Which leads me to Thomas Hardy. Although I don't know why.
John Constable, "Malvern Hall, Warwickshire" (1809)
A world I did not wish to enter
Took me and poised me on my centre,
Made me grimace, and foot, and prance,
As cats on hot bricks have to dance
Strange jigs to keep them from the floor,
Till they sink down and feel no more.
Thomas Hardy, Winter Words in Various Moods and Metres (1928).
J. M. W. Turner
"Buttermere Lake, with Part of Cromackwater, Cumberland" (c. 1798)
Epitaph on a Pessimist
I'm Smith of Stoke, aged sixty-odd,
I've lived without a dame
From youth-time on; and would to God
My dad had done the same.
Thomas Hardy, Human Shows, Far Phantasies, Songs and Trifles (1925).
Hardy includes this note to the poem: "From the French and Greek." Hardy owned a copy of J. W. Mackail's Select Epigrams from the Greek Anthology (1906), which contains the following translation of a Greek epitaph: "I Dionysius of Tarsus lie here at sixty, having never married; and I would that my father had not." J. O. Bailey, The Poetry of Thomas Hardy: A Handbook and Commentary (1970), page 557. "Dionysius of Tarsus" becomes "Smith of Stoke" in order to bring us up-to-date.
Hardy's sympathetic reading of Schopenhauer is perhaps reflected in "Epitaph on a Pessimist." Schopenhauer opined that, when all is said and done, not having been born may have been the best option for us. Giacomo Leopardi, who Schopenhauer admired, came to the same conclusion. Yes, it sounds harrowing, doesn't it? But, when you read Schopenhauer and Leopardi, they are two extremely jolly fellows, and are quite entertaining about the whole business.
A race with the sun as he downed
I ran at evetide,
Intent who should first gain the ground
And there hide.
He beat me by some minutes then,
But I triumphed anon,
For when he'd to rise up again
I stayed on.
Thomas Hardy, Ibid.
"Epitaph on a Pessimist" and "Cynic's Epitaph" were published together in the September, 1925, issue of The London Mercury, when Hardy was 85.
"View of Copped Hall in Essex, from Across the Lake" (1746)
A Placid Man's Epitaph
As for my life, I've led it
With fair content and credit:
It said: 'Take this.' I took it.
Said: 'Leave.' And I forsook it.
If I had done without it
None would have cared about it,
Or said: 'One has refused it
Who might have meetly used it.'
Thomas Hardy, Winter Words In Various Moods and Metres (1928).
Francis Towne, "Haldon Hall, near Exeter" (1780)
I never cared for Life: Life cared for me,
And hence I owed it some fidelity.
It now says, 'Cease; at length thou hast learnt to grind
Sufficient toll for an unwilling mind,
And I dismiss thee -- not without regard
That thou didst ask no ill-advised reward,
Nor sought in me much more than thou couldst find.'
Thomas Hardy, Late Lyrics and Earlier, with Many Other Verses (1922). "Toll" (line 4) is "a proportion of the grain or flour taken by the miller in payment for grinding." OED.
I think that the final two epitaphs best describe Hardy himself.
John Glover, "Thirlmere" (c. 1820)