Archive for September 18th, 2011

Power (2)

I hadn’t seen a lot of chalices as funerary art before I visited Calvary Cemetery, but I hadn’t visited many cemeteries with such a large number of clergy. The chalice is usually a religious symbol, and when paired with a small disc like these, is specifically symbolic of the sacrament of Holy Communion. Most websites that explain this symbol state that it usually appears on the graves of priests, which these pictures seem to bear out.

Jennings James (4)


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My initial conclusion when I saw this stone was that the epitaph was a hymn or poem written by the deceased, one Rev. Thomas F. Troy. On a whim, though, I searched for some of the lines of the epitaph. The epitaph is two stanzas lifted from a poem called “We Lay Us Down to Sleep” by Louise Chandler Moulton (1835-1908).

We lay us down to sleep,
And leave to God the rest,
Whether to wake and weep
Or wake no more be best.

Why vex our souls with care?
The grave is cool and low,—
Have we found life so fair
That we should dread to go?

We’ve kissed Love’s sweet, red lips,
And left them sweet and red:
The rose the wild bee sips
Blooms on when he is dead.

Some faithful friends we’ve found,
But they who love us best,
When we are under ground,
Will laugh on with the rest.

No task have we begun
But other hands can take:
No work beneath the sun
For which we need to wake.

Then hold us fast, sweet Death,
If so it seemeth best
To Him who gave us breath
That we should go to rest.

We lay us down to sleep,
Our weary eyes we close:
Whether to wake and weep
Or wake no more, He knows.

The initials TFT after the epitaph are interesting. They seem to be the deceased’s and are definitely not the poet’s. Was Troy fond of this poem? Did he quote it often? Did someone who helped select the monument for Rev. Troy mistakenly believe the poem was his work and not simply something he found meaningful?

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