Saturday, March 26, 2011

Epitaph: With years oppressed

The grave of William S. Crumb (d. 1850) is marked by an ornate tablet marker with an epitaph that caught my eye. Oppressed? Harassed?

Wm. S. Crumb
April 15th 1850.
27 years 8 mo
& 12 days.

With years oppressed,
Dejected & Harassed
To thee Oh! God I pray
Oh! cast me not away.

The epitaph is from the first verse of a poem by Sir Robert Grant (b. 1779, d. 1838), a British lawyer, politician, and hymn writer. “Psalm LXXI” was first published in Grant’s posthumous Sacred Poems.

With years oppressed, with sorrows worn,
Dejected, harassed, sick, forlorn,
   To Thee, O God, I pray :
To Thee my withered hands arise,
To Thee I lift these failing eyes,
   O! cast me not away !

Thy mercy heard my infant prayer,
Thy love, with all a mother’s care,
   Sustained my childish days :
Thy goodness watched my ripening youth,
And formed my heart to love Thy truth,
   And filled my lips with praise.

O Savior ! has Thy grace declined ?
Can years affect th’ Eternal Mind ?
   Or time its love decay ?—
A thousand ages pass Thy sight,
And all their long and weary flight
   Is gone like yesterday.

Yes! broken, tuneless, still, O Lord,
This voice transported shall record
   Thy goodness tried so long ;
Till, sinking slow, with calm decay
Its feeble murmurs melt away
   Into a seraph’s song !

Williamsville Cemetery, Delaware County, Ohio

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