Epitaph Database

Sometimes finding the right words in the midst of a difficult time can be complicated. It is impossible to sum up the multitude of human experiences found in a lifetime in only a few brief sentiments. It is however, very possible for one to express their sincerest love, sorrow, gratitude and best wishes in a quotation, bible verse or personalized statement.

The following is a collection of epitaphs, -some famous, others favorites found in local cemeteries and other historical resources. We hope these examples help you find your way to say what needs to be said in memory of your loved one.

Classic Epitaphs & Poetry Excerpts

And is it so - Is human life
So rare short and frail a thing;
And must youth's brightest visions move
And die away in early spring.

Sweet spirit thou hast soared from earth,
And seraphs hail thy heavenly birth;
Thou will one guardian angel be,
Until we rise to dwell with thee.

The rising morning can't assure
That we shall end the day
For Death stands ready at the door
To seize our lives away.

Frail as the leaves that quiver on the spray
Like them man flourishes like them decays.

My time is come next may be thine
therefore prepare while thou hast time
for that thou must preparéd be
to live with Him who died for thee

Death with his dart, has pierced my hart
When I was in my prime
When this you see, lament for me
Twas God's appointed time.

Dear as thou wert, and justly dear,
We will not weep for thee;
One thought shall check the starting tears
It is that thou art free.

There is a world above
Where parting is unknown
A long eternity of love
Form'd for the good above
And faith beholds the dying here
Transplanted to that glorious sphere.

It is well with me why dost thou weep,
As thou saw thy lov'd one in his last long sleep,
As thou, lingerest to gaze on my dwelling of clay
Forgetting my spirit in his white array.

No link of friendship's golden chain
Is severed by the hand of death;
Affections ties are still the same
As when thy form breathed vital breath.

O spirit freed from earth
Rejoice, thy work is done
Say not good night
But in some brighter clime
Bid me good morning.

Father dear in thy care we leave you
Whom our hearts have loved so well
But in Heaven we hope to meet again,

And now shall thy dust return to the earth
Thy spirit to God who gave it.
Yet affection shall tenderly cherish thy worth
And memory deeply engrave it.

To the world you may have just been somebody,
but to all of us you were the world.

Like brilliant stars his virtues glowed
While from his lips wise counsel flowed
But when the close of life he knew
Smiling he bade this world adieu.

Though thou art gone
Fond memory clings to thee.

Life is not measured
By the number of breaths we take,
But by the moments
That take our breath away

On earth according to his light
He aimed to practice what was right,
Hence all his errors are forgiven
And Jesus welcom'd him to heaven.

We miss the sunshine of thy face
We miss thy kind and willing hand
Thy fond and earnest care
Our home is dark without thee
We miss thee everywhere.

Behold my friends as you pass by
As you are now, so once was I
As I am now, soon you shall be
Give thyself to God and follow me

The morning light is breaking,
The darkness disappears.

The kiss of the sun for pardon,
The song of the birds for mirth,
One's nearer God's heart in a garden,
Than anywhere else on earth

Your presence is a gift to the world,
You're unique and one of a kind.
Your life can be what you want it to be
Take it one day at a time.

To sect or party his large soul
Disdained to be confined
The good he loved of every name
And prayed for all mankind.

My friends draw near and ponder here
My body's in this grave;
And if you have a moment's time
Pray God your soul to save.

'Twas in a moment I was called,
To appear before my God;
Leaving my child and all friends dear,
To seek my last abode.

Lifes various duties to perform,
Employ'd her useful days
From doubts and fears, her soul is gone,
To sing her Maker's praise.

Go to thy rest in peace
bid sweet be thy repose
Thy toils are ov'r thy troubles cease
From earthly cares & sweet release.

Farewell, loved friend, a short farewell
May we meet again in heaven to dwell,
May we meet above on that blest shore,
Where we shall part no more, no more.

