An Arundel Tomb
The poem describes a memorial effigy that can be found in Chichester Cathedral; the effigy is ascribed to Richard FitzAlan, 10th Earl of Arundel (d. 1376), who is buried in Lewes Priory, 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."
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,
- 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.
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