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Epitaphs and Names

The frequency and the various conditions of country graveyards form a feature of New England landscape scenery peculiar to this country. You never see anything like it in any other country. It is, of course, common enough in Europe to find the old church surrounded by the church-yard. But our graveyards are very much more frequent without than with churches, or any buildings, in them; and churches are far more numerous without than with graveyards near them.

Most of the country graveyards are lonesome and mournful-looking places, often far away from any houses, frequently showing no indications of care nor any footprints of visitors. In and near the large villages one finds very beautiful cemeteries, demonstrating the existence of reverence for the place of final rest. But the lonesome burial-places that I pass along the road are for the most part open fields, with waving grass and golden-rod, and often thickets of brush, but without trees. This must not, however, be taken as evidence of forgetfulness of the dead, or intentional neglect of their graves. It proceeds simply from the fact that no one has suggested to the people the idea of combining effort to make the graveyard a place of beauty as well as of repose. It is in fact part of that lack of education in love of beauty which prevails among laborious communities, with whom life is a very constant struggle, whose days are none too long for the earning of a livelihood. True, it needs but an instructor to teach such communities the utility and money value of beauty, and show how the labor of the farm may produce beauty with profit. Doubtless after some more generations the education will come.

Meantime these desolate-looking burial-places contain abundant evidence of the refinement of mind which characterizes the country population; the deep sentiment which in human history accompanies the highest civilization. For if you desire to find communities in the largest measure composed of true gentlemen and gentlewomen, you are not to seek them in cities, nor in that section of city population sometimes called "society," but among the hills, in the up-country, where lives have grown old and generations have succeeded generations, far removed from the ambitions, the rivalries, the passionate collisions of the cities. Here are very kindly hearts, rejoicing in one another's prosperities, sympathetic one with another's troubles.

Here slander finds no encouragement and gossip has no life. Here no one tells lies about another, man or woman, and when men or women sin, as alas! they sometimes do everywhere, others do not enjoy talking about it, but are sorry and silent.

Doubtless there are evil-minded people in the country. Their number is increasing as railways bring the population into closer contact with crowded communities. But there remain, here and there, isolated tracts of country in which a great deal of the old purity of life and whole-souled love of neighbors yet prevails. If you know what that means, what it was a few years ago all over the north country, you cannot look at one of these road-side graveyards without recalling the scene which has been visible here, as each one of these mounds was heaped up. Then all the people from miles around came to the funeral, and whether it were old man or boy, babe girl or matron, no king had ever more royal burial, for none was ever laid in vault or ground with more solemn, loving, lamenting attendance.

I have often copied and printed epitaphs from these graveyards, which however rude or uncouth in expression, are nevertheless honest epitaphs. There is no introduction of the rivalries of society into these cemeteries. Simple, unpretentious headstones are here, only intended as marks of the separate graves, and the inscriptions are in plain letters, affectionate memorials. It is often interesting to see how frequently in the same graveyard the same epitaph is repeated. When first put on a stone it has attracted the eye and pleased the mind, and one and another has adopted it as just the expression of his or her feeling, and so it has been used on stone after stone. It is not uncommon to find stones which may indicate either the lack of a stone-cutter in the country, or the poverty which forbade employing one. These are home-made stones, and in their rude simplicity they are very eloquent, since you can but picture to yourself the survivor, in a solitary home, working slowly and patiently to carve the gravestone of the lamented dead. Here is an example. I found it in a graveyard in the western part of the town of Putney in Vermont. Type will not reproduce the rudeness of the lettering, but will exhibit the patience of the unskilled fingers which cut the characters deep in red sandstone:


Aside from the indications of human emotion which these records furnish in ancient as in modern cemeteries, they contain many curiosities of literature.

Mistakes in spelling, which are frequent, are of course the fault of the stone-cutter. It certainly was his fault in the case of a stone in the noble cemetery at Charlestown, N. H., whereon the inscription was clearly not intended to suggest the penance to which in old times some were occasionally addicted. The epitaph ends thus:

"His wayes were wayes of pleasantness
And all his paths were pease."

There is a common old epitaph, found frequently in graveyards in England as well as in America, in one or another form. In that same graveyard at Putney I found it in this form:

"Behold my grave as you pass by
As you are liveing so once was I;
Death suddenly took hold on me
And so will be the case with thee."

In a graveyard by the road-side in Charlemont, Mass., I found a variation, the first lines being:

"Come all young people as you pass by,
As you are now so,"etc.

