Sunday, May 31, 2009

In Peace Amidst ye Rage of Noise & War

In Portsmouth, New Hampshire, I found three gravestones with the same, unusual inscription. All date from the Revolutionary War era and look like Lamson shop stones, though I can't be sure. They all start the same way: "In Peace Amidst ye Rage of Noise & War Here Rests the Remains of . . ."

John Hart, Portsmouth, NH, 1777

Jacob Tilton, Portsmouth, NH, 1776

Deborah Parrott, Portsmouth, NH, 1779

I'm very interested in gravestones that recognize public events. The Jason Russell stone is a good example of a stone dedicated to a single person that nonetheless has a lot to say about current events. These three stones aren't quite as overt — no barbarous murders or bloody troops, but they acknowledge the war.

1 comment:

Robert J. said...

That really feels like it has a literary source. I didn't find an exact match, but "Great Ruler of the Earth and Skies" comes close:

When angry nations rush to arms,
And rage and noise and tumult reign,
And war resounds its dire alarms,
And slaughter dyes the hostile plain;

Thy sovereign eye looks calmly down,
And marks their course and bounds their power;
Thy law the angry nations own,
And noise and war are heard no more.

That's from a 19th-century edition, so I don't know how early the verse is. More careful searching could probably trace the original publication.