Monday, August 1, 2011

Epitaph: Softly her fainting head she laid

The marker at the grave of Charity Closson (d. 1826) is mossy and lichenous but still easily read. Its urn carving features banners or ribbons in place of what often is swagged drapery.

wife of
Richard Closson
died March 17, 1826,
aged 69 years.

Softly her fainting head she laid
Upon her Saviour’s breast;
Her Saviour call’d her soul away
And laid her flesh to rest.

The poetic epitaph is adapted from “The Death of Moses” by Isaac Watts, whose hymns were a popular source for epitaphs in the 19th century. Compare the version on Charity’s gravestone to the original:

Softly his fainting head he lay
Upon his Maker’s breast;
His Maker kiss’d his soul away,
And laid his flesh to rest.

Richard Closson (d. 1831), a Revolutionary War veteran, is buried beside his wife.

Burnside Cemetery, Delaware County, Ohio


  1. Thanks for sharing the information about the epitaph Pugbug. I came across the same verse at the weekend for the very first time in Southend~on~Sea, Essex, England.

  2. What a coincidence, eh? An interesting thought--how many gravestones are 'related' by the epitaphs they bear?


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