In that Charlemont burial-place I copied from the grave of Mr. Nathaniel Upton, who died in 1829, this short, sharp statement:

"Here lies my friend
Till time shall end."

Manchester in Vermont, one of the most beautiful villages in the world, has a cemetery which, like the village, may claim superior beauty to almost any other in the north country. Wandering through it, I copied this inscription from a stone marking the graves of three children, who died in the years 1821, 1823, and 1824:

"Here in the dust 3 babes we
Sleep by our Father here
our Mother Brothers
Sisters dear have left us
alone to moulder here"

And another, over a young wife, only eighteen years old, who died in 1810.

"Mourn not for me
Wipe off the crystal tear
Your allotted portion be
Like mine upon a bier.
Go search the earth around
Regard well your behaveer
To Jesus Christ you're bound
He is your only Saviour."

At Fayetteville in Vermont I strolled into the old graveyard, and copied here and there an inscription.

On one stone I found this:

"Now, little James has gone to rest
With Eliza Ann among the blest.
Aside by side their bodies lay.
Till the great resurrection day."
On a stone by the side of the above:
"Oh, little Lavina she has gone
To James and Charles and Eliza Ann.
Arm in arm they walk above,
Singing the Redeemer's love."

On a somewhat large monument was a photograph, or perhaps it was a daguerreotype, set deep in the stone, and under it the familiar old epitaph before mentioned, with, however, a stanza added which I do not remember to have seen elsewhere:

"Behold my friends as you pass by,"etc.
"What thou art reading o'er my bones
I've often read on other stones,
And others soon shall read of thee
What thou art reading now of me."

There is a quaint force in this, which is from an 1825 stone at Pittsfield, N H.:

"Ah soon we must persue
This soul so lately fled
And soon of you they may say too
Ah such an one is dead."

And on another stone in the same yard I found this brief sentence:

"Death is a debt to nature due
I've paid the debt, and so must you."

Sometimes I find hints of tragedies or romances in the quiet up-country lives which have found final peace under the stones. As I drove by a little cemetery in Goshen, I stopped the horses and read from the carriage an inscription which has given me food for a thousand imaginings since. I wondered what could have been the story of that life which was thus published on the road-side, manifestly with intent that every passer-by should read. I even had the curiosity to inquire, but found no one who remembered the events alluded to. It was the grave of a girl of seventeen, and the epitaph was this:

"Dearly beloved while on earth —
Deeply lamented at death —
Borne down by two cruel oppressors —
Distracted and dead."

Peace be with the child, whoever she was and whatever her sorrow! It was a lonely graveyard, far away from any village, and not near any house, but there was a goodly company of the sleepers near her on the hill-side going up from the road, and she is not alone in her rest, and will not be alone in the morning.

Sometimes I have found very touching evidences of the grief that comes to all human hearts alike, in city and country, in Christian and pagan lands. There is an affectation of sorrow in some tombstone literature, but I don't think any one will imagine there was not the outburst of a mother's heart in the words that were on the tombstone of the child named Coral. She was but fourteen years in this .country, and some one — it could have been but one — when she went suddenly away, summed up her agony in the words on the stone, "My dearest love, my dearest love!"In a city cemetery we do not fancy that the publication of one's private grief seems in good taste even on a memorial stone. But no one can find fault with any inscription which bears evidence that it is uttered, not to the living who remain, but to the dead loved one who has gone on. Such inscriptions properly dedicate memorial stones.

Some graveyards, full of the graves of the old-time folks, are abandoned as if forgotten. At Francestown, N. H., I found such a place. The stones were lying or leaning down in all directions. It was difficult to read the inscriptions. Brush and weeds concealed graves and stones. Here are some lines from the headstone of Mr. Isaac Brewster, who died in 1782:

"Happy the company that's gone
From cross to crown, from thrall to throne
How loud they sing upon the shore
To which they sailed in heart before."

Driving up the road from Keene, N. H., to Drewsville, I reached a little road-side inn in the town of Surry, at about the time to feed my horses. As I sat on the front steps of the inn, the scene, in the noon of a bright October day, was not exhilarating. There was no village. Across the broad road was a church. The front platform was rotted, and the broken plank, some standing on end, made it unnecessary to ask if it was abandoned. There was a graveyard a little way from it, a blacksmith's shop, and a building, half town-hall and half grocery-store, standing between. The graveyard, although apparently not in use, was evidently cared for. It was neat and in good order. Perhaps the church is deserted because the population is less. Whatever be the reason, I have rarely found a country graveyard which was better worth visiting.

