That Bourne From Which No Man Pushes Up Daisies


THIS is an Ex-Parrot.

THIS is an Ex-Parrot.

A small section of my new book, The Victorian Book of the Dead, discusses the various names and euphemisms for death, dying, and the afterlife. I invite you to contribute at invisiblei AT aol DOT com. If you have a date and citation for the word or phrase, that would be even better. Funerary expressions are also welcome.

And if this triggers an impromptu performance of Monty Python’s “Dead Parrot” sketch, I take no responsibility whatsoever.

The Great Beyond

The bourne from which no man returns

The empty chair


Gates of pearl

That slumber from which there is no waking

Last sleep

Gone to meet his Maker

Angel of death

Grim Reaper

Gathered to his fathers

Death welcomed as an old friend

Fell asleep

Rung down the curtain

Those upon whom the death angel laid his hand

Pearly gates

The white robed messenger of death

Visited by the cold icy hand

Death is abroad in the land

Pleased God to call from among us another of his children

Removed from this tenement of clay

Joined the choir invisible

Is no more


Gone away


Shuffled off the mortal coil

The golden bowl is broken

Passed over

The call of the minister of death

There is crape on the door

To tie crape to the door

Land of shadows

Rests in peace

Passed into the spirit land

The sleep that apparently has no waking this side of eternity

The shadow of the long, mournful crape

Taken by death

One minor note on a much earlier historical phrase: Apparently in Roman funeral practice one would say, euphemistically, that “we are in need of parsley,” as it was a funeral plant. I’ll keep that in mind the next time I see it as a garnish.


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