I want no stone nor gilded urn
for I reside beyond retrieve.
Not the dead but the quick yearn.
Not I but my fellows grieve.


My latest covid reading project took me back to Montaigne’s Essais, which I taught repeatedly over the course of my career, this time for “pleasure”. An early passage in chapter III brought to mind my own “Epitaph”, written years ago in my dark, middle period in Berkeley. 

Montaigne was citing no less than Plato, albeit in Latin (Phaedrus, LXIV)

Le soin des funérailles, le choix de la sépulture, la pompe des obsèques servent plus à consoler les vivants qu’à secourir les morts 

curatio funeris, conditio sepulturæ, pompa exequiarum, magis sunt uiuorum solatia, quam subsidia mortuorum

To wit: The pomp and circumstances of a funeral console the living rather than the dead