William Wordsworth

A Gravestone upon the Floor in the Cloisters of Worcester Cathedral


“MISERRIMUS!” and neither name nor date,

Prayer, text, or symbol, graven upon the stone;

Naught but that word assigned to the unknown,

That solitary word,—to separate

From all, and cast a cloud around the fate

Of him who lies beneath. Most wretched one,

Who chose his epitaph?—Himself alone

Could thus have dared the grave to agitate,

And claim among the dead this awful crown;

Nor doubt that he marked also for his own

Close to these cloistral steps a burial-place,

That every foot might fall with heavier tread,

Trampling upon his vileness. Stranger, pass

Softly!—To save the contrite, Jesus bled.