer to my letter: 


'My charges upon record will outlast 
The brass of both his epitaph and tomb.' 
'Repent'st thou not,' said Michael, 'of some past 
Exaggeration? something which may doom 
Thyself if false, as him if true? Thou wast 
Too bitter — is it not so? — in thy gloom 
Of passion?' — 'Passion!' cried the phantom dim, 
'I loved my country, and I hated him. 


'What I have written, I have written: let 
The rest be...Read More

by Darwish, Mahmoud

My friends are always preparing a farewell feast for me, 
A soothing grave in the shade of oak trees 
A marble epitaph of time 
And always I anticipate them at the funeral: 
Who then has died...who? 

Writing is a puppy biting nothingness 
Writing wounds without a trace of blood. 

Our cups of coffee. Birds green trees 
In the blue shade, the sun gambols from one wall 
To another like a gazelle 
The water in the clouds has the unlimited ...Read More

by Harrison, Tony
...ese verses, and he/she wants to understand,
face this grave on Beeston Hill, your back to Leeds,
and read the chiselled epitaph I've planned:

Beneath your feet's a poet, then a pit.
Poetry supporter, if you're here to find
How poems can grow from (beat you to it!) ****
find the beef, the beer, the bread, then look behind....Read More

Dont forget to view our wonderful member Epitaph poems.