Writing Poetry 2- Death Be Not Proud

Exercise : Writing Epitaphs

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Writing Epitaphs( In Verse)

Instructional Objectives:

  • To recognize that an epitaph helps in determining goal of one’s life
  • to determine what your aspirations should be
  • to document how you would like others to remember you
  • to learn that an epitaph is a memorial inscription imprinted on a grave stone to commemorate a person who has passed away.
  • to write personal epitaphs and of the deceased characters from the prescribed text(s)


  1. In the earlier class , each student was assigned a character from the following list
The Princes of Tower
King Edward

Caterine Earnshaw Linton

Linton Heathcliff
Mrs. Thomas Hardy

2. A sample of epitaphs is provided and the class is given 2 minutes time to deliberate on the utility of the given verses.

Some  Epitaphs:

Read the following writings and deliberate on the utility:

Here lies my wife: here let her lie!Now she’s at rest, and so am I.( Dryden) Here lies a great and mighty king,Whose promise none relies on;He never said a foolish thing,Nor ever did a wise one.(On King Charles II)
Life is a jest, and all things show it.I though so once; but now I know it.(Gray) Even such is Time, that takes our trustOur youth , our joys, our all we have, and pays us but with earth and dust;Who in the dark and silent grave,When we have wandered all our ways,Shuts up the story of our days.

But from this earth, this grave, this dust,

My God shall raise me up, I trust.

(Sir Walter Ralegh)

And here is our Bard:

“Good Friends, for Jesus’ sake forbear,
To dig the bones enclosed here!
Blest be the man that spares these stones,
And curst be he that moves my bones.” ( Shakespeare)

Now read the following Epitaphs written by some real life casualties

  • Here lies my pet, a dog named Rover,
    When hit by a car, his life was over.
  • A baseball bat and ball used often
    Are buried with Michael in his coffin.
  • The baby sitter we drove insane
    Was killed when hit with Jeremy’s train.
  • Here lies my friend, a gal from the South.
    She died when she tried to put her foot in her mouth

3. Writing an epitaph that  a student would like to see on his/her tombstone, after inscribing a probable date.

4.Taking the ownership of the Deceased Characters from the prescribed course.

This epitaphs may take the form of appeals from the dead to passers-by or of descriptions of the dead person’ s merits . The epitaph should capture the essence of your character by using descriptive words, phrases, and figurative language. The tone of the  epitaph should match the writer’s attitude as a reader toward the character you write about. The language of the epitaph should also appeal to the senses of the reader to help convey the real meaning of your character.An acrostic poem could be attempted for this purpose.

5. Epitaph Peer Review

Author of the Epitaph:  __________________________________________

1. List descriptive words, phrases, and figurative language from the epitaph, that captures the essence of the character.

2. Which of the words, phrases, and figurative language seem significant to the epitaph? Explain why they are important.

3. What is the overall tone of the epitaph? What evidence from the epitaph communicates the tone?

4. Which words and phrases from the epitaph appeal to the senses? How does this appeal communicate information?


About Ms. N's Rhyme and Reason

Hi, In the beginning was the word. Hence begins the history of humankind, in all domains of evolution. The thriving of civilizations has depended on how articulate were their teachers- the ones who descended with the learned art to their offspring generations. This phenomenon of transmitting of genetic code of learning has been at the heart of my inspiration to teach. This art somehow has transformed into a mantra for me, and it has never ceased to amaze me. Although to become a perfect teacher one might take a lifetime, but if one tries to be perfect, one negates the reason to experiment and fail. Hence, I may have faltered in some of my approaches, but my aspiration has been to try rectifying the short-coming, to connect again with the subject-matter and my pupils, to demystify the intended outcome, to enthuse the learners again, and to keep the cycle going.
This entry was posted in For Teachers:The Art of Assisting Discovery, GCE O Level Literature in English. Bookmark the permalink.

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