Wednesday, October 1, 2008

101 Ways, Part 46: Clos'd This Earthly Scene

For a brief intro to the "101 Ways to Say 'Died'" series, click here.

The Tingley family of Providence cut some beautiful stones and some lovely epitaphs. This one aspires to eloquence, though the spelling leaves something to be desired. This isn't a case of a marginally literate carver misspelling the names of the months or using common vernacular spellings of everyday words. Some of the lines are borrowed from Edward Young, and the language — "silent mansion," "exalted soul," etc. — indicates someone familiar with early romantic literature. It's a little stuffy, but I think it's charming. Maybe that's just my affection for Providence taking over.

In this Silent Mansion
are deposited the Remains of
Youngest Son of
Edward and Molly Knowles,
who clos'd this Earthly scene
on the 22 of Jany, 1810,
in the 35th Year of his Age.
Such was the Virtuous Life,
of this beloved Youth,
that his final hour sweet
peace and Heavenly hope,
Devinely beam'd on his
Exalted Soul.
Could greatful love recall the fleeting breath,
Or fond affection sooth relentless Death,
Then had this stone never Claimed a tear,
Nor read to thoughtless man a lesson here.

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