There was a very large group of graves of one family, the name varying, usually Darte, sometimes Dort, sometimes Dart, and among them Eli, Elihu, and Eliphalet. One of the little girls was named Azubah. Mr. Nathaniel Darte died long ago at 66. There was a blank on the stone where the year of his death should have been. His headstone said:

"Dear friends don't mourn for me nor weep;
I am not dead, but here do sleep.
And here I must and shall remain
Till Christ does raise me up again."

Doubtless he was a resolute man, in death as in life. Mrs. Deborah Darte, his wife, died in 1773, only twenty-eight years old. She says:

"Friends retire; prepared be
When God shall call to follow me."

When Mrs. Darte died she left two little daughters, Avis and Eunice. This we know from their graves, close by. They both grew up. Avis married Asa Holmes, and in 1791, a young wife in her twenty-second year, "fell a victim to death." The errors in spelling on her tombstone must be charged to the stone-cutter of the day. This is the epitaph:

"Altho' I sleep in death awhile,
Beneath this barron sod,
Ere long I hope to rise and smile,
To meet my savour God."

Little Avis and Eunice grew to womanhood during the trying times of the Revolutionary War, but did not live to see the good times of this nineteenth century. For Eunice, who was only two years old when her mother died, Avis being four, died unmarried a few months after her sister in 1791, in her twentieth year. Mrs. Eunice the headstone calls her, that is, Mistress Eunice. I fancy she had received this title, given in those days to maiden ladies, but not often to those as young as she, because she had become the head of her surviving father's household. She was doubtless a fair New England maiden, lovely and loved. Was it a lover who called her "friend,"in her epitaph? Or was it her father? For as we will see presently the word "friend "had endearing associations in that locality, and a father might apply it to a daughter or a husband to a wife, according to modern French usage. Here is her epitaph, literally:

"Stop gentle youth and drop a tear,
For my true friend lies buried here.
She once was innacently gay,
But now a lifeless lump of clay.
Then pity my sad overthrow.
Nor set your heart on things below."

When Ruel Mack died in 1812 he left this assurance, as we find it carved over him:

"Mourn not for me, nor thus reflect,
But all your sighs and tears suppress,
Since God has promised to protect
The widow and the fatherless."

Mr. Woolston Brockway, who died in 1789, in the seventy eighth year of his age, was verily one of the New Hampshire fathers. The stone record says: "He left a widow and eighty-seven children, grand and great-grandchildren." Of John Brockway, who died in 1799, it is said:

"He lived a friend to all mankind
And died in hopeful peace of mind."

On the headstone of Mrs. Lucina Willcox, who died in 1800, is a version of a familiar old epitaph, before mentioned, whose peculiarity I italicize:

"Death is a debt by nature due,
I've paid my shot and so must you."

Theodosha, wife of Edmund Wetherbee, died in 1806 at twenty-one years of age, and her husband thus laments:

"Why do I mourn beneath the cross?
Why do I thus repine
If God be pleased to take away
A lovely friend of mine."

In 1802, when Benjamin Isham was laid in the ground, they carved this over him:

"Pray don't lement when death is sent,
Nor fill a watery eye;
It was decreed to Adam's seed
All that are born must die."

John Marvin went away triumphantly in 1807, a soldier of the church militant who fell in the battle. There is the ring of a clarion in his epitaph. If you do not think so, go and read it as I read it in a golden October day, with a north-west wind rushing over the hills and sweeping the yellow maple-leaves in wild and musical whirls around you in that otherwise silent burial-place, while above you is the blue sky into which so many have looked from these hills and valleys, and looking have gone to meet their leader:

"Death, thou hast conquered me —
I, by thy darts, am slain;
But Christ has conquered thee,
And I shall rise again."

I lingered two hours in this lonesome burial-place, copying quaint epitaphs: those of the Reverend Zebulon Streeter and Tabitha, his consort, who died in the early part of the century, of Abia Crain, of Colonel William Bond, of Simon Baxter, and a number more which are in my note-book. Let it suffice to add only that of Mr. John Redding, who died in 1814. It is very homely:

"The widow mourns the loss of a husband near,
The children of a parent dear;
But still one comfort does remain,
The hopes that our loss is his infinite gain."

As I was coming out of the ground I was startled at sight of a tall, white stone, and the legend, "Ichabod Crain died Oct. 14, 1866, ae. 82 years and 10 months." The spelling was not that of Geoffrey Crayon, but by the side of this stone was another, whereon I read: "Fanny, wife of Ichabod Crane, died March 22, 1842, ae. 53."

