Page images
PDF
EPUB

love of virtue. Religion shall find here a temple in every grove, and prayer an altar on every mound. The throng of the idle multitude shall not obtrude within these walks, nor the din of the world's cares disturb the quiet of these shades, nor the footsteps of business cross the pathway to the tomb, nor the swift heel of pleasure press the bosom of the fresh tenant of the grave." pp. 20, 21.

From the address of Mr. Kennedy, at the consecration of "Green Mount Cemetery," in Baltimore, Maryland, we extract the following beautiful and characteristic passage.

[ocr errors]

"I know not where the eye may find more pleasing landscapes than those which surround us. Here within our enclosures, how aptly do these sylvan embellishments harmonize with the designs of the place! this venerable grove of ancient forest; this lawn shaded with choicest trees; that green meadow, where the brook creeps through the tangled thicket begemmed with wild flowers; these embowered alleys and pathways hidden in shrubbery, and that grassy knoll studded with evergreens and sloping to the cool dell where the fountain ripples over its pebbly bed, all hemmed in by yon natural screen of foliage which seems to separate this beautiful spot from the world, and devote it to the tranquil uses to which it is now to be applied. Beyond the gate that guards these precincts we gaze upon a landscape rife with all the charms that hill and dale, forest-clad heights, and cultivated fields may contribute to enchant the eye. That stream, which northward cleaves the woody hills, comes murmuring to our feet, rich with the reflections of the bright heaven and the green earth; thence leaping along between its granite banks, hastens towards the city whose varied outline of tower, steeple, and dome, gilded by the evening sun and softened by the haze, seems to sleep in perspective against the southern sky; and there, fitly stationed within our view, that noble column, destined to immortality from the name it bears, lifts high above the ancient oaks that crown the hill, the venerable form of the Father of his Country, a majestic image of the deathlessness of virtue.

[ocr errors]

"Though scarce an half hour's walk from yon living mart, where one hundred thousand human beings toil in their noisy crafts, here the deep quiet of the country reigns, broken by no ruder voice than such as marks the tranquillity of rural life, the voice of birds on branches warbling,'- the lowing of distant cattle, and the whetting of the mower's scythe. Yet tidings of the city not unpleasantly reach the ear in the faint murmur which at intervals is borne hither upon the freshening VOL. LIII.— NO. 113. 50

breeze, and more gratefully still in the deep tones of that cathedral bell,

Swinging slow, with sullen roar,'

as morning and noon, and richer at even tide, it flings its pealing melody across these shades with an invocation that might charm the lingering visiter to prayer." - pp. 30, 31.

Green Mount Cemetery is a part of the country-seat of the late Robert Oliver, of the city of Baltimore, the whole of which was purchased by an association of gentlemen in 1838, for sixty-five thousand dollars. Its local beauties and advantages are alluded to in the above extract. Unlike Mount Auburn, the trees are, for the most part, set regularly to form avenues. It is surrounded by a permanent wall of stone, and ornamented with a very beautiful gate-way, which is in the Gothic style of architecture, and by some persons is preferred to that of Mount Auburn. One provision deserves particular mention. After reserving out of the proceeds of the sale of lots $40,000, to be invested as a permanent fund for the preservation of the cemetery, all further proceeds are to be appropriated, in certain definite proportions, to the improvement and ornamenting of the cemetery, to the promotion of the cause of Temperance, Sunday Schools, a Seamen's Home, and an Apprentices' Library. Indeed the whole arrangement of the Cemetery seems to have been conceived and carried on in a spirit of wisdom and philanthropy that deserves all confidence and encouragement, and we are happy to learn that the success of the enterprise has surpassed all expectation.*

We close these extracts with one from the "Address at the Consecration of Harmony Grove Cemetery, in Salem (Mass.), June 14th, 1840, by D. A. White;" which is as true to nature and to fact, as it is high-toned and beautiful in the expression.

"The lovers of nature had long been familiar with this rural retreat, attracted not only by the beauty of its scenery, but by the early flowering plants, which abound here in great variety, and by the harmony of the feathered songsters, which have ever delighted to collect here and to enliven with their notes the beautiful grove which owes to them its name. This portion of our grounds is finely wooded, presenting also an in

According to the Report published in 1840, lots had been sold to the amount of more than $70,000.

