Posts Tagged ‘Death’

A ‘Grave Yard’ in the Wat’ry Deep

December 17, 2012

watery grave - Drowning

Image from University of Virginia

From the Albany Argus.


Suggested by the following paragraph, taken from the Argus of October 7

“There is a place in the Mississippi where so many vessels have been wrecked, that it is called the ‘Grave Yard.'”

A ‘Grave Yard’ in the wat’ry deep — a home beneath the wave,
For they, the mourned, the loved, the lost, the youthful and the brave!
Oh, loving hearts have broken, and eye grown dim with weeping,
For the thousand forms that lie, in that unseen ‘Grave Yard’ sleeping.

A ‘Grave Yard’ — but above the dead selection sheds no tear,
No mourner’s footsteps tread the ground, no sighs are echoed here.
Affection’s hand can never bring, at pensive evening hour,
And place o’er some reposing form, love’ purest gilt — a flower.

Nor can it rear, with pious care, the costly marble stone,
In memory of the faded form, closed eye, and silent tongue;
Ah no! the tears that fall for these, can no green grave bedew,
And memory must erect her shrine, in the warm hearts of the true.

Oh! the sea may boast its sparkling gems and its snow-white coral caves,
And the pure and precious pearl that lies, far down in its deep, blue waves;
But thou, majestic river, what wealth thy waters hide —
The heart’s most valued treasure, the bosom’s dearest pride!

One common fate, one common home, is found by youth and age;
One common resting place they share, the infant and the sage,
The same proud wave, perchance, that laid the grey-haired sire low,
Has dashed from childhood’s downy cheek, its warm, bewitching glow.

A wave, a single, crystal wave, has levelled manhood’s pride,
And frozen in its chill embraces, the life blood of the bride;
A wave has bowed the maiden’s form, and one tumultuous billow,
Has been to many a bright, young head, its last and coldest pillow.

See, bounding o’er the “Grave Yard,’ a vessel in its might,
It skims the water’s surface, like a sea-bird in its flight.
Oh many a long-lamented one those waters have in keeping —
Sail slowly o’er the hallowed spot, where the silent dead are sleeping.

It is an awful thought that the gay, the living tread
Above the wave-walled sepulchre of the calm and quiet dead!
It is a solemn thought, that should one more fast sweep by,
Far down in that dark and dread abode, those breathing forms must lie.

Sail slowly — and let every soul, that those waves on their bosom bear,
With chastened spirits lift the heart to heaven in fervent prayer,
That He who holds f— human life, in his own holy keeping,
May save them from the wat’ry waste, where the silent dead are sleeping.


Albany, Oct. 15, 1842

Wiskonsan Enquirer (Madison, Wisconsin) Dec 24, 1842

Poet of the Plain People

August 7, 2012

Image from The Vantage Point

In Memoriam

Edgar A. Guest, “Poet of the Plain People,” whose poetry has been published for many years in The Sunday Post, died last week. In memoriam, the Sunday Post reprints the one poem written by Mr. Guest which stands out from all the rest, “It Takes a Heap o’ Livin’ in a House t’ Make it Home.”

(Copyright by The Reilly & Lee company, publishers.)

It takes a heap o’ livin’
In a house t’ make it home,
A heap 0′ sun an’ shadder,
And ye sometimes have t’ roam
Afore ye really ‘preciate
The things ye left behind,
An’ hunger fer ’em somehow,
With ’em allus on yer mind.
It don’t make any difference
How rich ye get t’ be,
How much yer chairs an’ tables cost,
How great yer luxury;
It ain’t home t’ ye,
Though it be the palace of a king,
Until somehow yer soul
Is sort o’ wrapped round everything.

Home ain’t a place that gold can buy
Or get up in a minute;
Afore it’s home there’s got t’ be
A heap o’ livin’ in it;
Within the walls there’s got t’ be
Some babies born, and then
Right there ye’ve got t’ bring ’em up
T’ women good, an’ men;
And gradjerly, as time goes on,
Ye find ye wouldn’t part
With anything they ever used —
They’ve grown into yer heart:
The old high chairs, the playthings, too,
The little shoes they wore
Ye hoard; an’ if ye could
Ye’d keep the thumbmarks on the door.

