Friday, April 22, 2011

Epitaph: And I perhaps am near my home

A siltstone gravestone leans but still stands in memory of Jarves Gafford (b. 1801, d. 1841) in Old Basil Cemetery.


In
memory of
JARVES GAFFORD
He was born in the Year
AD 1801,
and departed this life
March 22d AD 1841,
in the 40th Year of his age.
Much of my time has run to waste,
And I perhaps am near my home:
But he forgives my follies past,
And gives me strength [for days to come.]


The epitaph is taken from the second verse of a hymn by Isaac Watts (b. 1674, d. 1748):

Thus far the Lord hath led me on,
Thus far His power prolongs my days,
And every evening shall make known
Some fresh memorial of His grace.

Much of my time has run to waste,
And I, perhaps, am near my home;
But He forgives my follies past,
And gives me strength for days to come.

I lay my body down to sleep;
Peace is the pillow for my head;
While well appointed angels keep
Their watchful stations round my bed.

In vain the sons of earth or hell
Tell me a thousand frightful things
My God in safety makes me dwell
Beneath the shadow of His wings.

Faith in His Name forbids my fear;
O may Thy presence ne’er depart!
And in the morning make me hear
The love and kindness of Thy heart.

Thus, when the night of death shall come,
My flesh shall rest beneath the ground,
And wait Thy voice to rouse my tomb,
With sweet salvation in the sound.


Old Basil Cemetery, Fairfield County, Ohio

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