Some happy years, of happy birth
Were spent by me with friends on earth
Altho I'm gone to worlds unknown
I hope to meet you all again.

His mind was tranquil
No terror, in his looks was seen
His Saviour smil'd dispel'ed the gloom
And smoothed his passage to the tomb.

My Saviour calls and I must go,
And leave you here my friends below;
But soon my God will call for thee,
Prepare for death and follow me.

Shed not for her the bitter tear
Nor give the heart to vain regret
Tis but mere ashes that lie here
The gem that filled it sparkles yet

No more with us his tuneful voice
The hymn of praise shall swell
No more his cheerful heart rejoice
When peals the Sabbath bell.

The year rolls round and steals away
the Breath that it save it gave,
Whatever we do, where'er we be
We're traveling to the grave.

Beneath this simple stone
That marks his resting place
Our precious darling sleeps alone
In the Lord's long embrace

How sweet it is when nature ends
Life's pilgrimage of care;
To rest in peace with well lov'd friends
And slumber with them there.

In youthful bloom my sorrow ends
Adieu, vain world, farewell my friends
In Jesus' arms I lay my head
And take my place among the dead.

His last words were
O when shall I see Jesus
And reign with him above
And from that flowing fountain
Drink everlasting love.

No pain, no grief, no anxious fear
can reach our loved one sleeping here.

Brief Words of Reassurance

In God’s Keeping

She sleepeth with those she loved.

Earth has no sorrow that heaven can not heal

Gone, but not forgotten

In Loving Memory of
Faith hope & charity
Into the Sunshine
A loved one sleeping
I will trust and not be afraid.

To live in the hearts of those we love is never to die

Entered into rest

Until we meet again

I shall but love thee better after death

Forever in our hearts

Always in our hearts

At rest with God/ Rest in Peace

Too well loved to ever be forgotten

Reunited in Heaven

Asleep in Jesus

Home with God, which is far better

Ours for a little while, with Jesus forever

Everlasting life through Christ

Until the day breaks

Asleep in Christ Jesus

Beloved of the Lord

The song is ended, but the melody lingers on

Rest in thine, sweet memory ours

Sweetly sleeping

Loving memories last forever

Hasten, oh blessed hour or reunion

Not lost to memory! Not lost to love!
but gone to our Father's house above

Step softly, a dream lies buried here

Your love will light my way,
your memory will ever be with me

What we keep in memory
is ours unchanged forever

Death is only a shadow
across the path to heaven

At the going down of the sun,
and in the morning we will remember them

He longest lives who most to others gives,
himself forgetting

May the souls of the faithful departed
through the mercy of God rest in peace

He gave thee,
He took thee,
and He will restore thee

God could not have made earthly ties
so strong to break them in eternity

Famous Epitaphs


Adams, John Quincy
'This is the last of Earth! I am content!'

Alexander the Great
'A tomb now suffices him for whom the world was not enough'

Gracie Allen and George Burns
'Together again.'

Susan B. Anthony
'Liberty, Humanity, Justice, Equality'


Clyde Barrow
'Gone but not forgotten.'

Hilaire Belloc
'When I am dead, I hope it may be said: His sins were scarlet, but his books were read.'

Billy the Kid
'Truth and History.
21 Men.
The Boy Bandit King
He Died As He Lived
William H. Bonney 'Billy the Kid'

Mel Blanc
'That's all, folks!'

William Bligh
To The Memory Of
William Bligh, Esquire F.R.S.
Vice Admiral Of The Blue,
The Celebrated Navigator
Who First Transplanted The Breadfruit Tree
From Otahette To The West Indies,
Bravely fought The Battles Of His Country
And Died Beloved, Respected, And Lamented
On The 7th Day Of December, 1817
Aged 64'

Charles Bukowski
'Don't Try'


Al Capone
'My Jesus, mercy'

Andrew Carnegie
'Here lies a man who knew how to enlist the service of better men than himself.'