Ye’ve got t’ weep t’ make it home,
Ye’ve got t’ sit an’ sigh
An’ watch beside a loved one’s bed,
An’ know that Death is nigh;
Ye’ve got t’ sing an’ dance fer years,
Ye’ve got t’ romp an’ play,
An’ learn t’ love the things
Ye have by usin’ ’em each day;
Even the roses ’round the porch
Must blossom year by year
Afore they ‘come a part 0, ye,
Suggestin’ someone dear
Ye’ve got t’ love each brick an’ stone
From cellar up t’ dome:
It takes a heap o’ livin’
In a house t’ make it home.

The Bridgeport Post (Bridgeport, Connecticut) Aug 9, 1959

Hermit Digs Own Grave

June 22, 2012

Image from RED TAIL TRAILS – Pacoima Canyon via Dillon Divide


Then Goes Home to Die, Leaving Pathetic Note to Coroner.

Los Angeles Dispatch to New York Sun.

“Dutch Louie,” known throughout the Southwest as the hermit of the Pacoima, a few days ago walked slowly from his hut, which is 5 miles from Pacoima, and selecting a spot on the hillside, dug himself a narrow grave.

Then he returned to his home, dressed himself in his best clothing and lay down to die. All that he told in a letter he wrote to the coroner just before he lay down for the last time.

The note, a pitiful chronicle of hope that never died, asked the coroner to bury him without ceremony in the grave he had dug and to mark it only with a scant inscription, “Dutch Louie.”

“I don’t fear death,” wrote the hermit. “It is the inevitable wages of life — and I have lived. For scores of years I have lived in the hope of finding the bonanza I had dreamed of and prayed for. I never found it, but I was cheered to the end by the star of hope.”

The body was found by hunters.

The Washington Post (Washington, D.C.) Jun 8, 1915

Grave Quotes – What Do You Know?

June 15, 2012

Image from Live Journal

What Do You Know?


Here are QUOTES about GRAVES and the DEAD. Fill each blank. Allow 6 points for each correct answer. 48 is fair, 60 is good, 72 or better is excellent.

1. “The paths of ___ lead but to the grave” — Gray

2. “How sleep the brave who sink to rest
By all their country’s wishes ___” — Collins

3. “The low green ___
Whose curtain never outward swings” — Whittier

4. “I would rather sleep in the southern corner of a little country churchyard, than in the ___ of the Capulets” — Edmund Burke.

5. “Our hearts though stout and brave
Still like muffled drums are beating
___ marches to the grave” — Longfellow.

6. “Not a ___ was heard, not a funeral note
As he corpse to the rampart we hurried” — Wolfe.

7. “And I looked, and behold a pale ___, and his name that sat on him was Death” — Bible.

8. We have come to ___ a portion of that field as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that the nation might live” — Lincoln.

9. “He’d make a lovely ___” — Dickens.

10. “Love and tears for the Blue
Tears and love for the ___” — Finch.

11. “Let the ___ bury their dead” — Bible.

12. “Gilded tombs do ___ infold” — Shakespeare.

13. “I sometimes think that never blows so red
The rose as where some buried Caesar ___” –Omar Khayyam.

14. “When I am dead, my dearest,
Sing no ___ songs for me” — C. Rossetti

15. “Golden lads and ___ all must
As chimney-sweepers, come to dust” — Shakespeare.

(Answers on Classified Page)

The Blizzard (Oil City, Pennsylvania) Jun 18, 1948

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Images from COGITZ – Daily Oddities

The Blizzard (Oil City, Pennsylvania) Jun 18, 1948

Time — The Ferryman

June 3, 2012

Image from Metal on Metal

From the Louisville Bulletin.

Time — The Ferryman.
The ferryman time, with his locks of rime
And his ever-waning glass,
Hath laid on his bier another year,
And chaunted the midnight mass;
From the forest dim swelled the midnight hymn,
As earth bewailed the dead,
And the ocean bell rang out a knell
As the winged spirit fled.

The ferryman stands on the Stygian lands
By the flow of that sable river,
Mid a grisly throng whose sorrowful song
Like a dirge ascendeth ever;
And he hastens to row over that river of woe
The shrouded and coffined year,
Through the murky night that hath never the light
Of a single star to cheer.

The winds blow high — through the starless sky
Fly the storm clouds thick and fast,
And spectres float by the phantom boat
And shriek on the driving blast.
On, ferryman, on! Ere the night be gone
Thou hast many a league to row,
And many a shade, ere the darkness fade,
Shall tell it’s tale of woe.

