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Here rests Erotion’s all-too-hurried shade,
dispatched in her sixth winter by Fate’s crime.
Make yearly offerings to her tiny ghost,
whoever rules this plot after my time.
So may your home and household last for years
with nothing but this stone to call for tears.

[Hic festinata requiescit Erotion umbra,
Crimine quam fati sexta peremit hiems.
Quisquis eris nostri post me regnator agelli,
Manibus exiguis annus iusta dato:
Sic lare perpetuo, sic turba sospite solus
Flebilis in terra sit lapis iste tua.]

Marcus Valerius Martial
Martial (AD c.39-c.103) Spanish Roman poet, satirist, epigrammatist [Marcus Valerius Martialis]
Epigrams [Epigrammata], Book 10, epigram 61 (10.61) (AD 95, 98 ed.) [tr. McLean (2014)]

See also his epitaph to Erotion at 5.34.

(Source (Latin)). Alternate translations:

In her sixth spring, behold Erotion laid:
If heaven we might arrain, an early shade.
Bland successor, whoe'er shall rule this field,
To my blest shadeling annual honors yield.
So may thy verdant vine perennial stand:
So may her teeming shoots o'erspred the land.
So may'st thou never feel a tendrel tor'n:
And may this single stone in thy dominion mourn.
[tr. Elphinston (1782), Book 4, ep. 20]

Underneath this greedy stone,
Lies little sweet Erotion;
Whom the fates, with hearts as cold,
Nipt away at six years old.
Thou, whoever thou mast be,
That hast this small field after me,
Let the yearly rites be paid
To her little slender shade;
So shall no disease or jar
Hurt thy house, or chill thy Lar;
But this tomb here be alone,
The only melancholy stone.
[tr. Hunt (1819)]

Here reposes Erotion in the shade of the tomb that too early closed around her, snatched away by relentless Fate in her sixth winter. Whoever you are that, after me, shall rule over these lands, render annual presents to her gentle shade. So, with undisturbed possession, so, with your family ever in health, may this stone be the only one of a mournful description on your domain.
[tr. Bohn's Classical (1859)]

Here lies Erotion in the shade
Of foliage planted newly.
In her sixth winter did she fade,
Cut off by fate unduly.
Thou, whosoe'er thou be, to whom
Ere long these fields I render,
The annual offerings at her tomb
Discharge; they are but slender.
So, son succeeding sire, from thee
No victims death shall borrow:
But on thy land this stone shall be
The only mark of sorrow.
[tr. Webb (1879)]

Here lies Erotion, whom at six years old
Fate pilfered. Stranger (when I too am cold
Who shall succeed me in my rural field),
To this small spirit annual honours yield.
Bright be thy hearth, hale be thy babes, I crave,
And this, in thy green farm, the only grave.
[tr. Stevenson (1883)]

Here in too early gloom rests Erotion whom, by crime of Fate, her sixth winter laid low. Whoe'er thou shalt be, the lord after me of my little field, to her tiny ghost pay thou year by year thy rites. So may they roof-tree continue, so thy household live unscathed, and in thy fields this gravestone alone call forth a tear!
[tr. Ker (1919)]

Here sleeps the body of the little maid,
Ere her sixth winter fate had called her shade
To hasten on;
Whoe’er thou art who after me shall own
This tiny plot,
Lay year by year the dues upon her stone;
Forget her not.
So shall thy house endure nor suffering know,
And this remain
The only sign and monument of woe
On thy domain.
[tr. Pott & Wright (1921)]

Here lies Erotion at untimely date,
In his sixth year cut down by cruel fate.
You, my successor in this little field,
To his poor ashes annual tribute yield.
So prosper house and home, and on this land
No other monument of mourning stand.
[tr. Francis & Tatum (1924), ep. 556]

Here lies our Erotion
in the untimely shadow of a gravestone.
Her sixth winter hurried her on
to an end that was destined.
I address the future owner of this land,
and ask his yearly reverence, made
to this slender shade:
May your household gods
forever flourish and your whole household enjoy
a happy life --
and may this single stone
be the one place for grief
on your land alone.
[tr. Bovie (1970)]

Here, six years old, by Destiny's crime
Made a ghost before her time,
Erotion lies. Whoever you be
Next lord of my small property,
See that the due of death are paid
Annually to her slender shade:
So may your hearth burn bright and strong,
Your household thrive, yourself live long,
And this small stone, throughout the years,
Remain your only cause for tears.
[tr. Michie (1972)]

Here lies Erotion's hastened shade, whom by crime of Fate her sixth winter slew. Make annual offering to her tiny ghost, whoever after me shall be ruler of my plot of land. So may your home continue and your household live on and this stone be the only thing on your property to call for tears.
[tr. Shackleton Bailey (1993)]

Here in premature gloom Erotion rests
whose sixth winter now will last forever.
Whoever tends this small field after me,
pay each year homage to her slender ghost:
then you will prosper here and never
weep, except this stone bring her to memory.
[tr. Matthews (1995)]

Added on 16-Oct-23 | Last updated 27-Nov-23
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Is not short paine well borne, that brings long ease,
And layes the soule to sleepe in quiet grave?
Sleepe after toyle, port after stormie seas,
Ease after warre, death after life, does greatly please.

Edmund Spenser (c. 1552-1599) English poet
The Faerie Queene, Book 1, Canto 9, st. 40 (1589-96)
Added on 6-Jul-20 | Last updated 6-Jul-20
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Here lie I, Martin Elginbrodde:
Hae mercy o’ my soul, Lord God;
As I wad do, were I Lord God,
And ye were Martin Elginbrodde.

George MacDonald (1824-1905) Scottish novelist, poet
David Elginbrod, ch. 13 (1863)
Added on 6-Jan-20 | Last updated 6-Jan-20
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For as much as I hate the cemetery, I’ve been grateful it’s here, too. I miss my wife. It’s easier to miss her at a cemetery, where she’s never been anything but dead, than to miss her in all the places where she was alive.

John Scalzi (b. 1969) American writer
Old Man’s War (2005)
Added on 23-Aug-16 | Last updated 23-Aug-16
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If, after I depart this vale, you ever remember me and have thought to please my ghost, forgive some sinner and wink your eye at some homely girl.
H L Mencken - epitaph

H. L. Mencken (1880-1956) American writer and journalist [Henry Lewis Mencken]
“Epitaph,” Smart Set (3 Dec 1921)
Added on 13-Oct-15 | Last updated 3-Jun-16
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The graveyards are full of people the world could not do without.

Elbert Hubbard (1856-1915) American writer, businessman, philosopher
“The Philistine” (May 1907)

Sometimes misquoted as:
  • "The graveyards are full of indispensable men"
  • "The cemeteries are full of indispensable men."
  • "The cemeteries are filled with people who thought the world could not get along without them."
Also attributed to Charles DeGaulle, Georges Clemenceau, and many others. More discussion: The Graveyards Are Full of Indispensable Men – Quote Investigator.
Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 14-Apr-21
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