George Washington Carver
'He could have added fortune to fame, but caring for neither, he found happiness and honor in being helpful to the world.'

Walter Chiari
'O friends, don't cry - it's just unused sleep.'

Winston Churchill
I am ready to meet my Maker.
Whether my Maker is prepared for the great ordeal of meeting me is another matter.

Samuel Taylor Coleridge
'Stop, Christian Passer-by! - Stop, child of God,
And read with gentle breast. Beneath this sod
A poet lies, or that which once seem'd he.
O, lift one thought in prayer for S.T.C.;
That he who many a year with toil of breath
Found death in life, may here find life in death!
Mercy for praise - to be forgiven for fame
He ask'd, and hoped, through Christ. Do thou the same!'


Rodney Dangerfield
'There goes the neighborhood.'

Bette Davis
'She did it the hard way'

Jefferson Davis
'At Rest
An American Soldier
And Defender of the Constitution'

Emily Dickinson
'Called back'

John Donne
'John Donne

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
'Steel-true and blade-straight
The great artificer
Made my mate.'


Wyatt Earp
Nothing's So Sacred As Honor
Nothing's So Loyal As Love.

Robert Emmet
'Let no man write my epitaph; for as no man who knows my motives dare now vindicate them, let not prejudice or ignorance asperse them. Let them and me repose in obscurity and peace, and my tomb remain uninscribed, until other times, and other men, can do justice to my character; when my country takes her place among the nations of the earth, then, and not till then, let my epitaph be written. I have done.'

Edward I of England
'Hic est Edwardvs Primus Scottorum Malleus'
Translation: 'Here is Edward I, Hammer of the Scots'

Gregory Alan Elliott
Don't waste your short life reading epitaphs like this.


F. Scott Fitzgerald
'So we beat on, boats against
the current, borne back
ceaselessly into the past.'

Benjamin Franklin
'The Body of B. Franklin, printer
Like the Cover of an old Book
Its Contents torn out
And stripped of its Lettering & guilding
Lies here food for worms
For, it will as he believed appear once more
In a new and more elegant edition
Corrected and improved by the Author.'

Robert Frost
'I had a lover's quarrel with the world'


Rene Gagnon
'For God And His Country
He Raised Our Flag In Battle
And Showed A Measure Of His
Pride At A Place Called 'Iwo Jima'
Where Courage Never Died'

John Gay
'Life's a jest, and all things show it;
I thought so once, and now I know it.'

Jackie Gleason
'And away we go!'
Trademark catchphrase from his television shows.

Mane Garrincha
'Here rests in peace the one who was the Joy of the People – Mané Garrincha.'

Mahatma Gandhi
'Hey Ram'
Translated 'Oh, God'

Kenneth Grahame
'To the beautiful memory of Kenneth Grahame, husband of Elspeth and father of Alastair, who passed the River on the 6 July 1932, leaving childhood and literature through him the more blest for all time'.


Henry II
'I was Henry the King
To me Diverse realms were subject, I was duke and count of many provinces.
Eight feet of ground is now enough for me, whom many kingdoms failed to satisfy.
Who reads these lines, let him reflect, upon the narrowness of death.
And in my case behold, the image of our mortal lot.
This scanty tomb doth now suffice,
For whom the Earth was not enough.'

Werner Heisenberg
'He lies here, somewhere.'
This is a joke about the famous Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle, which implies that one may not know the position and momentum of a particle simultaneously.

Richard Hind
'Here lies the body of Richard Hind,
Who was neither ingenious, sober, nor kind.'

Winifred Holtby
'God give me work while I may live, and life till my work is done.'


Thomas Jefferson
'Author of the Declaration of American independence
of the statute of Virginia for religious freedom
and father of the University of Virginia'
Despite his being the 2nd Vice-President and 3rd President of the USA, these are not mentioned. He had said that he wanted to be remembered for what he gave to America, and not what America had given to him.

