Friday, November 25, 2011

I see thee still

There can be no doubt that the open book carved on the gravestone for Marilla G. Jameson (d. 1851) is a Bible. On it is carved a version of Revelation 14:13.

Blessed are the dead
which die in the Lord from
henceforth: Yea, saith the
Spirit, that they may rest
from their labours and thei
r works do follow them.

Subtly dimensioned sunbursts frame the stone’s primary inscription. Visually the oval provides a nice contrast to the straight lines of the rectangular stone, the rectangular Bible.

of R. R. Jameson;
Died March 20’
1851; Aged 27
y’s, 3 mo. &
8 ds.

The epitaph is small, tucked away at the bottom, easy to overlook. But be sure to stop and read this one. It is taken from the moving poem “I See Thee Still” by American poet Charles Sprague (b. 1791, d. 1875).

I see thee still;
Remembrance, faithful to her trust,
Calls thee in beauty from the dust;
Thou comest in the morning light;
Thou’rt with me through the gloomy night;
In dreams I meet thee as of old;
Then thy soft arms my neck enfold,
And thy sweet voice is in my ear; —
In every scene to memory dear
I see thee still.

I see thee still
In every hallowed token round;
This little ring thy finger bound,
This lock of hair thy forehead shaded,
This silken chain by thee was braided;
These flowers, all withered now, like thee,
Sweet sister, thou didst cull for me;
This book was thine; here thou didst read;
This picture, ah! yes, here, indeed,
I see thee still.

I see thee still;
Here was thy summer noon’s retreat;
Here was thy favorite fireside seat;
This was thy chamber, — here, each day,
I sat and watched thy sad decay;
Here, on this bed, thou last didst lie;
Here, on this pillow, thou didst die.
Dark hour! once more its woes unfold;
As then I saw thee, pale and cold,
I see thee still.

I see thee still;
Thou art not in the grave confined, —
Death cannot chain the immortal mind;
Let earth close o’er its sacred trust,
But goodness dies not in the dust;

There, O my sister, ’tis not thee
Beneath the coffin’s lid I see;
Thou to a fairer land art gone;
There, let me hope, my journey done,
To see thee still.

Africa Cemetery, Delaware County, Ohio

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