An Arundel Tomb

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Detail of Arundel Tomb in Chichester Cathedral
Full length view of Arundel Tomb
Additional view of Arundel Tomb

"An Arundel Tomb" is a poem by Philip Larkin, published in 1964 in his collection The Whitsun Weddings. It comprises 7 verses of 6 lines each, each rhyming abbcac.

The poem describes a medieval tomb that can be found in Chichester Cathedral; the tomb is of Richard FitzAlan, 10th Earl of Arundel (d. 1376), and his second wife, Eleanor of Lancaster (d. 1372). In a decorative mode common in English tombs at the time, he has a lion at his feet while she has a dog. He has his right hand ungloved, and her right hand rests lightly upon his.

In an audio recording of the poem, Larkin states that the effigies were unlike any he had ever seen before and that he found them "extremely affecting."[1]

Larkin draws inspiration from this scene to muse on time, mortality and the nature of earthly love.

It begins thus:-

Side by side, their faces blurred,
The earl and countess lie in stone,

and concludes

Our almost-instinct almost true:
What will survive of us is love.

The poem was one of the three read at Larkin's memorial service.[citation needed]

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