Poetic Forms Poetic Forms    

Lesson 19: Epitaph: The Soldier

by Unknown

lesson image
Abbey Churchyard, Bury St Edmunds Suffolk

William Middleditch,

Late Serjeant-Major of the Grenadier Guards,

Died Nov. 13, 1834, aged 53 years.

A husband, father, comrade, friend sincere,

A British soldier brave lies buried here.

In Spain and Flushing, and at Waterloo,

He fought to guard our country from the foe;

His comrades, Britons, who survive him, say

He acted nobly on that glorious day.

    Poetic Forms Poetic Forms    

Lesson 19: Epitaph: The Soldier

by Unknown


Study the poem for one week.

Over the week:

  • Read the poem each day.
  • Review the synopsis.
  • Read about the poetic form.
  • Complete the enrichment activities.


William Middleditch was a husband, father, and war hero who fought in the 1815 Battle of Waterloo, where Napoleon's French forces were defeated. His epitaph, engraved on his gravestone at Bury St. Edmunds, highlights his contributions as a British soldier.


Poems often adhere to specific poetic forms, defined as 'poems following distinct sets of rules.'

The nine poetic forms we'll study include the:

  1. Sijo: A lyrical Korean poetic form of three long lines.
  2. Haiku: A Japanese poem of three lines and a total of seventeen syllables.
  3. Limerick: A humorous poem of five lines and the rhyming scheme AABBA, typically having syllables of 9–9–6–6–9.
  4. Sonnet: A poetic form of fourteen lines that follow one of a few common rhyming schemes.
  5. Epitaph: A poem honoring the deceased, engraved on a burial marker or tomb.
  6. Acrostic
  7. Visual
  8. Ode
  9. Blank Verse

Epitaphs follow the listed rules:

  1. Honor the deceased
  2. Relatively short - the shorter the better
  3. Inscribed on a burial marker or tomb


Activity 1: Recite the Poem Title, Poet Name, and Poem

  • Each day this week, recite aloud the title of the poem, the name of the poet, and the poem.

Activity 2: Study the Poem Picture

Study the poem picture and describe how it relates to the poem.

Activity 3: Narrate the Poem

  • After reading the poem, narrate the poem events aloud using your own words.

Activity 4: Map the Poem

  • The 1815 Battle of Waterloo, where Napoleon's French forces were defeated by the British took place in the Netherlands.
  • Find Britain (the United Kingdom), France, and the Netherlands on the map of Europe.

Activity 5: Complete Book Activities   

  • Click the crayon above, and complete page 22 of 'Elementary Poetry 6: Poetic Forms.'


  1. Andrews, William. Curious Epitaphs. London. Little, William Andrews and Company, 1899.
  2. 'Epitaph.' Wikipedia. Wikipedia.org. n.p.