Weekend Words: Tomb

“That would be a good thing for them to cut on my tombstone: Wherever she went, including here, it was against her better judgment.

Duccio di Buoninsegna, “The Three Marys at the Tomb” (1308-11), tempera on wood, 51 x 54 cm, Museo dell’Opera del Duomo, Siena (image via Web Gallery of Art)

The tomb of Jesus in Jerusalem, long in danger of collapse, reopened on Wednesday after a 9-month, 3.7 million dollar renovation.

Virtues neglected, then adored become,
And graces slighted, blossom on the tomb.

—George Crabbe, “The Church”

That would be a good thing for them to cut on my tombstone: Wherever she went, including here, it was against her better judgment.

—Dorothy Parker, “But the One on the Right”

I died for beauty, but was scarce
Adjusted in the tomb,
When one who died for truth was lain
In an adjoining room.

—Emily Dickinson, X

RIFF: So I can count on you, boy?
TONY: All right.
RIFF: We’re gonna have us a ball.
TONY: All right.
RIFF: Womb to tomb!
TONY: Sperm to worm!

—Stephen Sondheim, “Tonight”

All women together ought to let flowers fall upon the tomb of Aphra Behn, for it was she who earned them the right to speak their minds.

—Virginia Woolf, A Room of One’s Own

Surprised by joy—impatient as the wind
I wished to share the transport–Oh! with whom
But thee, long buried in the silent tomb.

—William Wordsworth, “Surprised by Joy”

Let fame, that all hunt after in their lives,
Live register’d upon our brazen tombs
And then grace us in the disgrace of death.

—William Shakespeare, Love’s Labour Lost

The growing good of the world is partly dependent on unhistorical acts; and that things are not so ill with you and me as they might have been, is half owing to the number who lived faithfully a hidden life, and rest in unvisited tombs.

—George Eliot

And so, all the night-tide, I lie down by the side
Of my darling—my darling—my life and my bride,
In her sepulchre there by the sea—
In her tomb by the sounding sea.

—Edgar Allan Poe, “Annabel Lee”

There was one great tomb more lordly than all the rest; huge it was, and nobly proportioned. On it was but one word, DRACULA.

—Bram Stoker, Dracula

As I grow older and older
And totter towards the tomb,
I find I care less and less
Who goes to bed with whom.

—Dorothy L. Sayers, “That’s Why I Never Read Modern Novels”

For we each of us deserve everything, every luxury that was ever piled in the tombs of the dead kings, and we each of us deserve nothing, not a mouthful of bread in hunger. Have we not eaten while another starved? Will you punish us for that? Will you reward us for the virtue of starving while others ate? No man earns punishment, no man earns reward. Free your mind of the idea of deserving, the idea of earning, and you will begin to be able to think.

—Ursula Le Guin, The Dispossessed

A tomb now suffices him for whom the whole world was not sufficient.

—Alexander The Great

As for the pyramids, there is nothing to wonder at in them so much as the fact that so many men could be found degraded enough to spend their lives constructing a tomb for some ambitious booby, whom it would have been wiser and manlier to have drowned in the Nile, and then given his body to the dogs.

—Henry David Thoreau, Walden

Never draw a gun on a man unless you intend to kill him. And believe me, if you do intend to kill him he will already know it. Then he will feel the cold breath of the tomb.

—George S. Patton

At the bottom of the heart of every human being, from earliest infancy until the tomb, there is something that goes on indomitably expecting, in the teeth of all experience of crimes committed, suffered, and witnessed, that good and not evil will be done

—Simone Weil

Without love, our earth is a tomb.

—Robert Browning

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