Lucy Vickery

Spectator competition winners: Grave thoughts

In Competition No. 3139 you were invited to submit a four-line verse epitaph for a well-known person, living or dead.

There was lots of waspish wit on show this week, often deployed at the expense of our elected representatives. Many entries ran along similar lines to this one, from Steve Baldock, though not all of them took the Donald as their subject:


It wasn’t just politicians under the spotlight. Some competitors turned their attention closer to home. Here’s Philip Machin:

They laid awaiting her critique,Upon her desk arrayed,The myriad entries, strong and weak,That Lucy’s eyes surveyed.

And Jeremy Harris:

Basil ran some diverse rhymes,In the Speccie, many times,Now Basil’s earthly race is run,Lucy’s comps will be less fun.

On a more cheery note, honourable mentions go to Frank Upton and David Shields and the winners are rewarded with £9 per epitaph printed. Leading the pack is Basil Ransome-Davies, still very much with us.

He went the way he would have wished,Talking bollocks, slightly pished,Patriotic, loud and barmy,Leader of a phantom army.Basil Ransome-Davies/Nigel Farage

If you hear from below the faint gnashing of teethOr a corpse wildly spinning, it’s only Lord Reith.He was once, like his BBC, proud and austereBut has heard his poor Auntie is joining him here.Adrian Fry

Jeffrey Epstein, pudding and pie,Kissed the girls and made them cry;Strangled in his prison cell,Jeffrey Epstein burns in Hell.Douglas G. Brown

Rosa Parks, since she would notYield her seat, became a star.Sometimes you can do a lotJust by staying where you are.Haydn Died in1809,After which his talent suffered a marked decline.Max Gutmann

He vanquished all his enemies, and yetWhen he said ‘Death, be gone!’ death answered Nyet.Too much sugar, vodka, fat, and glutenDid what the free world couldn’t: vanquished Putin.Keats, the master of the ode,now occupies his last abode,a box that’s buried six-feet deep.John,

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