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William Wordsworth
Complete Poetical Works

A GRAVESTONE UPON THE FLOOR IN THE CLOISTERS OF WORCESTER CATHEDRAL

"Miserrimus." Many conjectures have been formed as to the person who lies under this stone. Nothing appears to be known for a certainty. Query--The Rev. Mr. Morris, a nonconformist, a sufferer for conscience-sake; a worthy man who, having been deprived of his benefice after the accession of William III., lived to an old age in extreme destitution, on the alms of charitable Jacobites.

"MISERRIMUS," and neither name nor date,
Prayer, text, or symbol, graven upon the stone;
Nought 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.

1829.