Thursday, September 1, 2011


Susan Sherman (d. 1849) is buried near the back of Fargo Methodist Episcopal Cemetery. What her simple tablet marker lacks in symbolic imagery, it makes up for with a poetic epitaph.

consort of
December 23, 1849
aged 24 years
8, Mo. & 9, days.
O, thus when Death’s
Long night comes on
And its dark shades
Around me lie.
May parting beams
From Memorys sun
Blend softly in
My evening sky.

In September 1834, the poem “Remembrances” was printed in The Knickerbocker: or, New-York Monthly Magazine. The Sherman epitaph is taken from the final verse:

Oft at the hour when evening throws
Its gathering shades o’er vale and hill,
While half the scene in twilight glows,
And half in sun-light glories still:
The thought of all that we have been,
And hoped and feared on life’s long way—
Remembrances of joy and pain,
Come mingling with the close of day.

The distant scene of Youth’s bright dream,
The smiling green, the rustling tree;
The murmur of the grass-fringed stream
The bounding of the torrent free—
The friend, whose lender voice no more
Shall sweetly thrill the listening ear,
The glow that Love’s first vision wore,
And Disappointment’s pangs—are here.

But soft o’er each reviving scene
The chastening hues of Memory spread ;
And smiling each dark thought between,
Hope softens every tear we shed.
O thus, when Death’s long night comes on,
And its dark shades around me lie,
May parting beams from Memory’s sun
Blend softly in my evening sky!

The poem was attributed to G. W. G. when it was published in the magazine. No name, just initials.

Who is G. W. G.? Was he (she?) a regular contributor to the magazine? Initials and Pseudonyms: a Dictionary of Literary Disguises by William Cushing suggests that G. W. G. is George Washington Greene (b. 1811, d. 1883), an American historian and close friend of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow.

Fargo Methodist Episcopal Cemetery, Morrow County, Ohio

“The Knickerbocker: Or, New York ...” Google Books. Web. 29 Aug. 2011. <>.
Cushing, William. &8220;Initials and Pseudonyms: a ...&8221; Google Books. Web. 29 Aug. 2011. <>.

1 comment:

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...