St Mary Magdalen
Walking past the churchyard this afternoon towards our local the Red Lion, I looked over the low wall to the lines of gravestones, reading off the familiar names like a casual litany. I supposed, not for the first time, that some day - should we decide to remain here for at least the next 30 years - I might end up beneath my very own marble slab. In that event, so as to cater for the edification and improvement of future passers-by, I would have to select my epitaph with great care.
Top of the current list is:
Cast a cold eye
on life, on death.
Horseman, pass by.
from 'Under Ben Bulben', W.B. Yeats
But alternatively, if in particularly mordant mood at the time of ultimate selection, I might opt for:
Fear no more the heat of the sun,
Nor the furious winter’s rages;
Thou thy worldly task hast done,
Home art gone, and ta’en thy wages;
Golden lads and girls all must,
As chimney-sweepers, come to dust.
from ‘Cymbeline’, William Shakespeare
Astride of a grave and a difficult birth. Down in the hole, lingeringly, the gravedigger puts on the forceps.
from ‘Waiting for Godot’, Samuel Beckett
I might even try for sponsorship for the last one: it would certainly do wonders for trade at the Red Lion.