Ambition shall tell how his castle fell,
Whose turrets mocked the clouds,
And point to the ghosts of his vanquished hosts,
Arrayed in gory shrouds.
No revellers call in his lordly ball,
Unstrung is the minstrel’s viol,
Not a sound to greet, save the pendulous beat
From the lone, monotonous dial.

Genius shall mourn how folly’s scorn
His heavenward flight depressed —
How the only food of his eagle brood
Was the life-tide of his breast.
Bright were the gleams that lit his dreams,
But oh, when he awoke
The light was gone — the vision flown,
And spell — and heart were broke!

Pure as the light of an Eastern night,
As it strays through the orange bowers,
Comes the lovelorn maid, Ophelia sad,
White robed and crowned with flowers.
Unhappy love! Thy plaint would move
To tears the coldest eye,
Rain pity’s showers and strew sweet flowers
Where the broken-hearted lie!

On, ferryman, on! for pale and wan
Is the crew that sails with thee,
Racked with all woe that mortals know,
And hopeless misery;
The whistling gales that fill thy sails
Are rapture to the soul,
When all the mirth and joy of earth
Have heard the death bell toll.

On, ferryman, on! Ere morning dawn
Thy prow must strike the shore —
Where the lethein draught of peace is quaffed,
And the struggle of life is o’er.
Our feet shall stand on the shining strand
Of life’s eternal river;
Where the buds of hope in beauty ope,
And the heart is young forever.

The Mountain Democrat (Placerville, California) Mar 24, 1855

A Worn and Weary Soul

June 2, 2012

Image from EDSITEment

“I came, but they had passed away,
The fair in form, the pure in mind;
And, like a stricken deer, I stray,
Where all are strange and some are kind;
Kind to a worn and wearied soul,
That pants, that struggles for repose;
Oh! that my steps had reached the goal
Where earthly sighs and sorrows close!

“Years have passed o’er me like a dream,
That leaves no trace on memory’s page,
I look around me, and I seem
Some relic of a former age;
Alone, and in a stranger clime,
Where stranger voices mock my ear,
In all the lagging course of Time,
Without a wish — a hope — or fear!

“Yet I had hopes — but they have fled,
And fears — and they were all too true;
And wishes too — but they are dead,
And what have I with life to do?
‘Tis but to bear a weary load
I may not, dare not, cast away,
To sigh for one small, still abode,
Where I may sleep as sweet as they!

“As they, the loveliest of their race,
Whose grassy tombs my sorrows steep,
Whose worth my soul delights to trace,
Whose very loss ’tis sweet to weep;
To weep, forgotten and unknown,
With me to smile, to hear, to see;
Earth can bestow no dearer boon
On one whom Death disdains to free!

“I leave a world that knows me not,
To hold communion with the dead,
And Fancy consecrates the spot,
Where Fancy’s early dreams are shed,
I see each shade, all silvery white,
I hear each spirit’s melting sigh;
I turn to clasp those forms of light,
And the pale Morning chills mine eye!

“But soon the last dim morn shall rise;
My lamp of life burns feebly now;
Where stranger hands shall close mine eyes,
And smooth they cold and dewy brow;
Unknown I lived — so let me die;
No stone or monumental cross,
Tell where his mouldering ashes lie,
Who sought for gold, and found it dross!”

The Mountain Democrat (Placerville, California) May 27, 1854

The Beggar and his Dog

May 6, 2012

Image from the Boston Public Library via flickr

The Beggar and his Dog.


THREE dollars, three, for my dog to pay!
Lightining strike me this moment, I pray!
What can they mean, these tyrant police?
Where will their grinding of poor men cease?

I am a broken, old, weary man,
And earn a penny, I never can;
I have no money, no bread, no dole;
Hunger and want are my portion sole.

And when I sickn’d and fevershook me?
Who pitied me when all else forsook me?
When alone in God’s wide world I stood,
Who was it bore me companionhood?

When my woes were sorest, whose love was unflinching?
Who warm’d my limbs when the forst was pinching?
And when I was hungry and surely, who
Growl’d not, but patiently hunger’d too?

OUr wretched lfie we have both, old friend,
Drain’d to the dregs; it must have an end;
Old and sickly thou’rt grown like me,
I must drown thee, — and this is my thanks to thee!

This is my thanks for thy love unswerving!
‘Tis the way of the world with all deserving,
Though my part in many a fight I have play’d,
‘S death! I am new at the hangman’s trade.

Here is the cord, here it the stone,
There is the water it must be done!
Come hither, poor cur, not a look on me cast,
One push with my foot, and all is past!

