Monday, February 1, 2016

Curious Epitaphs and Death Superstitions

See also The Mysteries of Death - 250 Books on DVDrom and The Number 13 & Other Superstitions - 100 Books on DVDROM

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Here snug in grave my wife doth lie,
Now she's at rest, and so am I. (Old Grey Friars, Edinburgh)

Here lies Ned,
I'm glad he's dead ;
If there must be another,
I wish 'twere his brother,
And for the good of the nation
His whole generation. (Churchyard of St. Hilary, Cornwall)

Silence. (Halstead Churchyard, Essex)

At threescore winters' end I died,
A cheerless being, sole and sad;
The nuptial knot I never tied,
And wish my father never had. (From the Greek. Cowper. An old bachelor)

The wretched man who moulders here
Cared not for soul or body lost,
But only wept when death drew near,
To think how much his tomb would cost. (a Miser's epitaph)

Grieve not for me, my husband dear,
I am not dead, but sleeping, here;
With patience wait—prepare to die
And in short time you'll come to I.
I am not grieved, my dearest life,
Sleep on—I've got another wife;
Therefore, I cannot come to thee,
For I must go and live with she. (from a churchyard in Hereford)

Weep not for me, my husband dear,
Keep it in mind that I lies here,
And have compassion on the nine
Motherless children I left behind. (from a churchyard in Essex)

Two lovely babes lie buried here,
As ever bless'd their parents dear ;
But they were seized with ague fits,
And here they lie as dead as nits. (at Welshpool)

Here lies the body of Thomas Proctor,
Who lived and died without a doctor. (in Luton Church)

Here lies I and my three daughters,
Kill'd by drinking the Cheltenham waters;
If we had stuck to our Epsom salts,
We'd not been a lying in these here vaults. (at Cheltenham)

This world's a city full of crooked streets;
Death is the market-place where each one meets.
If life were only merchandize to buy,
The rich would live—the poor alone would die. (Milton Churchyard, Kent, and in Bengen Old Churchyard, Hertfordshire)

Mammy and I together lived
Just two years and a half;
She went first—I followed next,
The cow before the calf. (In Worcester Churchyard)

Beneath this stone lies one whose life
Was spent in quarrels and in strife.
Wake not his spirit from its rest,
For when he slept the world was blest. (epitaph of a quarrelsome man)

Death Signs From Newfoundland And Labrador (from The Journal of American Folk-lore 1900)

1. Three lamps lighted together mean death.

2. The striking of an old and disused clock signifies death.

3. If a blind falls down, some one in the house will soon die.

4. The meeting of congregations coming from church and chapel is a sign of death.

5. Rapping on the side of a house means death.

6. The enlarging of a house by joining together two houses or any enlarging or lengthening, and not widening, signifies death.

7. If a girl is married in black, one of the couple will soon die.

8. Leaving part of a potato bed unplanted means death within the year.

9. A hollow square resembling a coffin seen in a boiled pudding signifies death.

10. The frequent popping out from a lamp in the evening is a sign of death.

11. Seeing an absent friend is a "vision" or "token" that one will die within the year. Seeing him at sunset, however, signifies long life; at midday, short life.

12. Seeing one's self is a token of long life if you live over that year.

13. On the death of a first child in a family, all its clothes must be given away, or the succeeding children will die.

14. Some article of clothing intended for an unborn baby must be left unfinished or unbought, or the child will die.

15. If a baby is measured within a year, it will die.

16. It is unlucky for a father to make a coffin for his first child. The child would die.

17. It is unlucky to put the baby to the looking-glass before a year old. The child will die.

18. It is unlucky to cut an infant's nails before a year old. The child will die.

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