The King of Terrors takes a rest

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HERE LYES BURIED

THE BODY OF MRS.

ELIZABETH IRELAND WIFE

TO MR. WILLIAM IRELAND

AGED 52 YEARS

DEC’D. OCT. Ye 12, 1738.

Many symbols in the graveyard are meant to remind passersby that life is short and that all will die. These images are called Memento Mori and are a call to “remember death“. The skeleton is one of these symbols. The skeleton above is holding a scythe, a weapon with which the lives are cut down in the Divine Harvest. When the skeleton is depicted with a scythe, arrow, spear, or darts, the figure is referred to as the “King of Terrors”. Here, on this gravestone in the Granary Burial Ground at Boston, the King of Terrors is depicted reclining, either taking a respite from the exhausting work of harvesting lives or resting up before his brutal work begins.

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