HODIE NIHI CRAS TIBI
TO RICHARD MORE
AGED 60 YEARS
DEC’D MARCH YE 18
Two things strike me immediately about this gravestone in Burying Point, the first place set aside in Salem, Massachusetts, in 1637, for burials. First, we don’t know the name of Richard More’s wife—only that she was a Christian wife to him.
Secondly, I am struck by the stark message of the Latin epitaph: HODIE NIHI CRAS TIBI, which translates to, “today for me, tomorrow for you.” This epitaph is another variation on the more common epitaph that reads, “As you are now, so once was I, as I am now so you must be, prepare for death and follow me.”
As if the skull with wings topping this slate tombstone wasn’t enough to make the passerby contemplate death and mortality, the gravestone carver added an additional message to remind us of our impending doom.