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More’s Epitaph

September 26, 2012

Here–dear to me–lies Jane, my smaller wife:
This tomb will hold my Alice too, and me.
A bride in life’s first green, Jane gave me this:
That one boy and three daughters call me “daddy.”
Alice (no “wicked stepmother!”) has loved
Our four as all true mothers love their own.
The one so lived, the other lives, that how
Could she-who-is or she-who-was be dearest?
How well could we have lived (oh, all three wedded
Together!), if fate and good religion would allow it!
Our tomb will wed us though–may heaven too.
So death will give us what our life could not.

Chara Thomae iacet hic Iohanna uxorcula Mori
Qui tumulum Aliciae hunc destino, quique mihi,
Una mihi dedit hoc coniuncta virentibus annis,
Me vocet ut puer et trina puella patrem.
Altera privignis (quae gloria rara novercae est)
Tam pia quam gnatis vix fuit ulla suis.
Altera sic mecum vixit, sic altera vivit,
Charior incertum est, haec sit an haec fuerit.
O simul, O iuncti, poteramus vivere nos tres
Quam bene, si fatum relligioque sinant.
At societ tumulus, societ nos obsecro coelum.
Sic mors, non potuit quod dare vita, dabit.

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