01 February 2016

Mary Elmirah: Gone Before (Today's Epitaph)

Mary Elmirah rests at Mt. Olive Cemetery in Pinehurst, Dooly County, Georgia. She was a daughter of Mr. and Mrs. W. M. Wilson and wife of J. H. Wilkes. Mary died before her nineteenth birthday in the year 1907.

The back of her tombstone offers this recitation: There's a beautiful region above the skies, And I long to reach its shore. For I know I shall find my treasure there, The loved one gone before.

These words are from a poem by B. F. Taylor. I found it in The Speaker's Garland and Literary Bouquet. [P. Garrett & Co., 1876. Google book.]
GONE BEFORE -- B. F. TAYLOR

There's a beautiful face in the silent air,
Which follows me ever and near;
With smiling eyes and amber hair,
With voiceless lips, yet with breath of prayer,
That I feel but cannot hear.

The dimpled hand and ringlet of gold
Lie low in a marble sleep:
I stretch my hand for a clasp of old,
But the empty air is strangely cold,
And my vigil alone I keep.

There's a sinless brow with a radiant crown,
And a cross laid down in the dust;
There's a smile where never a shade comes now,
And tears no more from those dear eyes flow,
So sweet in their innocent trust.

Ah, well! and summer is come again,
Singing her same old song;
But, oh! it sounds like a sob of pain,
As it floats in the sunshine and the rain,
O'er the hearts of the world's great throng.

There's a beautiful region above the skies,
And I long to reach its shore,
For I know I shall find my treasure there,
The laughing eyes and amber hair,
Of the loved on gone before.

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