As he tied round its neck the fatal band,
The fog fawn’d on him and lick’d his hand;
He tore back the cord in trembling haste,
And round his own neck he bound it fast.

And wildly he utter’d a fearful curse;
And wildly he gathered his latest force,
And he plunged in the flood; white eddies rush’d
Recoiled, chafed, bubbled, and all was hush’d.

In vain sprang the dog to his rescue then,
Howl’d to the ships for the aid of men,
Whining and tugging gathered them round, —
‘Twas the corpse of the beggar was borne,

To the grave in silence the beggar was borne,
With the dog alone to follow and mourn;
And over the turf that wrapped his clay,
The fond brute stretch’d him, and died where he lay!

Hillsdale Whig Standard (Hillsdale, Michigan) Jul 21, 1846

The Mother’s Kiss of Her Dead Child

January 10, 2012

Image from The Burns Archive


The Mother’s Kiss of Her Dead Child.

The kiss of Friends, who meet to part,
Or welcome their return,
Is sweet, and grateful to the heart,
Where kind affections burn.

The kiss, which faithful Lovers claim,
Is fonder and more true;
And, while it feeds the mutual flame,
It seals their vows anew.

Still more sincere, the Parent’s kiss,
That bathes the Infant cheek,
Imparts and draws a kindred bliss,
Which language cannot speak;

But far most sacred and most dear,
Of all most undefiled,
The mother’s kiss, who, with a tear,
Imprints it on her child.

Her child, who sleeps in death’s embrace,
Her lips to feel no more, —
If aught could warm its icy face,
That kiss would life restore;

And, if its spirit hover’d nigh,
This proof of holy love,
The richest blessing would supply,
Its wings could bear above.

If angels sought with purpose mild,
Earth’s purest scene to know,
The mother, kissing her dead child,
That spectacle would show.

Cherryfield, October, 1843.

Bangor Daily Whig and Courier (Bangor, Maine) Oct 26, 1843

Image from The Burns Archive

Grandma’s Stocking

December 2, 2011


The supper is over, the hearth is swept,
And, in the wood-fire’s glow,
The children cluster to hear a tale
Of that time so long ago —

When grandmama’s hair was golden brown
And the warm blood came and went
O’er the face that could scarce have been sweeter then,
Than now in its rich content.

The face is wrinkled and care-worn now,
And the golden hair is gray;
But the light that shone in the young girl’s eyes
Has never gone away.

And her needles catch the fire’s light,
As in and out they go,
With the clicking music that grandma loves,
Shaping the stocking toe.

And the waking children love it, too,
For they know the stocking song
Brings many a tale to grandma’s mind,
Which they shall hear ere long.

But it brings no story of olden time
To grandma’s heart to-night —
Only a ditty, quaint and short,
Is sung by the needles bright.

“Life is a stocking,” grandma says,
“And yours is just begun;
But I am knitting the toe of mine,
And my work is almost done.

“With merry hearts we begin to knit,
And the ribbing is almost play;
Some are gay colored, and some are white,
And some are ashen gray.

“But most are made of many a hue,
With many a stitch set wrong,
And many a row to be sadly ripped
Ere the whole is fair and strong.

“There are long plain spaces without a break
That in your youth are hard to bear;
And many a weary tear is dropped
As we fashion the heel with care.

“But the saddest, happiest time is that
We court and yet would shun;
When our Heavenly Father breaks the thread,
And says our work is done.”

The children come to say good night,
With tears in their bright young eyes;
While in grandma’s lap, with a broken thread,
The finished stocking lies.

Cambridge City Tribune (Cambridge City, Indiana) Dec 5, 1872

Two Passing Souls

November 29, 2011

Image from Bill Frymire Visuals


Black the night quick gathering round me,
Loud the cruel, cold waves roar;
Swift the tide that bears me onward.
Whither? To no friendly shore!
Ah, my heart is fearful, shrinking,
No support have I, nor stay;
There’s no light can pierce this darkness,
I am doomed — lost, lost for aye!

Father, I have heard the calling,
And my heart leapt up with joy;
Leave I all earth’s pains to fathom
Happiness without alloy.
Cold the water, but, dear Father,
Firm thy hand and strong thy cheer;
Strange, sweet music strains float near me,
Hark! my “Welcome Home” I hear.

— Carrie Jordan in Philadelphia Ledger.

Daily Advocate (Newark, Ohio) Jan 7, 1893