Thursday, December 15, 2011

Epitaph: Thou’rt gone to the grave

A fallen, broken gravestone marks the graves of Lucy Wilson Cellar (d. 1847) and three of her infant children.

Wife of
Died June 2, 1847. Æ.39 Yrs.
their three Infant children

Jan. 20, 1843.
Aged 26 ds.

Oct. 16, 1846
[Aged _____]
Nov. 20, 1845
Æ.9 mo. & 8 d[s.]

Suffer little children
to come unto me and
forbid them not for of
such is the Kingdom
[of Heaven.]

But that is just the top piece of the stone. There is also an interesting epitaph that was originally at the bottom.

Thou’rt gone to the grave,
But ’twere wrong to deplore thee,
When God was thy ransom,
Thy guardian and guide,
He gave thee and took thee,
And soon will restore thee,
Where death has no sting,
Since the Saviour has died.

Bishop Reginald Heber
The epitaph was taken from a funeral hymn written by Reginald Heber (b. 1783, d. 1826) after the death of his first child. Here is the full version:

Thou art gone to the grave, but we will not deplore thee,
Though sorrows and darkness encompass the tomb;
The Savior has passed through its portal before thee,
And the lamp of His love is thy guide through the gloom.

Thou art gone to the grave, we no longer behold thee,
Nor tread the rough path of the world by thy side;
But the wide arms of mercy are spread to enfold thee,
And sinners may hope, since the Sinless has died.

Thou art gone to the grave, and, its mansion forsaking,
Perhaps thy tried spirit in doubt lingered long;
But the sunshine of Heaven beamed bright on thy waking,
And the song which thou heard’st was the seraphims’ song.

Thou art gone to the grave, but ’twere wrong to deplore thee,
When God was thy ransom, thy guardian, thy guide;
He gave thee, and took thee, and soon will restore thee,
Where death has no sting, since the Savior hath died.

Liberty Church Cemetery, Delaware County, Ohio


  1. I am amazed at how clear the top portion has remained. I would have expected it to be almost illegible!

  2. It is surprisingly legible, isn't it? Though, unless it is restored to its upright position, I fear that the weather--especially water freezing/thawing in the indentations during winter--will quicken its deterioration.


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