Archive for February 5th, 2012

Ensminger (2)

When I started researching this epitaph, I expected it to either be a Biblical quotation or something said by a man of (the Christian) God, so to speak.  I was very surprised when the first quotation source I could find for it was the ancient Greek playwright Aristophanes: “Your lost friends are not dead, but gone before, advanced a stage or two upon that road which you must travel in the steps they trod.” The quotation is not unique to Aristophanes, though – English poet Samuel Wright used the same words in one of his works:

Those that he loved so long and sees no more,
Loved and still loves—not dead, but gone before,
He gathers round him.

So who were Lizzie Ensminger’s relatives quoting when the selected her epitaph – Aristophanes or Rogers? Or did they not realize they were quoting either one, and plucked a popular phrase for epitaphs out of the cultural milieu without knowing of its origins?

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