"He had with him that selfsame rifle you see with him now, all mounted in german silver and the name that he’d give it set with silver under the checkpiece in latin: Et In Arcadia Ego. A reference to the lethal in it."
Et in Arcadia Ego (c. 1618 - 22), by Guercino
Public DomainEt in Arcadia Ego (c. 1618 - 22), by Guercino - Credit: Web Gallery of Art

'Et In Arcadia Ego' is a Latin phrase commonly translated as ‘Even in Arcadia I exist.’

It is best known as the title of two pastoral paintings by Nicolas Poussin depicting Arcadian shepherds gathered around an austere tomb, possibly inspired by an earlier painting of the same subject by Guercino. The phrase itself can not be traced to any known classical source, but the first treatment of the theme appears in Virgil’s Eclogues.

The ambiguity of the phrase has inspired a number of interpretations, but it is usually read as a memento mori, with the ‘I’ referring to Death.