Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Farewell, Vain World

This epitaph shows up several times in my preliminary Google searches, but I haven't yet found an example earlier than 1742. I imagine it comes from a published source because it crops up in England, South Carolina, and Boston. The one that keeps popping up is William Harvey (1756), but unless Edward Carter's stone is backdated, it is still the earliest I can find. There are a few undated examples, but no solid leads yet.

Variant forms of this epitaph are often associated with suicides, dating back to the Mungo Campbell case (1770). I don't mean to suggest that Mr. Carter killed himself — I'm just making an observation.

Edward Carter, Granary Burying Ground, Boston, MA, 1742:

Farewell Vain World I have Enough of the[e]
and now I'm Careles what thou Sayst of me
What Fault thou Seest in me
Take Care to Shun
Theres worke within thy Self
That Should be Done
Thy Smiles I Court not nor thy Frowns I fear
My Cares are past my head lies quiet here
NOVr 11th 1742 AGED 45.

Mr. Carter was a "Silk Dyer and Scowerer" who had a little trouble with his servants:


Robert J. said...

Is that a Foster stone? What a bizarre lower-case w in 'farewell' and 'now' -- but a regular w elsewhere. I'll have to look at some more pictures to see if that's common with them.

Anonymous said...

I read this on a very old tomb stone as a young girl in Halstead Essex England. I have never forgot the words.

Sharon Parkwood Western Australia

Lisa McKenna said...

Very interesting about Mr. Carter trying to find his Irish servants. I actually have the tombstone rubbing which I acquired from a professional artist in 1975, then framed. No longer are rubbings allowed in the cemetary. I have this one as well as another one from the same cemetary, Capt. John Decoster. Decoster's is also interesting.

Graveyard Walker said...

This may not have been up when you did your search for 'Farewell vain world . . .' and I had to break the Google 100 page mark.
His tomb is an English Heritage listed building and his dod pushes your origin date back another two years.