Sunday, January 23, 2011

Gravestone of the Day: James Russell

James Russel, 1773, Concord, MA

Memento mori
Here lies Buried
the Body of Mr:
James Russel, who
departed this Life
May the 5th: AD.
1773 Aged 77
Years 3 months
and 29 days.
No house of pleasure here 'bove ground
Do I expect to have;
My bed of rest for sleeping sound
I've made the silent grave.

I love the birds and baskets in the border.


Robert J. said...

That seemed a rather un-Christian verse, so I looked it up.

Quite interestingly, it's one of the "scripture-songs" of the Reverend and Learned Ralph Erskine, A.M., Minister of the Gospel in Dumferline in the early 1700s. Google knows of no other appearance apart from this Concord stone of the Park workshop, and volume 10 of Erskine's collected works.

Erskine's scripture-songs were paraphrases and elaborations inspired by particular Biblical verses, and this one is based on Job 17.13: "If I wait, the grave is mine house: I have made my bed in the darkness."

William Park was a Scottish immigrant. I wonder if he brought a volume of Erskine with him when he came to New England?


Caitlin GD Hopkins said...

I'll see if I can dig up any other Park stones with Erskine quotes!