« ՆախորդըՇարունակել »
nearly every second of time, some one, somewhere, dies. The only alternative lest therefore to survivors is, whether the remains of the departed shall be buried with decency, reverence, and edifying rites, or hurried out of sight in brutal neglect and contempt. It is not strange, then, that a subject thus commended to human regard by feeling, duty, and necessity, should always have been regarded as one of personal concern. Such is the fact. The earliest memorials of the earliest times illustrate this.* Indeed, it is a singular circumstance, and one not very creditable to modern times, that this sentiment of reverence towards the dead was most fully and elaborately manifested in the most remote periods, and in the rudest forms of society, while it has almost uniformly decayed with the progress of civilization. Egypt, that land of wonders, is even now peculiarly distinguished for its stupendous monuments, erected, time out of mind, in honor of the dead ; and its soil, around the site of its great cities, is almost literally sown with the carefully preserved remains of millions of bodies. Petra, the Edom of prophecy, whose existence was unknown for a thousand years, presented, when discovered, on every side, tombs and mausoleums of surpassing splendor. It was evidently the Necropolis of a nation. Etruria, which flourished before Romulus was born, has recently become a region of enlightened curiosity, t on account of iis sepulchral vases and monuments. The funereal structures of ancient Greece and Rome are yet consulted as models, while the ruder tumuli, which are scattered over the face of the whole earth, show the prevalence of the sentiment in which both originated. All literature of former times, both sacred and classical, abounds with allusions to the pious care that was devoted to the remains of the dead. This subject, moreover, has attracted a large share of the attention of learned men, f and their researches have brought to light all the
* The horrid charnel-pits in Naples, into which the undistinguished
See "Johannis Meursii de Funere Liber singularis, in quo Græci et Ro-
different usages and ceremonies, which, from time to time, have prevailed in the burial of the dead.
We had prepared ourselves to offer some remarks on each of the topics here suggested, but find that we have not room, perhaps not an appropriate place in the pages of our journal, for those details into which such inquiries necessarily lead, and without which they are of little use. We shall confine ourselves to those more popular views of the subject, that may seem best adapted to reward the attention of the general reader.
A new interest has recently been awakened in this country in regard to this subject, and it has taken a direction, — that of the establishment of Rural Cemeteries, — which we have been happy to notice, and shall feel ourselves privileged to promote. The first movement of the kind in Massachusetts was made in Boston, in the year 1825; but, as the committee then appointed in furtherance of the design were unable to find a suitable lot of ground, they never made a report, and the project fell through. In 1830, the subject was revived, and Mount Auburn, a spot of surpassing loveliness and fitness for the object, having been secured, the project was at once adopted by the public with especial favor, and carried forward with energy to its completion.
The consecration of Mount Auburn Cemetery was solemnized on Saturday, September 26th, 1931, by sacred music, prayers, and an address by Mr. Justice Story. The services were performed in a glen, which seemed to be scooped out by the hand of nature for the express purpose. Thousands of sympathizing auditors were arranged around its circular acclivities ; the day was one of almost unearthly serenity, and peculiarly fraught with those pensive and religious influences and associations, which mark the early approaches of autumn in this climate ; and the whole scene and service left on the mind an unbroken impression of devout solemnity and pathos.
The successful establishment of Mount Auburn was probably the immediate occasion of the foundation of many others, since more rural cemeteries have started into existence in this country within the last ten years, than during two centuries before. * They have been established at Worcester and Salem, in Massachusetts ; at Baltimore ; at New York; at Philadelphia ; and there is a small but
by John Kirchman, entitled "De Funeribus Romanorum Libri Quatuor, cum Appendice, nitidissimis figuris illustrati - Lug. Batav. 1672,” contains, in a small compass, and in quite readable Latin, a vast amount of learning, and the most satisfactory information on the subject upon which it treats. This last treatise we have seen in a separate form; the three first mentioned are to be found in the eleventh volume of the Thesaurus of Gronovius.
beautiful one belonging to one of the religious societies at Dunstable, and another upon a larger scale at Portsmouth, in New Hampshire. The same just taste has been manifested in many of the smaller towns throughout the country, in the renovation and embellishment of the grave-yards which were already in existence, while a better propriety is now deemed necessary in the location of new ones.
The addresses, whose titles we have placed at the head of this paper, were delivered at the consecration of the several cemeteries to which they refer. It is impossible, within our prescribed limits, to speak of them with that particularity to which their merit, severally, entitles them. It must suffice to say, that they are worthy of the occasions which called them forth, We subjoin a few extracts from the descriptive parts of these discourses, both in justice to the writers, and that we may place permanently on our pages such true and beautiful descriptions of the spots to which they refer.
From the first of these addresses, ihat delivered at Mount Auburn, we select the following ;
“ And what spot can be more appropriate than this, for such a purpose? Nature seems to point it out, with significant energy, as the favorite retirement for the dead. There are around us all the varied features of her beauty and grandeur,the forest-crowned height ; the abrupt acclivity ; the sheltered valley ; the deep glen ; the grassy glade ; and the silent grove. Here are the lofty oak, the heech, that'wreathes its old fantastic roots so high'; the rustling pine and the drooping
the tree, that sheds its pale leaves with every autumn, a fit emblem of our own transitory bloom ; and the ever
* The Cemetery or Burial Ground in New Haven was formed many years ago, and doubtless has had no small effect in preparing the public mind for similar enterprises. The published thoughts of the late President Dwight on this subject are very worthy of the theme and the author.
