Monday, January 16, 2012

Epitaph: When the day of life is fled

The stone that marks the grave of Jane Carver (d. 1846) is a rather plain tablet marker. While some of the lettering is decorative, there are no symbolic carvings—no willows, no urns, no drapery.

There is, however, a poetically hopeful epitaph.



JANE.
Daughter of
S & M. CARVER
DIED
Feb. 26, 1846;
Aged 20 years

Dearest Sister; thou has left us,
Here the loss we deeply feel,
But ’tis God that hath bereft us,
He can all our sorrows heal.

Yet again we hope to meet thee,
When the day of life is fled,
Then in heaven with joy to greet thee,
Where no farewell tear [is shed.]

Samuel Francis Smith
The epitaph is from the hymn “The Departed” by Samuel Francis Smith (b. 1808, d. 1895), a Baptist minister, author, and editor who is perhaps best known as the author of the “My Country, ’Tis of Thee.”

Sister, thou was mild and lovely,
Gentle as the summer breeze,
Pleasant as the air of evening,
When it floats among the trees.

Peaceful be thy silent slumber,—
Peaceful in the grave so low:
Thou no more wilt join our number;
Thous no more our song shalt know.

Dearest sister, thou hast left us;
Here thy loss we deeply feel;
But ’tis God that hath bereft us:
He can all our sorrows heal.

Yet again we hope to meet thee
When the day of life is fled;
Then, in heaven, with joy to greet thee,
Where no farewell tear is shed.


Galena Cemetery, Delaware County, Ohio

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