There is an interesting old cemetery at Norwich in Vermont, where I passed a rainy Sunday.

The stones of a hundred and more years ago are going rapidly to decay; many inscriptions are already lost past all recovery; parts of others are gone. I hope there is a local historical or other society which has preserved accurate copies of these old records. They will always be of inestimable value, not alone to descendants of those who lie here, but to local and general historians.

It was raining, and the yellow grass was high and wet; but I forgot the dismal weather as I went on from one to another old stone, and kneeling in the grass studied out, sometimes copying, the inscriptions. I found several names of women, uncommon though none entirely new to me, such as Mindwell, Thankful, Salla, Alba, Candace.

Here is an inscription from an old stone:

"In memory of Mr. Nathaniel Hatch who died with the small pox at Charlestown N. H. July 3, 1776 aged (blank) years. His bones were accidentally found in 1810 by men to work on a turnpike between Charlestown and Walpole and deposited at this place by the desire of his son Oliver Hatch of this town.

Let not the dead forgotten lie
Lest men forgit that they must die."

That stone speaks of the terror which accompanied the disease when it appeared at Number Four (the ancient name of Charlestown), the hasty, unmarked burial, not in the general graveyard. It may suggest, too, that Americans had many subjects of personal thought and work and worry on the 4th of July, 1776.

The small stone at the grave of Mariah Hatch, who died in 1802, after living five weeks, gave opportunity to some one to defy orthography and orthodoxy and the doctrine of original sin, in this epitaph:

"Beneth a sleeping infant lies
To earth her body's lent,
More glorious she'll hereafter rise
Though not more inocent."

The freedom of the country stone-cutter from all laws of calligraphy and orthography is exhibited in an inscription which I copy line for line:

"In memory of
Mrs Susannah
wife of
Ensign Elisha Burton
who died in full assurance of a
Beter life April 27 1775 in ye 23d
Year of her Age she was an
Obliging wife a tender Mother & a
Sincear Christion born
From above she paied her viset here & then
Retorned to Dwell with saints on high where she is
Ceased From Every ancious Care &
Joined ye Geniral Chorus of ye Joy "

Evidently the last word should have been "sky."

There is something worth your philosophic study in these graves, and in graves which you may find scattered all over the world, which you may classify as you classify birds and fish and mammals and flowers, placing them together. All these people died in one faith; all are of one family. It strikes me always as very odd, very unscientific, for men to neglect great moral facts, and great physical facts which seem to be consequences of moral facts. Thousands of people swarming together periodically towards central points, called places of worship, are as distinctly phenomena as any other physical occurrences in this world. The impelling causes, if natural, demand the highest attention of the philosopher. If they are not natural, then they are supernatural, and annihilate many of the speculations of the small philosophers of our day.

What higher philosophy is there? It is written, in ill-spelled phrases but in words of wonder, all over these rude stones in the up-country graveyards. "You can't read it," do you say? Come, and I will show it to you in plain letters of modern cutting. For as the rain fell steadily, and the clouds dragged down lower on the valley, and it grew colder and colder, I was about to come away from the old graveyard, when I saw the dense, dark mass of a low spruce bending its branches heavy with wet down to the ground. Parting the branches, I found a brown stone, surmounted by a cross, and read the summing up of that sublime faith which makes an old New England graveyard to be holy land. "O JESU QUI MIHI CRCIFIXUS ES IN TE SPERAVI."

An interesting subject of thought is found in the Christian names which have been given to children, borne through longer or shorter lives, and finally carved on gravestones. Whence came some of these names, especially as names given to female children? Here are a few out of many which I have copied in various burial-places along the roads. Some are Scriptural, varied in spelling, some noteworthy only for the spelling:


While on this subject of names of the dead, here is an illustration of names now in use by the living. In a village inn in New Hampshire I found the printed catalogue of a school located there, and copied in my note-book the following Christian names of young lady students:

Myrtie Ioline.            Mary Etta.

Una Gertrude.          Margaret Marilla.

Mary Adella.             Lora Eliza.

Lois Ella.                   Franca Lydia.

Corrie Elbra.             Fannie Mae.

Daisy Sarah.             Minnie Etta.

Hattie Rose Pearl.     Lizzie Estelle.

Myrtie Kate.               Mary Loraine.

Florence Genevra.    Bernette Samantha.

