On a recent trip to London to see the Da Vinci exhibition, which we didn't get into as a result of lack of planning, ie we didn't have tickets, J_ and I ended up in the crypt of the stunning and very ancient St Martin in the Fields. Perusing the preserved gravestones of ladies long dead we came across one that made us laugh, maybe because we are not familiar with the conventions of gravestone inscriptions from 400 years ago, who knows. Anyway, we found it interesting and so I have transcribed a copy for a little diversion as this year ends and another is just about to begin:
Here lies buried the body of
Miss Frances Jones daughter of Arthur
Lord Vicecount of Ranelagh, by his wife the
Lady Katherine Boyle who was daughter
To Richard Boyle Earle of Corke and Lord
High Treasurer of Ireland.
She died in the prime of her age, hav-
ing never been married, the 28th of
March in the year 1672.
Enough and leave the rest to fame.
Tis to commend her but to name.
Courtship, which living she declined
When dead to offer; were unkind.
Where never any could speak ill.
Who would officious praise spill
Nor can the truest wit or friend
Without detracting her commend.
To say she lived a virgin chaste
In this age loose? and all unlaid?
Nor was where vice is so allowed
Of virtue or ashamed or proud
That her soul was on heaven so bent
No minute but it came and went
That, ready her last debt to pay
Modest as morn, as midday bright
Gentle as evening, cool as night
Tis true but all so weakly said
Twere more significant: she’s Dead.
All there is left for me to do is wish you a Happy New Year and thank you for reading