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Josephine Butler

1828 – 1906

The Last Word

Josephine lived a long, busy life and helped thousands of people to have better lives too. When she died, she was buried at Kirknewton in the Cheviots.

Reading about her life, what epitaph would you write to put on her gravestone? (An epitaph is a short poem or saying which sums up a person’s life.)

What epitaph would you write for the gravestone of another hero?

Try writing an epitaph of 2 – 4 lines. Have a go at using rhyme to make it more memorable.

Here are some famous examples of epitaphs:

Here lies our Sovereign Lord the King,
Whose word no man relies on,
Who never said a foolish thing,
Nor ever did a wise one.

— epitaph of English king, Charles II

‘Here lies the body of
Jonathan Blake
Stepped on the gas
Instead of the brake’

— memorial to an accident, in Uniontown, Pennsylvania

When I am dead, I hope it may be said:
‘His sins were scarlet, but his books were read.’

— epitaph of the writer, Hilaire Belloc

Read poems inspired by Josephine Butler


View her secret archive


What to do next?

Send us your work

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Take a look at the closing workshop

The closing workshop is entitled: Closing Exercise

View closing workshop
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