Epitaph on Elias James

Epitaph on Elias James  (1610) 
William Shakespeare

Elias James was a wealthy London brewer who died in 1610. The epitaph for James was on a memorial in the church of St. Andrew-by-the-Wardrobe. The memorial no longer exists but was recorded in the 1633 edition of John Stow's Survey of London. The text is also present in the same manuscript which preserves the poem Shall I Die, where it is ascribed to Shakespeare.[1]

When God was pleased, the world unwilling yet,
Elias James to nature paid his debt,
And here reposeth; as he lived he died,
The saying in him strongly verified
"Such life, such death", then, a known truth to tell,
He lived a godly life and died as well.

This work was published before January 1, 1927, and is in the public domain worldwide because the author died at least 100 years ago.



  1. Dobson, M., Wells, S, "Epitaph on Elias James", The Oxford Companion to Shakespeare, Oxford University Press, 2001, p.130.