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Graveyard Humor: Quaint and Curious Inscriptions and Epitaphs

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Death Is No Laughing Matter... Or Is It?

It depends on who has the last laugh – and a couple of hundred years ago, the person who had the last laugh might be the person who carved your tombstone! As author W. Fairley shows us, graveyards could be the source of quite a few chuckles - some courtesy of the deceased and some at their expense! Epitaphs gave friends and loved ones a chance to "go ahead, tell us what you really think..." Nor was the grave any refuge from truly awful puns. Graveyard Humor (originally published in 1873 as Epitaphiana) gives you the last laugh, with a collection of over 300 rare, witty, and sometimes ridiculous inscriptions. It also brings you the epitaphs of such notable figures as Shakespeare, Ben Jonson, Lord Byron, Robert Burns, and even Robin Hood. As the author notes, here you’ll find "the sad, serious, witty, and sublime..." Gathered from tombstones throughout Britain and the world, Graveyard Humor is a collection sure to tickle your funny-bone!

Here are just a few samples...

At rest beneath this churchyard stone
Lies stingy Jemmy Wyatt;
He died one morning just at ten,
and Saved a dinner by it

Here lies my wife Polly, a terrible shrew;
If I said I was sorry, I should lie too.

Beneath this stone, in hopes of Zion,
Doth lie the landlord of the Lion;
His son keeps on the business still,
Resigned unto the heavenly will.

This tombstone is a Milestone;
Hah! how so?
Because beneath lies Miles, who's
Miles below.

Here lies I and my three daughters
Kill'd by drinking Cheltenham waters;
Had we a'stuck to Epsom-salts
We’d not a bin lyin in these 'ere vaults

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Copyright © 2017 by
Moira Allen.
All rights reserved.

Magazine Abbreviations:
CFM = Cassell's Family Magazine • GOP = Girl's Own Paper • ILA = Illustrated London Almanack • S = The Strand
AM = Atlantic Monthly • C = Century Magazine • D = Demorest's Monthly Magazine • G = Godey's Lady's Book • H = Harper's Monthly
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