Friday, March 30, 2012

Epitaph: My stricken spirit

The gravestone is plain—a graying tablet with no decorative carving. But the name Volney caught my attention and I snapped a few pictures.

Son of
George C. &
Urania Still
Feb. 5, 1849
Æ 14 years
3 mo. & 9
God gave him; let my troubled heart be still
And he has taken him from toil and care
I’ll bow my stricken spirit to his will,
In holy trust that we shall in Heaven

The epitaph on the gravestone for Volney Still (d. 1849) was unfamiliar to me. The only source I found was a heartbreakingly personal poem, “The Child,” attributed to Mrs. Harlam in Volume 9 of “The Ladies Repository” (1849).

I’ve watched her long and sadly, till the shade
Of death is hovering darkly o’er her brow;
I saw the life-blood from her fair cheek fade;
Alas! and is my darling dying now?

Wipe the last tear from those lov’d eyes no more;
My sorrow dims their lustre; at her heart
The pulse is faint—her sufferings almost o’er;
My dying child, so soon, so sad to part!

And now long between each lingering breath;
See how she folds her pale arms on her breast!
A sweet smile wreathes her lovely face—’tis death!
How calmly, quietly she sinks to rest!

She’s gone for ever; O, I did not dream
That death would touch a form so young and fair;
Those cheeks all rosy as the morning beam—
Those lov’d eyes, this smooth brow, and golden hair!

Array her for the tomb; she’s mine no more;
She was so like an angel from her birth—
An angel now—she’s gone where death is o’er,
Too pure and sinless for this changeful earth.

God gave her—let my troubled heart be still—
And he hath taken her from toil and care;
I’ll bow my stricken spirit to his will,
In holy trust, that I shall meet her there.

Sunbury Memorial Park, Delaware County, Ohio

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