Jesse James
'Murdered by a traitor and a coward whose name is not worthy to appear here'

George Johnson
'Here lies George Johnson
Hanged by mistake, 1882
He was right
We was wrong
But we strung him up
And now he's gone'


John Keats
'This Grave contains all that was mortal, of a Young English Poet, who on his Death Bed, in the Bitterness of his heart, at the Malicious Power of his enemies, desired these words to be Engraven on his Tomb Stone: Here lies One Whose Name was writ in Water.'

Martin Luther King, Jr.
'Free at last. Free at last. Thank God Almighty I'm Free At Last.'


King Leonidas
'Go tell the Spartans, stranger passing by, that here, by Spartan law, we lie.'

Brandon Lee
'Because we do not know when we will die, we get to think of life as an inexhaustible well. And yet everything happens only a certain number of times, and a very small number really. How many more times will you remember a certain afternoon of your childhood, an afternoon that is so deeply a part of your being that you cannot conceive of your life without it? Perhaps four, or five times more? Perhaps not even that. How many more times will you watch the full moon rise? Perhaps twenty. And yet it all seems limitless...'

Vivien Leigh
Now boast thee, death,
in thy possesion lies
A lass unparallel'd

Jack Lemmon (by himself)

Charles Lindbergh and Anne Lindbergh
'If I take the wings of the morning
dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea'

John Locke
Stop Traveller! Near this place lieth John Locke. If you ask what kind of a man he was, he answers that he lived content with his own small fortune. Bred a scholar, he made his learning subservient only to the cause of truth. This thou will learn from his writings, which will show thee everything else concerning him, with greater truth, than the suspect praises of an epitaph. His virtues, indeed, if he had any, were too little for him to propose as matter of praise to himself, or as an example to thee. Let his vices be buried together. As to an example of manners, if you seek that, you have it in the Gospels; of vices, to wish you have one nowhere; if mortality, certainly, (and may it profit thee), thou hast one here and everywhere.'

Jack London
'The Stone the Builders Rejected'

Howard Phillips Lovecraft
'I am Providence'
a reference to the deceased's beloved hometown

Bela Lugosi
'Beloved father'


Roger Maris
Against all Odds'

Dean Martin
'Everybody Loves Somebody Sometime'

Karl Marx
'Workers of all lands unite. The philosophers have only
interpreted the world in various ways; the point is to change it.'

Leonard Matlovich
'When I was in the military, they gave me a medal for killing two men and a discharge for loving one.'

H. L. Mencken
'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'

Spike Milligan
Dúirt mé leat go raibh mé breoite.
Translation from Irish: 'I told you I was ill.'

Lester Moore
'Here lies
Lester Moore
four slugs
from a 44
no Les
no more'

Jim Morrison
'Truth to your own spirit' (originally in Greek)
His body is buried in Paris's famous Père LaChaise cemetery in the company of many other celebrities. Next to him in the 'Poet's Corner' are buried many celebrated writers, including Balzac, Molière, and Oscar Wilde.

Matthew Mudd (unknown) from Massachusetts:
'Here lies Matthew Mudd,
Death did him no hurt;
When alive he was only Mudd,
But now he's only dirt.'


Isaac Newton (Alexander Pope)
'Nature and Nature's laws lay hid in night:
God said, 'Let Newton be!' and all was light.'

Joshua A. Norton
'Norton I
Emperor of the United States
Protector of Mexico'

Frank Nitti
'There is but no life without Death'


'Never born, Never died: visited the planet earth between December 11, 1931 and, January 19, 1990.'


Bonnie Parker
'As the flowers are all made sweeter by
the sunshine and the dew, so this old
world is made brighter by the lives
of folks like you.'
Outlaw, bank robber and partner of Clyde Barrow

Dorothy Parker
'Here lie the ashes of Dorothy Parker (1893 - 1967) Humorist, Writer, Critic, Defender of human and civil rights. For her epitaph, she suggested 'Excuse My Dust'. This memorial garden is dedicated to her noble spirit which celebrated the oneness of humankind and to the bonds of everlasting friendship between Black and Jewish people. Dedicated by The National Association of the Advancement of Colored People, October 20, 1988.'

