Having inherited from both my parents, a predilection for examining all country churches, and more especially those, which from their external appearance promise any thing peculiar in their antiquity or construction, I was one morning tempted during a ride with some friends, through one of our most beautiful counties, to stop at a church belonging to a considerable parish, and situated in a pretty village, thro’ which we were then passing.
Leaving therefore our horses to the care of a servant, and having found a worthy old shoemaker, who also officiated as clerk, and perhaps sexton too, altho’ he did not appear to possess that versatility of talent which we have seen so admirably dramatised, I and my companions amused ourselves with reading the inscriptions on the gravestones, while he fetched the keys of the church.
Curiosity led us different ways, and when the man summoned us to attend him, one of my companions gave us the rough translation of a French epitaph she had met with on a stone very recently erected. Our Ciceroni listened very attentively to what my friend communicated, and expressed himself much gratified at having heard it; he said the epitaph had excited considerable attention in the parish from the circumstance of its being in a foreign language, but he had never before met with anyone who either could or would translate it. On going to the spot where this stone is placed I considered it so singular a composition and such and implied censure upon the party or parties it belonged to that I was induced to transcribe it and here present it to your Attic Society. It is perhaps necessary to observe that the person whose remains were interred beneath was a female, and according to the inscription a wife and mother of several children.
I afterwards learnt a few more particulars respecting this unfortunate lady which I shall have much pleasure in communicating should either you or your auditors feel interested about them.
With great Respect
Your obedient Servant
Inscription of a Tomb-stone in —— Churchyard
“L’Infortunée, qui git sous ces Tombeaux
Ne trouva te repos, qu’on terminant sa vie
Qui tu te sois pour eviter ses maux
Ah! crains tes passions, sur tout la jalousie.”