Tuesday, June 5, 2007

An Elusive English Epitaph

From Rev. Beaver H. Blacker’s Gloucestershire Notes and Queries, Vol. II (London, 1884), is an essay about a curious tombstone inscription in Moreton-in-Marsh churchyard.

“Can it be the case that, as I have lately read in Curiosities of Bristol and its Neighborhood (1854), p. 52, the following epitaph is, or ever was, in the above-named churchyard?

Here lie the bones of Richard Lawton,
Whose death, alas, was strangely brought on:
Trying one day his corns to mow off,
The razor slipped and cut his toe off;
His toe, or rather what it grew to,
An inflammation quickly flew to,
Which took, alas, to mortifying,
And was the cause of Richard’s dying.

“If the foregoing be not ‘a story,’” the writer added, “what, I shall be glad to know, was the date of poor Richard’s death?”

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