A Whimsical Epitaph

WESLEY BEGAN PUBPLICATION of The Arminian Magazine in 1778 and it gained great popularity among the early Methodists. One piece that appeared in 1786 illustrates the capacity for humor among Wesley and his followers. Give yourself a few moments of enjoyment and decipher the piece. The only clue we will give you is that the text does rhyme. If you get stuck or want to check your solution, see Solution to “A Whimsical Epitiaph”

The magazine introduced and presented the item as follows:

To be jocular in death is preposterous; nor is it less-so to inscribe low jests on the Monuments of the dead. We insert the following as a remarkable instance of this sort of buffoonery, found, in a country Church-yard, on the tombstone of one Katharine Gray, who in her lifetime had been a dealer in earthen-ware. To understand this ridiculous piece, you are to follow the letters, till they make up a word: not regarding whether they be great or small; nor how they are divided or pointed.

Solution to “A Whimsical Epitaph”

Beneath this stone lies Katharine Gray, chang’d from a busy life to lifeless clay. By earth and clay she got her pelf, and now she’s turn’d to earth herself. Ye weeping friends let me advise, abate your grief and dry your eyes. For what avails a flood of tears; who knows but in a run of years, in some tall pitcher or broad pan, she in her shop may be again.
By Frederick F. Maser

[Christian History originally published this article in Christian History Issue #2 in 1983]

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