Morituri te Salutant


All Fool’s Day seems an appropriate time to post a short piece about; Morituri te Salutant, Jean-Léon Gérôme, John Donne, Christina Rossetti, Paul’s letter to the Corinthians, Winnie the Pooh, an allusion to H. Rider Haggard (well, more Horace Rumpole really): leading to the ‘Money Advice Service’ on UK funeral costs.

There is some doubt about the common use of the valediction Morituri te Salutant, gladiators may not have exclaimed, “Those about to die salute you!”

Ave Caesar Morituri te Salutant, by Jean-Léon Gérôme (1859)

For those who wish to know more about this painting and Jean-Léon Gérôme, watch at least the first ten minutes of John Walsh’s Lecture Video in the link above or at Let This Be a Lesson: Lecture 11.

John Donne, claimed to be the master of all metaphysical poets, wrote a number of valedictions, including the poem A Valediction: Forbidding Mourning. 

As virtuous men pass mildly away,
   And whisper to their souls to go,
Whilst some of their sad friends do say
   The breath goes now, and some say, No:
Then some time later Christina Rossetti, while still in her late teens, wrote the poems When I am dead, my dearest and Remember. Not metaphysical but they are equally memorable.
When I am dead, my dearest,
Sing no sad songs for me;
Plant thou no roses at my head,
Nor shady cypress tree:
Be the green grass above me
With showers and dewdrops wet;
And if thou wilt, remember,
And if thou wilt, forget.

 

Remember me when I am gone away,
Gone far away into the silent land;
When you can no more hold me by the hand,
Nor I half turn to go yet turning stay.

If these were my own eulogies, I might have preferred Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians:

O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?  1 Corinthians

However, the various interpretations of the context to Paul’s letter to the Corinthians discombobulate me and I am more inclined to read Winnie the Pooh (despite my predisposition for long words like discombobulate and predisposition).

“When you are a Bear of Very Little Brain, and you Think of Things, you find sometimes that a Thing which seemed very Thingish inside you is quite different when it gets out into the open and has other people looking at it.”
A.A. Milne, Winnie-the-Pooh

click Image

Next month I shall be 79 years old and have (up until this point) been somewhat ambivalent about death. Nevertheless, for me the considerations of my demise and the prompting of my research into funeral costs was interesting (sort of) — as Pooh said:

I used to believe in forever, but forever’s too good to be true.

The link below (and the links it contains) that I found to funeral costs and associated matters has influenced my thoughts and were it not for some prompting from Ayesha I would not have looked for it. My research has caused me to digress even further from my original thoughts, which were how to introduce the following link to those it may interest.

click on image

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The Land Is Ours

a Landrights campaign for Britain

The Bulletin

This site was created for members and friends of My Telegraph blog site, but anyone is welcome to comment, and thereafter apply to become an author.

TCWG Short Stories

Join our monthly competition and share story ideas...

The Real Economy

Blogs and stuff from Ed Conway

Public Law for Everyone

Professor Mark Elliott

Bleda

Am I my Brothers keeper?

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