Here is an interesting study. Doubtless in each family there was a satisfactory reason for the name given to the child, however strange the names appear when brought together in a catalogue. Frequently a mother desires to perpetuate in her daughter the name of the father, grandfather, or other male relative. In such cases names of men are slightly transformed to become feminine in sound. Several times I have been told by a mother that she had named her child from a character in a book which she had read, and that not liking the name as found, she had altered it a little. Often a young mother, full of joy and love, gives her baby the name of a flower. It is not often that parents, in naming children, take into thought the possible maturity and old age of the child, sent on in life with a label that cannot be well effaced. In a Vermont cemetery is the grave of a child who lived two years, till 1824, weighted with the name Orsamealius Almeron.

Turning over an English publication recently, I read a note concerning a person who died a long while ago. The writer, to verify his accuracy as to the date of the person's death, stated that his coffin-plate is preserved in the family residence. I do not know whether this indicates a custom to any extent prevalent in England, of preserving coffin-plates instead of burying them with the dead. It may be only an accidental preservation. But I am sure it is not generally known that such a custom has long prevailed in many parts of New England. In carriage travel I have frequently found the custom in practice. I once stopped for dinner at a farm-house and inn, in a village in Connecticut. We waited awhile in the little parlor, which was filled with family treasures in the way of curious and pretty things on shelves and pictures on the walls. Among the latter, framed separately under glass and hanging in different parts of the room, were three plain silver coffin-plates, engraved in the usual way with the names, ages, and dates of death of members of the family. This was the first instance in my experience of this custom, which, I learned, was common in the neighborhood. Afterwards I met with the same custom in various parts of other New England States, and it is quite likely that it prevails elsewhere in the country.

Opening a drawer in my library, I happened on some small wooden tablets which I found many years ago in Egypt. One of them, for example, is about four and a half inches long by three and a quarter inches wide. Notches are cut in the sides near one end, which is also perforated with a round hole. This was for a string. On one side of the tablet is carved in deep, rude letters, a Greek inscription: Ʃαραποδερος Κτί Kαλετος ετ μ: "Sarapoderos Kti, son of Kales, aged 48."

The same words are written in ink on the other side of the wood. Here is the close counterpart, 1800 years ago, of the modern coffin plate. For these wooden tags were attached to the mummied bodies of the dead, as records to go with them to the burial.

Every work of art is as much an embodiment of thoughts as a written sentence or a book. To look at works of art and express opinions as to their merit or demerit, to criticise them, is trifling work of little value. To read works of art as historical and personal records is the business of the art student. Here is a remarkable series of works of art, made by men in remotely separated periods, which evidently spring from one and the same motive. While we say at once that here is an indication, slight but noteworthy, of the sameness of ancient and modern humanity, we are nevertheless somewhat in the dark as to this one common motive. What is it? We have similar, though not identical, works in gravestones and monumental inscriptions.

I do not speak of the marking by inscriptions of the resting-places of the dead. That is more easily accounted for. But why this custom of the ages, pagan and Christian, of placing with the dead the record of how many years he or she had lived?

In the vast numbers of ancient mortuary inscriptions which we possess, this record is of constant occurrence. AURELIA dulcissima filia quæ de sæculo recessit vixit ann. XV., M. IIII. ANTIMIO vixit annis LXX. JULIA PROCILLA vixit ann. XIX. Innumerable examples like these occur, especially in early Christian times. The phrase, "lived so many years," is the common, often the only, inscription accompanying the name. Often the length of the lifetime is stated even to months and days. Why this custom?

I do not attempt to answer the question. It is easy to find reasons for epitaphs in general. They are various, under various circumstances. Some, many, are importunate appeals to the living for sympathy in sorrow. Some are designed to perpetuate loved or honored memories. Not a few which speak passionate grief are but sounding phrases, published to deceive the people into believing in a sorrow which does not exist. Many are devised as sermons to the active world, and many are placed only in obedience to existing custom. But I cannot see clearly what has been the constant motive of survivors in burying their dead with the statement that he or she had lived so many years and months and days. Purposes of identification do not account for it satisfactorily.

Professor A. C. Merriam, in a monograph upon the Egyptian tags, says that of the small number known there are two classes, one class evidently used to direct transportation of the body from the place of death or of embalmment to that of entombment. He gives an example of this kind of tag, which reminds us of the address of a modern express package: "To Diospolis; Pamontis, son of Tapmontis; from Pandaroi." The other class, to which mine belong, went into the tomb attached to the body.