1 Since writing the above we have learned, that a lovely and picturesque spot has been set apart for a Cemetery at Springfield, in Massachusetts, and that the work of laying it out, and embellishing it have fallen into the proper hands
A Cemetery in the city of Lowell has also been set apart and consecrated.
* This address has also been published entire, in the volume entitled Cemetery Interment."
green, with its perennial shoots, instructing us, that the wintry blast of death kills not the buds of virtue.' Here is the thick shrubbery, to tect and conceal the new-made
grave ; and there is the wild-flower, creeping along the narrow path, and planting its seeds in the upturned earth. All around us there breathes a solemn calm, as if we were in the bosom of a wilderness, broken only by the breeze, as it murmurs through the tops of the forest, or by the notes of the warbler, pouring forth his matin or his evening song.
“Ascend but a few steps, and what a change of scenery to surprise and delight us. We e seem, as it were in an instant, to pass from the confines of death, to the bright and balmy regions of life. Below us flows the winding Charles, with its rippling current, like the stream of time hastening to the ocean of eternity. In the distance, the city, — at once the object of our admiration and our love,-rears its proud eminences, its glittering spires, its lofty towers, its graceful mansions, its curling smoke, its crowded haunts of business and pleasure, which speak to the eye, and yet leave a noiseless loneliness on the ear. Again we turn, and the walls of our venerable University rise before us, with many a recollection of happy days passed there in the interchange of study and friendship, and many a grateful thought of the affluence of its learning, which has adorned and nourished the literature of our country. Again we turn, and the cultivated farm, the neat cottage, the village church, the sparkling lake, the rich valley, and the distant hills, are before us, through opening vistas ; and we breathe amidst the fresh and varied labors of man.”
The success which has attended this enterprise is fully answerable to its auspicious commencement.* The whole extent of the ground has been enclosed, and commodiously and beautifully intersected by avenues and foot-paths. The gate is a chaste and beautiful specimen of Egyptian architecture.
It is modelled, as we learn, after one of the principal gates of Thebes, in which the sloping wall, so common in Egyptian architecture, is avoided in the side piers. The loginess of the lower part of the entablature, and the boldness and breadth of the curve, give to this specimen a decided superiority over most modern imitations of Egyptian archi
pp. 16 – 18.
The Cemetery comprises 1104 acres. Nearly all the avenues and paths that will be required are now made. The whole cost of the Cemetery, including improvements up to the close of the year 1840, is $37,066-20. The amount of lots sold and appropriated by votes of the Trustees to the same date, is 751 ; of these 172 contain tombs, and 149 have monuments. The amount of sales, to the above date, is $60,842:01 ; and the funds invested and on hand, amounted to $19,477-32.
tecture. * This style is wanting, indeed, in those religious associations, which peculiarly recommend the Gothic for monumental purposes; but still it is remarkable for its originality of conception, massiveness, simplicity, and boldness of outline; and, derived as it is from a land which is emphatically a monumental one, and one that may be regarded now as little else than one vast cemetery, it cannot be considered as out of keeping with associations of a place of burial. In regard to the design before us, it is in itself so beautiful, and has met with such general approval, that we conceive there can be no longer any reason for delaying to perpetuate it in the proper material.
From the address delivered at Worcester, by Governor Lincoln, we select the following brief but graphical remarks.
Standing here in your midst, with all the preparation of the place in full view before us, it needs not, that I point you to its picturesque beauties, or mark how art has improved, or taste embellished, the loveliness of nature. The broad avenue and the winding path are before you. The open plain, the gently rising hill, the easy sloping declivity, the natural rivulet, and the miniature lake of artificial creation, are among the diversified objects of this attractive spot. Here are the deep shade of the evergreen tree, and the pure cold water of the perennial fountain, to soothe and refresh the weary and the disconsolate. Even solitude's self may here find retirement, and melancholy her chosen food for meditation. In the capaciousness and diversity of the grounds, and the order of their arrangement, the requirement of every taste will be satisfied. The head of the humble may be laid low in the glen, and the green moss gather upon the dampness of the gravestone, or the ashes of the world's favored ones be mingled with the dust of the hillock, and the sculptured marble upon the mound, proclaim the end of earth's greatness. Sympathies and feelings will select the spot where congenial associations cluster, and that spot will become sacred to affection and the
* We have heard this gateway favorably contrasted with that recently erected at the “ Granary” burial-place in Boston. In the latter, “ the entablature is said to be altogether too low; the curve too nearly circular for beauty; and above all, the length of the whole top, where it joins the posts, two or three inches too short." We do not pretend to decide such questions as these, but, as every thing connected with the public architecture of our cities is a public interest, we submit the above criticism to the consideration of those qualified to decide. But, whatever may be thought of the details of this re-construction of the wall of the “ Old Granary" burial-place, there can be but one opinion respecting the pious care that has been recently bestowed upon it by the public authorities, and the good taste, with the above exception, in which it has been manifested.