This section is from the book "Hill's Manual Of Social And Business Forms: A Guide To Correct Writing", by Thos. E. Hill. Also available from Amazon: Hill's Manual Of Social And Business Forms: The How-To-Do-Everything Book Of Victorian America.
Brief Extracts from the Best Poems, suitable to accompany Tomb-Stone Inscriptions.
EVERY inscription on tomb-stones may appropriately be accompanied by an epitaph, which should be expressive yet very brief. Formerly it was customary oftentimes to inscribe several stanzas of poetry upon the headstone. With the improved taste of later years, however, it is considered best to condense the epitaph into a few words, usually not exceeding four lines in length.
The following appropriate stanzas for epitaphs are culled from the best poems:
' We saw not the angels who met him there, The gates of the city we could not see. Over the river, over the river,
My darling stands waiting to welcome me."
"Amiable, she won all; intelligent, she charmed all; fervent, she loved all; and dead, she saddened all."
" He carries the lambs in his bosom.
"Rest in peace, thou gentle spirit, Throned above - Souls like thine with God inherit Life and love."
I love them that love me, and those that seek me early shall find me."
"Judge not the Lord by feeble sense, But trust Him for His grace; Behind a frowning providence, He hides a smiling face."
Not thus his nobler part shall dwell A prisoner in this narrow cell;
But he, whom we now hide from men, With youth renewed, shall live again."
Ay, hold it true, whate'er befall, And feel it, when we sorrow most,
'T is better to have loved and lost, Than to have never loved at all."
"Shed not for her the bitter tear;
Nor give the heart to vain regret; 'T is but the casket that lies here, The gem that filled it sparkles yet."
"Sheltered and safe from sorrow."
"Ere sin could harm, or sorrow fade, Death came with friendly care; The opening bud to heaven conveyed, And bade it blossom there."
"Happy infant, early blest! Rest, in peaceful slumbers, rest."
"This lovely bud, so young, so fair, Called hence by early doom, Just came to show how sweet a flower In Paradise would bloom."
"Suffer little children to come unto me."
"There, in the Shepherd's bosom, White as the drifted snow, Is the little lamb we missed one morn, From the household flock below."
"So the bird of my bosom fluttered up to the dawn, A window was opened - my darling was gone ! A truant from time, from tears, and from sin, For the angel on watch took the wanderer in."
"O Death! where is thy sting ? O Grave! where is thy victory ?"
"From meadows fanned by heaven's life-breathing wind, In the resplendence of that glorious sphere, And larger movements of the unfettered mind, Come darling, oft, and meet me here."
"A happier lot than ours, and larger light, surrounds thee there."
"Gone to a land of pure delight, Where saints immortal reign; Infinite day excludes the night, And pleasures banish pain."
"Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for Thou art with me."
"Triumphant smiles the victor's brow, Fanned by some angel's purple wing. Where is, O grave, thy victory now ? And where, insidious death, thy sting?"
"Thy rod and Thy staff, they comfort me.
"Sweet is the scene when virtue dies! When sinks a righteous soul to rest, How mildly beam the closing eyes,
How gently heaves the expanding breast!"
"Here I lay my burden down, Change the cross into the crown.'
"I shall know the loved who have gone before, And joyfully sweet will the meeting be, When over the river, the peaceful river, The angel of death shall carry me."
"Because I lived, ye shall live also.
"Life is real, life is earnest,
And the grave is not its goal;
' Dust thou art, to dust returnest,' Was not spoken of the soul."
"Of such is the kingdom of Heaven
"Dear is the spot where Christians sleep, And sweet the strains that angels pour. O ! why should we in anguish weep ? They are not lost, but gone before."
"I am the resurrection and the life."
"From darkness and from woe, A power like lightning darts; A glory cometh down to throw Its shadow o'er our hearts."
"Heaven's eternal year is thine."
"Known and unknown, human, divine, Sweet darling hand and lips and eye; Dear heavenly one, thou canst not die, Mine, mine forever, ever mine."
"Death loves a shining mark.
"Life's duty done, as sinks the day, Light from its load the spirit flies; While heaven and earth combine to say, How blest the righteous when he dies. "
"He giveth his beloved sleep."
"Gone before us, O our brother, To the spirit land ! Vainly look we for another, In thy place to stand."
"Her children rise up and call her blessed."
" She was but as a smile,
Which glistens in a tear, Seen but a little while,
But, oh ! how loved, how dear!"
"We loved her."
"We only know that thou hast gone, And that the same returnless tide, Which bore thee from us, still glides on, And we, who mourn thee, with it glide."
" There shall be no night there."
"Green be the turf above thee, Friend of my better days; None knew thee but to love thee, Nor named thee but to praise."
"I know his face is hid Under the coffin lid;
Closed are his eyes; cold is his forehead fair. My hand that marble felt, O'er it in prayer I knelt;
Yet my heart whispers that - he is not here."
"Far off thou art, but ever nigh; I have thee still, and I rejoice."
"To us for sixteen anxious months, His infant smile was given, And then he bade farewell to earth And went to live in heaven."
"Where immortal spirits reign, There we shall meet again."