These little wooden tags are objects of no small interest. They are probably not older than the beginning of the Christian Era — perhaps belong to the second century. They speak a mystery, the mystery I have already indicated. Whatever the motive be of recording the age of the dead, it is certain that there has always been a prevalent idea among men which has led to the placing with the dead sometimes records, sometimes personal objects. In countless cases we know that this idea has been an avowed belief in the immortality of the soul, and the added faith in a resurrection. Has a like faith, sometimes so faint as to be unconfessed, led to the custom in all cases? Did those who buried the son of Kales follow him in vague imagination to the world of spirit, and thus. almost unconsciously, regard his life as continuous, unbroken, while they thought of this life in the body as only a section off from the beginning of the endless continuity? Is there in all these inscriptions an eloquence which those who made them did not clearly recognize; which would be made plain by adding the word "here?" — "Julia Procilla lived here nineteen years." If that were the inscription, or if that be the sense in which it was carved, then it ceases to be a mere statement of fact, and rises to the highest rank as a simple and powerful epitaph. And it is quite probable that on Christian graves this is the true intent in the use of the word vixit — lived.

Was Sarapoderos one of the Christians of the Church of St. Mark? Was this tablet-tag intended to tell the Arab of later ages who should rob his grave, and me and all others to whom the inscription should come, that he passed the first forty-eight years of his existence here, in what men call "living," and then went to the other living, where he now is and will be forever?

That common epitaph:

"As you are now, so once was I,
As I am now so you must be — "

brought to mind an ancient inscription said to be found on a Roman tablet at Naples, "Fui non sum: estis non eritis: nemo immortalis."

The similarity and the immeasurable difference between the two epitaphs is manifest The philosophy is in comparing the human minds, 2000 years apart, which inscribed them on the tomb of the dead. In both the idea is a message, a voice, from the dead to the living. In both is the sad ring of human consciousness of brief existence, universal certainty of the close of this life. But while the ancient ended his words with the profoundly gloomy "no one is immortal," the modern closed his with the assurance of another life and the words "follow me."

In no custom of men is there more evidence of the community of mind, the sameness of qualities in the soul, than in the custom of placing epitaphs over the dead. Nor can we, I think, find in any literature more interesting illustration of the identity of the race in all ages.

There are ancient epitaphs which are identical in sentiment with hundreds to be found in New England and Old England graveyards. My notes contain many such. It is common enough in our time for parents to record in stone their grief, as if demanding sympathy in their affliction from even strangers, and the passers-by of future times. "My darling, my darling," were four words which I copied from a child's gravestone one day; "Our dear little one," from another; scores of like expressions you are familiar with. How like the sentiment to that of ancient parents. At Aquileia, ages ago, Aurelius and Prima, father and mother, made a tomb for their little Aurelia, named doubtless for her father, and wrote on it "Aureliæ, animæ dulcissimæ: quæ. vixit In pace ann. IIII. Men. VI diebus XXIII."

They loved that "sweetest soul." "She lived in peace," for they had made home peaceful, and she had brought peace with her in the household. They counted in memory every short year of the four, every moon of the six, and they treasured with devout love each hour of the twenty-three days which were last in the short life of their joy. Many a modern father and mother have knowledge of the emotion which led them to carve this epitaph.

And that custom of recording even the days of a beloved life, ancient and modern, on innumerable stones, reminds me, in passing, of an inscription at Rome which went still further, thus: "Vix. Ann. XIX., M. II, D. IX.: horas scit nemo" — "She lived nineteen years, two months, nine days, hours no one knoweth."

Not alone parents to children, but husbands and wives to one another, and children to parents, placed in ancient as in modern times, memorials of affection and respect, carved on stone for perpetuation. At Naples Proculus and Procillanus made a monument to Marcia, "Matri Sanctissimæ" — "their most holy mother." Somewhere, I forget where, a Roman husband said of his wife, on her gravestone, "Nil unquam peccavit, nisi quod mortua est" — "She never did a wrong, except that she died."

It is very rare indeed to find on a modern tombstone a doubt of immortality. Once I copied an epitaph in which occurred the distinct assertion that the man who lay there believed in no God. Whether he ordered the record, or another placed it there without direction, I know not. I have a note of a Roman epitaph, "Vixi et ultra vitam nihil credidi" — "I have lived, and I believed in nothing beyond this life." Another of two "most sad" parents over a loved child expressed despairing grief in terms of bitterness: "We are cheated in our votive offerings; we are deceived by time, and death laughs at all our carefulness: Anxious life comes to nothing."

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