20 September 2009

For the Touch of a Vanished Hand

In memory of our only darling
Thomas Hill
Son of W. S. & Lizzie J. Brown
Born March 25, 1867
Died Dec 17, 1883
Aged 16 Years, 8 Months, & 22 days.
Oh! for the touch of a vanished hand,
And the sound of a voice that is still.

The last lines of the inscription on young Thomas Brown's gravestone are from the poem "Break, Break, Break" by Alfred Lord Tennyson:

Break, break, break
On thy cold gray stones, O Sea!
And I would that my tongue could utter
The thoughts that arise in me.

O well for the fisherman's boy,
That he shouts for his sister at play!
O well for the sailor lad,
that he sings in his boat on the bay!

And the stately ships go on
To their haven under the hill;
But O for the touch of a vanished hand,
And the sound of a voice that is still!

Break, break, break
At the foot of thy crags, O Sea!
But the tender grace of a day that is dead
Will never come back to me.

Written after the death of a close friend, these lines by Tennyson evoke feelings of loss, melancholy, and nostalgia.  A perfect fit for the cemetery.

Thomas Hill Brown was laid to rest in Oak Hill Cemetery in Talbotton, Georgia.


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