12 August 2010

Life is a Span (Today's Epitaph)

Charlie Z. Carrell
Born Oct 23, 1879
Died Oct 21, 1906

Life is a span -- a fleeting hour,
How soon the vapor flies.
Man is a tender transient flower,
That e'en in blooming dies.


At Walnut Cemetery in Unadilla, Dooly County, Georgia.

I found Charlie's epitaph in an 1843 publication entitled Universalist Hymn Book: Comprising a Sacred Variety of Sacred Effusions by George Rogers. It is "Suitable to the Livelier as well as Graver Purposes of Devotion." The particular lines are the first verse of hymn number 540, and is in the "Consoling in View of Death" section. Here is the rest of the hymn:

The once-loved form, now cold and dead,
Each mournful thought employs,
And nature weeps her comforts fled,
And withered all her joys.

Hope looks beyond the bounds of time,
When what we now deplore,
Shall rise in full immortal prime,
And bloom to fade no more.

Then cease, fond nature, dry thy tears;
Religion points on high;
There everlasting spring appears,
And joys that never die.

When reading this hymn, I thought it familiar so searched around in the Southern Graves blog archives. Verse three was used as part of an epitaph on the tombstone for Mrs. L. C. Mathews (1826-1885) at Oak Hill Cemetery in Talbotton, Talbot County, Georgia. I mentioned it in a post written about a year ago -- Three Pretty Mathews All in a Row.

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