Posts Tagged ‘poem’

Boyd (2)

Boyd (1)

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Plumb (2)

The epitaph for Parys Plumb is taken from a 1734 poem by Isaac Watts entitled “A Fun­er­al Ode at the In­ter­ment of the Bo­dy, Sup­posed to Be Sung by Mourn­ers.” Watts’ words were set to music by George Handel to become a hymn known as “Unveil Thy Bosom, Faithful Tomb.” The entire hymn and music can be found here.

So Jesus slept; God’s dying sone
Passed through the grave, & blest the bed:
Rest heir blessed saint, till from his throne
The morning break and pierce the shade


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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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This marker was actually the first one in the Tennes family plot that I paused to look at.

Tennes (7)

On it are lines from a famous poem by John Gillespie Magee, Jr., an American who penned the piece “High Flight” while serving in the Canadian Air Force during World War II. Magee perished in a plane collision at the end of 1941, but his poem has lived on and become a favorite of aviators and astronauts. I was able to find an online obituary for Horace Tennes confirming that he was a naval Lt. Commander in World War II, commanding a bombing squadron.

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