The Trevelyon Miscellany: Memento Mori

Word & Image:
The Trevelyon Miscellany of 1608

on exhibit January 23 - May 22, 2004

Memento Mori

What might seem gruesome today was simply an omnipresent fact of life in early modern times. For Thomas Trevelyon, death marked a step towards eternal life, which could be spent in heaven or in hell. Memento mori or "reminders of death" filled the world in which he lived lest people forget that—depending on God's will and their behavior on earth—all eternity could be spent in torment.

Thomas Trevelyon, Miscellany, fol. 179r (Dialogue against worldly vanytie)

Thomas Trevelyon
Miscellany, fol. 179r
("Dialogue against worldly vanytie")

In this "Dialogue against worldly vanytie" a Lady protests to Death that he must have made a mistake. She tells him she is too young, rich, and beautiful to die and merely has "some fume" the doctor can purge in the morning. Death mockingly appeals to her concern for wealth, saying he'll save the doctor's "charge" by taking her that evening. More importantly, he reminds her "your heaven is hell, except you do repent."

Word and Image: The Trevelyon Miscellany of 1608
Exhibition Highlights

Thomas Trevelyon: the man and his sources | History and Religion | Calendars and Calculations | Memento Mori | Proverbs | The Old Testament | Lettering | A Quest for Order | Women | Astronomy | Personifications | Embroidery

Exhibition Intro | Visiting the Folger

This page updated March 30, 2004