Nearly twice twenty years have passed since the tract of country situated within sound of the Cambridge bells, and known to every college graduate of the time for its natural and, we may say, unsurpassed beauties was set apart for a rural cemetery. The selection of this spot for the purpose was indeed a great loss, not only to the lover of flowers, who could no longer roam with his accustomed freedom in search of the objects of his affection - for here upon its sunny slopes he was sure to find that harbinger of spring, the modest hepatica days and even weeks before it dared to open its delicate petals elsewhere, and in its more hidden recesses, the blue-fringed gentian, white with the frosts of later autumn, long after it had disappeared in the regions adjoining - but also to the sportsman, who could no longer be permitted to tread its secluded covers. Great as was the loss to these, to the public it was a gain, for its very loveliness contributed to inspire the people generally with a taste for embellishing the resting-places of the dead. From the time of the consecration of Mount Auburn until the present, no one idea has been received with more favor in our country than the laying out of public cemeteries in the neighborhood of our cities and towns.

In fact, to such an extent has this been carried, that there is scarcely a country village that has not made the attempt to adorn its neglected gravey - yard, or, not content with this, to lay out a new lot more in accordance with the prevailing tastes of the day.

While it is not always- feasible to select a suitable spot for a rural cemetery, that is, one combining natural beauties together with the proper soil and that, too within a convenient distance, the cemeteries in the neighborhood of Boston have been most admirably located. What could we have better, adapted to the purpose than Mount Auburn, Forest Hills and Mount Hope and a host of other cemeteries connected with and belonging to the neighboring towns! With their noble trees of every variety, with the rare shrubs and native flowers which have been so lavishingly bestowed upon them by nature, with the disposition of their surface broken up into eminence, gentle slope, deep dell - and these adorned with lake and rivulet - it would seem that they were already fitted, without the aid of man, as resting-places-for the dead. And they are so fitted - most admirably fitted - in themselves for such a purpose; but man's ambition, love of ostentation, and desire to outdo his neighbor cease not at the grave. And herein lies the object of our present paper - to set forth the folly, bad taste, and want of proper judgment, the effects of which so frequently disfigure our most beautiful cemeteries.

First of all, we would speak of that almost universal propensity that exists, to shut in the dead by fences and barriers of every description, as if the occupants of the grave would encroach upon each other's rights. And what explanations can be offered for this wide-spread incongruity ? Certainly these barriers can be no protection against a trespass upon the property where there is a willful determination for destruction or mutilation. Neither can they afford any sense of seclusion to the mourner who at the grave would seek communion with the dead. As to their use as defining the limits or bounds of the proprietor, the same end may be attained by means against which no objection can be made. No good reasons can be brought forward why such obstacles to all natural beauty should be tolerated. The most that can be said is, that their erection is simply a fashion into which people have been very unwisely led, and of which they have as yet failed to see the impropriety.

If so much objection is offered to the act of placing any fence or barrier around the various lots in our cemeteries, words would fail us if we attempted to portray the senseless vanity so often exhibited in their construction. In this connection, then, we can not do better than to quote the remarks of Downing on this very subject, every word of which meets our fullest approbation : "Few things are perfect; and beautiful and interesting as our rural cemeteries now are - more beautiful and interesting than anything of the same kind abroad - we can not pass by one feature in all, marked by the most violent bad taste - we mean the hideous ironmongery which they all more or dess display. Why, if the separate lots must be inclosed with iron railings, the railings should not be of simple and unobtrusive patterns, we are wholly unable to conceive. As we now see them, by far the greater part are so ugly as to be positive blots on the beauty of the scene. Fantastic conceits and gimcracks in iron might be pardonable as adornments of the balustrade of a circus or a temple of Comus; but how reasonable beings can tolerate them as incisures to the quiet grave of a family, and in such scenes of sylvan beauty, is mountain high above our comprehension".

The same remarks are applicable to the incongruous, uncomfortable-looking iron sofas and chairs; as well as to the vases, flower-baskets, images, etc., which so often encumber the in closures. Then, again, how little in keeping with the green turf and the natural slope are those large masses of masonry in the shape of steps, and those blocks of hammered granite, which without meaning attract the eye to the exclusion of other objects more in harmony with the spot! And this applies as well to the country graveyard, where injudicious attempts have been made to beautify by inclosing here and there a family lot, and raising it above the surrounding level by this same means. In fact, it would seem as if many of our cemeteries - nay, all of them - had been selected by the iron merchant as well as by the stone-cutter as the very best possible market wherein to display specimens of their handicraft.

The universal desire to mark the sepulture of the dead by the erection of monuments has prevailed among all nations from the most remote antiquity, these monuments varying in design, from the choicest sculpture which distinguished the tombs of the Greeks and Romans to the simple cairn or pile of stones which designated the resting-place of the barbarian. In the modern cemetery of our own land, where every one has the means more or less ample of gratifying his own tastes, we should expect to find - as we do - monuments of every design that the ingenuity of man could devise, some of them appropriate, but many, very many, wanting in the very first principles of propriety. Of this, while we may lament, we can not complain, for in such a matter it would be impossible to carry out any restrictions beyond those of a general character.