Saturday, November 19, 2011

Epitaph: Beyond this veil of tears

After visiting so many cemeteries and photographing so many gravestones, my inclination is to pass over the “ordinary” stones.

A sandstone tablet marker with a rather ordinary draped urn motif? I have seen it hundreds of times, if not more.

Still, something made me stop and snap a few photos of the marker at the grave of Abel Tinkham (d. 1828). It does show surprisingly little weather damage for an 1820s stone, but it is the poetic epitaph that stands out.

Abel Tinkham,
die. Nov. 7, 1828;
aged 69 years.
Beyond this veil of tears
I live, a life above;
Unmeasured by the flight of years,
Where all that life is love.

The epitaph is adapted from “The Issues of Life and Death,” a hymn written by James Montgomery (b. 1771, d. 1854).

O where shall rest be found,
Rest for the weary soul?
’T were vain the ocean-depths to sound,
Or pierce to either pole;
The world can never give
The bliss for which we sigh;
’T is not the whole of life to live;
Nor all of death to die.

Beyond this vale of tears,
There is a life above,
Unmeasured by the flight of years;
And all that life is love;

There is a death, whose pang
Outlasts the fleeting breath;
O what eternal horrors hang
Around “the second death!”

Lord God of truth and grave,
Teach us that death to shun,
Lest we be banished from they face,
And evermore undone:
Here would we end our quest;
Alone are found in thee,
The life of perfect love,—the rest
Of immortality.

Africa Cemetery, Delaware County, Ohio


  1. Just beautiful! What a lovely monument to someone.

  2. This is wonderful! I have to check out this poem and then I'll be able to share a link back to this blog. I never thought to look for others with this fixation. I'm not alone in my strangeness. Hooray! Nice to meet you, Amy!

  3. I love the epitaphs taken from old hymns. Always so lovely!

  4. I love these posts. The epitaphs you've shared are absolutely wonderful!


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