Fernando Pessoa
'Fui o que não sou'
Translation: 'I was that which I am not.'

James Louis Petigru
'In the admiration of his Peers;
In the respect of his People,
In the affection of his Family,
His was the highest place.'

Allan Pinkerton
'A friend to honesty and a foe to crime'

Edgar Allan Poe
Quoth the Raven,


Will Rogers
'If you live life right
death is a joke
as far as fear is concerned'

William P. Rothwell (unknown) from Rhode Island:
(carved into a boulder) 'This is on me.'

Babe Ruth
That Divine Spirit
That Animated
to Win the Crucial
Game of Life
Inspire the Youth
of America'


William Shakespeare
'Good friend, for Jesus sake forbeare
To dig the dust enclosèd here.
Blessed be ye man that spares these stones,
And curst be he that moves my bones.'
It was not unusual, at the time of Shakespeare's death, for corpses to be removed from graves and burnt allowing for the reuse of the grave site. Shakespeare's grave remains undisturbed.

Frank Sinatra
'The best is yet to come.'
Title of one of his trademark songs

Robert Louis Stevenson
'Under the wide and starry sky
Dig the grave and let me lie,
Glad did I live and gladly die
And I laid me down with a will.
This be the verse you grave for me:
Here he lies where he longed to be.
Home is the sailor, home from the sea,
And the hunter home from the hill.'

Harold J. Story
'Before you jump in here with me,
make sure you bring good memories.
For here they're all we have to trade,
and where you are is where they're made.'

Alexander Vasilyevich Suvorov
'Here lies Suvorov'

Jonathan Swift
'Here lies the body of Jonathan Swift,
Professor of Holy Theology, for thirty
years Dean of this cathedral church,
where savage indignation can tear his
heart no more. Go, traveller, and if you
can imitate one who with his utmost
strength protected liberty. He died in the year 1745, on the 19th of October,
aged seventy-eight'

Lucius Cornelius Sulla
'No better friend—No worse enemy'


Alfred Lord Tennyson
'Sunset and evening star,
And one clear call for me!
And may there be no moaning of the bar,
When I put out to sea,
But such a tide as moving seems asleep,
Too full for sound and foam,
When that which drew from out the boundless deep
Turns again home.
Twilight and evening bell,
And after that the dark!
And may there be no sadness of farewell,
When I embark;
For tho' from out our bourne of Time and Place
The flood may bear me far,
I hope to see my Pilot face to face
When I have crossed the bar.'
This poem ('Crossing the Bar') is included at the end of every collection of his works.

Studs Terkel
'Curiosity did not kill this cat.'

J. R. R. Tolkien:


Peter Ustinov
'Do not walk on the grass'
According to an obituary in DIE ZEIT, Ustinov's answer to the question what he would like to see written on his headstone.


'Here lies Voltaire'

Kurt Vonnegut
“The only proof he needed for the existence of God was music.”

Santiago Vizan Gulizia
'I dont regret anything, thanks'
In reference to his wild lifestyle.


George Washington
'Looking into the portals of eternity teached that
The Brotherhood of Man is inspired by God's Word;
Then all prejudice of race vanishes away.'

H. G. Wells
'I told you so, you damned fools.'

Oscar Wilde
'And alien tears will fill for him
Pity's long-broken urn,
For his mourners will be outcast men,
And outcasts always mourn.'

Hank Williams
'Thank you for the love you gave me
There could be nobody stronger
Thank you for many beautiful songs
They will live long, and longer'

Virginia Woolf
'Against you I will fling myself
unvanquished and unyielding, O Death!'


William Butler Yeats
'Cast a cold eye
On life, on death.
Horseman, pass by!'