Epitaph: (1) An inscription on a tomb, often containing basic biographical information and memorial phrases, (2) A poem, whether serious or humorous, that commemorates the deceased.
EXAMPLES: Ben Jonson’s “Epitaph on Elizabeth, L. H.” (1616), quoted here in part:
Underneath this stone doth lie
As much beauty as could die;
Which in life did harbor give
To more virtue than could live.
If at all she had a fault,
Leave it buried in this vault.
George Gordon, Lord Byron’s 1808 epitaph for his dog Botswain, next to whom he intended to be buried, reads:
To mark a friend’s remains these stones arise;
I never knew but one — and here he lies.