Thursday, September 29, 2011

Epitaph: Let roses bloom and willows wave

The marker at the grave of James Jameson (d. 1845) was once broken into three large pieces. It has been repaired and now stands intact in Galena Cemetery.

Despite the interesting symbolic carvings (two small books, swagged drapery, laurel leaves), it was the epitaph that caught my attention. Isn’t the final line beautiful?

who died Saturday
June 21, 1845
Aged 26 Years
6 Mo & 12

T’is done, James has breath’d his last
Early the shades of death he past
He’s gone and left his frends [sic] to mourn
And he to them cannot return.

Blest be the memory o’er his Grave
Let roses bloom and willows wave.

The epitaph is taken from the poem “On the Decease of Mrs. E. B. W——” by Thomas Kennedy (b. 1776, d. 1832), an American merchant, lawyer, and poet.

’Tis done, Eliza breathes her last,
Her troubles and her trials past,
The hours of sorrow now are o’er,
And pain shall ne’er assail her more.
In life most dear—in death how great,
Calm and resign’d she met her fate;
Sweetly her spirit sunk to rest,
To wake among the truly blest.

At such a scene ev’n seraphs sing,
O death! where is thy cruel sting?
Thy sting O death ! is left behind,
And pierces deep each feeling mind.
Love and affection sadly mourn,
And friendship sighs o’er her death urn,
And many a tear is fondly shed,
For her who dwells among the dead.

Among the dead; no, no, on high,
Among the souls who never die,
She takes her place ; and oh ! if there,
She ever feels an earthly care,
’Tis for the sake of the lov’d few,
To whom she scarce could bid adieu,
To whom her fond regard was given,
As dear to her almost as Heaven.

Blest be her mem’ry, o’er her grave
Let roses bloom and willows wave—

There oft shall silent footsteps tread,
And haunt the spot where rests her head.
And tears of sweet remembrance flow
In all the luxury of woe;
'Tis done, Eliza breathes her last,
Her troubles o’er, her trials past.

  • The gravestone gives the day of the week that Mr. Jameson died.
  • The stone carver signed his initials, D. C. C., but I have not identified him. Not yet anyhow.

Galena Cemetery, Delaware County, Ohio

1 comment:

  1. This is it! A lovely funeral poem for a person who loves gardening and haunting (elaboratly decorating) her yard at Halloween. "Let roses bloom and willows wave- There oft shall silent footsteps tread, And haunt the spot where rests her head."
    I don't see the word "haunt" too often in such poems/epitaphs, but I haven't seen as many as you have, I'm sure :)
    I will put a copy of this in the funeral-planning folder I keep for myself, to make things easier on my loved ones. Thank you for posting it. Mr James Jameson's tombstone is lovely as well- so masculine and solid.


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