Ben Jonson

(11 June 1572 – 6 August 1637 / London / England)

Blaney's Last Directions


It is usual
for people in this country
(out of pretended respect
but rather from an impertinent curiosity)
to desire to see
persons
after they are
dead.

It is my earnest request that no person
on any pretence whatever
may be permitted to see my
corpse
but those who
unavoidably must.

I desire to be buried
in the north side of the churchyard
of Tregynon
somewhere about the centre
my coffin to be made in the most
plain and simple manner
without the usual fantastical decorations
and the more
perishable the material
the better.

I desire that no undertaker
or professed performer of funerals
may be employed:
but that I may be conveyed
to the churchyard
in some country hears
which may be hired for the occasion
and my corpse
to be carried
from hearse to the grave
immediately
without going into the church
by six of the chief Tregynon tenants
to whom I give two guineas each
for their trouble.

It is my earnes request and desire
to have no upper bearers
or any persons whatever
invited to my funeral
which I desire may be at so
early an hour as will best prevent
a concourse of people
from collecting together:
the better sort
I presume will not intrude
as there is no
invitation.

I have been present at the funerals
of three of my uncles at Morville.
I was pleased with the privacy and decency
with which all things were conducted:
no strangers attended
all was done
by the servants of the family.
It is my earnest desire to follow these examples
however unpopular
and that
no coach
no escutcheon
and no pomp of any kind may appear.

I trust that my executor will be well justified
against the clamor and obloquy
of mercenary people
when he acts in performance of the last request
of a dying friend
who solemnly adjures him in the name of God
punctually to observe these directions.

codicil
I likewise give to all my servants
five guineas each
in lieu of all mourning
which it is my desire
no person may use on my account.

Submitted: Friday, April 09, 2010

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