On Epitaphs and Graves

An epitaph is an inscription inscribed on a grave, preferably a tombstone. It is the summation of a life engraved in stone, recalling the soul of the person, and some left epitaphs as they waited to leave, like the epitaph of Molière (1622-1673), he was leaving “Here lies Molière, the king of actors. In these moments he plays dead, and he does it well,” he wrote at the time.

They are usually messages or expressions that provoke thought, although some people did not stop joking even after death and wrote epitaphs such as: “If I am no longer alive, it is because I have no time.” (Sade Marquis)

There is also this myth, an urban legend about a certain epitaph, as in the case of the great Groucho Marx (1890-1977). It doesn’t actually say “I’m sorry I didn’t get up,” it just has the Star of David, his first and last name, and dates of birth and death. Those words came from Groucho, who said in an interview that he wanted it to be his epitaph.

A line from the tomb of the German composer Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750) is also wrong: “From here I cannot escape.” However, in his church of St. Thomas in Leipzig (Germany) In his tomb, we can only read the name of the artist. Bach, known as the Baroque genius, died of a stroke complicated by pneumonia at the age of 65.

Breaking the myth, we return to the theme and this touching last words: “Here lies the remains of a man who was beautiful but not vain, strong but not arrogant, courageous but not cruel, and possessed all human virtues but not vices.” It is very ironic that Byron (1788-1824) dedicated these beautiful words to his faithful dog Botswain.

Of course, there are also great and famous actors who have tummy time. “Dear God, give your love to Lacey; she gave a lot.” It was written on the grave of the most famous collie in film and television.

Lassie is a collie (actually a male named Parr) created by Roddy McDowell for the Lassie Comes Home series. The success of the role led to the story being adapted into a film in 1943. The film was followed by other films, such as Lacey’s Courage, in which Elizabeth Taylor made her acting debut. Years later, Lacey made it to the small screen with her own television series. This epitaph appears on the grave of the original Lacey/Pal, who died in Hollywood in 1958 at the age of 18 and is buried in Los Angeles.

All of us who grew up watching four TV channels, reading three pages of newspapers a day, and listening to Radio Colonia as children will surely remember Rin Tin Tin, an actor dog who starred in several films between 1923 and 1930. The role was so successful that Lin Ding Ding Ding Ding started having his own radio show about his adventures, but he only barks on the show. The success of his films meant that once the original animal died, the character was rescued and became a successful TV series in the sixties. In it, the role of Rin Tin Tin is played by the other dogs, who share the bills with the inseparable friend. The canine hero is based on: Corporal Rusty, played by the boy Lee Acker. The dog was buried at the Animal Cemetery in Asnières (Paris). His epitaph is simple and reflects his talent: “Great movie star”.

Tombstone of Enrique Jadir Ponceira

Other epitaphs also suggest the dead come back to life, such as that of Enrique Jardiel Poncela (1901-1952), a writer, playwright and humorist from Madrid who wrote Eloy Under the Almond Tree”, “We Thieves Are Honest Men” or the novel “La Tournée de”. Dios. “If you’re looking for the highest praise, die” or Colonel Francis Chartres (1672-1732) “He disappeared in battle and here he appeared” Continuing the theme is Martin Luther King Jr. (1929-1968) “Freedom” at last. Free at last. Thank God Almighty. I am free at last. “

In some graves you can read marital condemnation like that of Anthony Drake from Massachusetts: “In memory of Anthony Drake, who died in search of peace and silence, whose Wife keeps disturbing him and seeks rest in $12 coffin.” “Here lies my husband, finally stiff”, or “Here you lie, doing well. You rest and I rest.”

Others kindly evoke a beloved woman “You came in my dreams, you lived in my heart, you were part of my thoughts, beautiful lady, we miss you” (Araceli Zatsepam, Hollywood Memorial Park, California, USA) .

Marital disagreements are often an inexhaustible source of posthumous memory, or rather, an eternal source of recriminations: some do so with a blessed farewell: “Lord, with the same joy Receive her as I sent her to you”, while others only evoke that distant relationship, uniting them: “Here lies my wife, cold as ever.”

biting epitaph

Many epitaphs invoke God’s mercy: “My Jesus, have mercy,” inscribed Al Capone (1899-1947) on his grave. The lord of the underworld spent most of his later years in the prison hospital, and was finally released on November 16, 1939. He was penniless, sickly, and mentally deteriorating. He retired to his estate in Miami Beach, Florida, secluded from the outside world. On January 21, 1947, Capone suffered a stroke and died of pneumonia four days later. He was buried at Mount Olive Cemetery and moved with the remains of his father and brother to Mount Carmel Cemetery in West Chicago.

al capone tombstone

Diogenes’ satirical epitaph from the fifth century B.C. is a classic: “When I die, throw me to the wolves. I’m used to it” or what Frank Sinatra said : “The best is yet to come”.

A genius named Mark Twain wrote the diary of Adam and Eve. He carved this epitaph on Eva’s grave: “Wherever she is, there is heaven.”

Others documented themes of faith they embraced in the last years of their lives. “Serving others is the rent you pay for your place in heaven,” reads the tombstone of Muslim Muhammad Ali (American, 1942-2016) or Cassius Clay before his conversion to Islam. Ali was one of the greatest boxers of the last century. Off the ring, he was an activist for the civil rights and human rights of minorities in the United States (especially the African-American belt). He opposed the Vietnam War and even publicly declared himself a minority in the United States. Ethnic civil rights and human rights fighters. Conscientious objectors to avoid being sent to the front. He died in 2016 after suffering from Parkinson’s disease for decades.

From biggest to best on the quad? about a car. Ayrton Senna (Brazil, 1960 – Italy, 1994) was a Formula One driver and three-time world champion. He has played for Lotus, McLaren, Williams and other teams. Our admiration for Juan Manuel Fangio was mutual to such an extent that the five-time champion was never informed of the Brazilian’s death on the recommendation of relatives as it would affect his health.

On his grave you can read “Nothing shall separate me from the love of God”. Ayrton has made no secret of his religious zeal. His faith reached the point where he was convinced that God was with him, but on May 1, 1994, something went wrong at the Monza circuit and the Brazilian crashed out of a corner and crashed into a concrete wall to his death. Senna’s body was returned to his native Brazil and buried in Morumbi Cemetery in São Paulo.

Antonio Machado – Page 12 – 02-22-19

There are obviously family epitaphs, such as that of Rocío Jurado: “You will always be remembered by your husband, children, brothers, grandsons, nephews and relatives.” The 1946-born Copra, flamenco and melodic singer of Cadiz, who was victorious in her country and Latin America, died in Madrid in 2006.

What can be read in Michael Jackson’s final rest is astonishing, it’s not just an epitaph, it looks like a resume, “Composer, singer, producer, dancer, choreographer, philanthropist, Jackson Member of the Five Brothers, soloist, 13 singles, 13 Grammys, 197 awards and 37 Top 40 hits. Step into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Motown legend. He left too soon.”

Less vain is Lemmy Kilmister, founder, leader and bassist of the band Motörhead, which began his career in 1975 and was active until his death in 2015. “I was born to lose, I live to win,” he said. Among Lemmy’s different tattoos, one of the most notable is the ace of spades, which reads “born to lose, live to win”. The phrase has been conjugated in the past after the death of the musician.

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