16 September 2009

The Shade of the Trees

In Memory of
Iola
Daughter of W. H. & J. D. Philpot
Born Nov 27, 1857
Died Feb 12, 1882
We loved thee, my
daughter, and miss thy
sweet face and kind loving
words.  But thou hast gone
to meet thy angel mother
and rest under "The shade
of the trees."

The tombstone pictured and transcribed above can be found in Oak Hill Cemetery; Talbotton, Georgia.  The epitaph is very loving.  One thing that stood out to me was the quoted phrase, "The shade of the trees." I was curious about it and performed a search on the phrase.  I have a hunch it is from a portion of the last words of Stonewall Jackson:  "Let us cross over the river and rest under the shade of the trees." It fits the time frame of Iola's life well.

Here is a poem I found in an 1867 book, The Southern Poems of the War by Emily Virginia Mason.  The only reference to an author is above the poem:  "By James." Any of the lines from this poem would be a befitting epitaph.

"Over the river," a voice meekly said,
Whose clarion tones had thousands obeyed,
As in ranks upon ranks they grandly rushed on,
To battle for liberty, country, and home!

"Over the river," immortality's plains,
In verdure eternal where peace ever reigns,
Rejoice with their beauty his vision of faith,
As his spirit approaches the river of death!

"Over the river, 'neath the shade of the trees,"
Advancing to meet him bright angels he sees,
They beckon him over to rest in the shade,
And dwell in the mansions the Saviour hath made.

"Over the river, 'neath the shade of the trees,"
Whose fruit of twelve manners his taste shall e'er please;
Beneath whose soft foliage his spirit may rest,
"Over the river," in the home of the blest.

"Over the river, 'neath the shade of the trees,"
Freed from the earth's sorrows he'll rest at his ease;
Life's conflict is over, its battle is won,
And his brow will be wreathed with the victor's bright crown.

"Over the river," now a Heavenly guest!
"'Neath the shade of the trees," forever at rest!
In that glorious land, enraptured he'll sing,
The praises of Him who of Kings is the King!

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