Ivor Brown, always a dour judge, asks for an epitaph on a Dead Failure, in any field or sense. He admits to finding as many as forty good ones, and there is a string of also-rans, and a few quotations of which this one, by John A. Bellchambers, struck me as better than the actual winners:
Here lies a lass, who was, alas,
Long left upon the shelf:
She lost all lovers by her gas,
And so she gassed herself.
However, seeing off Sir Robert Witt, TE Casson, H.C.M., W. Leslie Nicholls, and others are David Holland and librarian Mariamne, the former punning on a sense of ‘ploughed’ that is, I think, no longer with us. (It is mid 19th century Oxford slang, and originally meant to be failed – and not to fail, as it is here.)