Disingenuousness? True Modesty? Bitter mistake? Whatever the reason, few epitaphs could be so wrong as the one John Keats composed for himself:

Here lies one whose name was writ in water

Likewise, few self-critical comments could be as far off the mark as Abraham Lincoln's in the Gettysburg Address:

The world will little note nor long remember what we say here ...

And though William Shakespeare, in his Sonnet LXXI, called for oblivion:

Nay, if you read this line, remember not
The hand that writ it; for I love you so,
That I in your sweet thoughts would be forgot,
If thinking on me then should make you woe.

... the Bard was both less shy and more accurate in concluding his famous Sonnet XVIII:

So long as men can breathe or eyes can see,
So long lives this, and this gives life to thee.

(see also GettysburgCoordinates (27 Feb 2002), ...)

TopicLife - TopicLiterature - 2003-11-10

(correlates: GettysburgCoordinates, PickwickPapersAugust, AnnotationPunctuation, ...)