Saturday, June 30, 2012

“Welcome sweet hour of full discharge”

The sandstone marker at the grave of Nathan Nettleton (d. 1823) is similar to many others of the time period here in central Ohio:

A flaming urn is framed by swagged drapery.
The inscription is carved in an oval.
And at the base, an epitaph—and it is a beauty!

died Oct. 4,
aged 33 years.
Welcome sweet hour of full discharge,
That sets our longing souls at large,
Unbinds our chains, breaks up our cell,
And give us with our God to dwell.

The epitaph is from the hymn “Now Let Our Souls on Wings Sublime” by Thomas Gibbons (b. 1720, d. 1785), a London clergyman.

We have seen that epitaph before, carved on the gravestone of Sarah Flanagan Cellar.

Compare the “handwriting” of the epitaph on the Cellar stone to the Nettleton stone. I suspect both were carved by the same unidentified hand. What do you think?

Sarah Flanagan Cellar epitaph

Nathan Nettleton epitaph
Africa Cemetery, Delaware County, Ohio

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