teresting variety of trees in proportion to their number. To some of you it may have been a subject of regret, that the fields, which have been added to complete the necessary extent of grounds, are not equally adorned with trees. But, I think, we must all be satisfied with their present condition, when we consider the opportunity thus afforded for introducing improvements in the order and kind of trees and shrubs. We may confidently trust to the correct judgment and taste of our friends who superintend these improvements, that every thing in their power will be done to enrich and adorn these fields with appropriate plants and foliage. It is their intention. to introduce here, as far as may be practicable, every variety of American forest tree and shrubbery, forming a complete Arboretum Americanum, delightful to the lover of nature, and useful in a high degree to the student of natural history. This object alone, together with the beautiful promenades and healthful influences attending it, affording exhilarating exercise and the purest enjoyment, is of infinitely more value than its whole cost, to the people of our city and community who appreciate the gratifications of taste and the blessings of health. How incalculable then is the value of these grounds, when, in addition to all other advantages, we take into view the great and holy purpose to which they are now to be consecrated, and for which they are so admirably adapted.

"In casting our eyes around us, we are at once struck with the bold, yet beautifully variegated scenery of the place, presenting, at a single glance, every desirable structure and modification of grounds; high lands and low lands, the rocky cliff, the woody knoll, and the sheltered valley, with shady groves, and sunny slopes, and verdant plains, all graced by the gently winding stream beneath, which flows so softly by, that it seems to linger as if to enjoy the scene. Ascending the summit, our eyes open upon an extensive and richly diversified landscape, around the whole horizon, embracing delightful views of our neighbouring villages of Danvers and Beverly, and, in the wide range between them, cultivated hills and fruitful orchards, with handsome edifices interspersed, half buried in the foliage. In an opposite direction, rise before our view the spires and towers of our city of peace, with noble prospects of the harbour and of the ocean. Before quitting the beautifully varied landscape, our eyes will not fail to be arrested by that ancient garden of graves' on the opposite margin of the river, where sleep the forefathers of some of our worthy associates; - an object, always beheld from these groves with solemn emotions, and now to mingle its holiest influences with all that is hallowed here. But I would not undertake to describe to you, my friends,

66

what you behold in such vivid perfection, and what gives increased delight every time your eyes open upon the beautiful and picturesque scene. I would merely allude to some of the more prominent features and attributes of this fascinating retreat, which so preeminently qualify it for the uses of a rural cemetery. Its irregularities and varieties, affording a thousand interesting traits and local beauties, and always presenting something new in aspect or association, are among its leading charms. In such a region, the heart is never at a loss to find what is suited to inspire and fix its deep and tender sympathies, as well as to excite delighted emotions. Our local affections, like the vine, seek something to cling to and twine about in order to become strongly attached. Think you that the captive children of Judea would have mourned for their country with such undying love and tenderness, had not that country attached them by its varied and beautiful mountains, as well as its luxuriant vales? Think you that the Swiss patriot would cling to his native land with such ardor of soul, were its sublime mountainous scenery a level plain ?

'Dear is that hill which lifts him to the storm.'

So, too, the striking varieties of land and scenery presented by these lofty summits and lowly vales, with these rocks and trees, these shrubs and flowers, while they afford every desirable form and aspect of ground for sepulture, are, in the highest degree, adapted to attract the affections, and to produce strong and tender attachments." - pp. 21-24.

This cemetery is, and promises to continue, one of the most beautiful and interesting in this country. It comprises thirty-five acres of land, and the loveliness of its site and prospects is not overrated in the quotation we have here made. It is situated out of the centre of the population, and is yet sufficiently near to the city to be easy of access. In some respects, it is thought to possess peculiar advantages. It combines the two objects of a rural cemetery and a public burial ground, thus obviating an objection which has sometimes been expressed against rural cemeteries, that, as they are exclusively private establishments, and are elaborately cared for and ornamented, they contrast invidiously with the ordinary places of public burial. But by this union of the two, and by a combination of public and private effort, provision is made for those who wish to secure private lots for themselves and their families, and at the same time, also, for

those who may not, for any reason, either of choice or necessity, avail themselves of this privilege; while the great advantages of seclusion, rural beauty, inviolability of the relics of the dead, and an inalienable possession, are extended to all.

Another trait in the plan of this cemetery which deserves notice, is, that it contemplates the erection of a chapel or oratory within the enclosure, where the last religious rites of burial are to be performed. This, though common in similar establishments in Europe, has not, we believe, found a place in more than one in this country.* And yet, where the cemetery is sufficiently near to the centre of population to admit of the easy access of friends, a chapel for the performance of the religious services of burial, and sacred to them alone, seems to be all but indispensable. These services, as they are now conducted in private dwellings, are obviously liable to great objections. They render much bustle and irksome preparation necessary; they fill the house of mourning with strangers, many of whom are often drawn thither by no worthier motive than a vulgar curiosity; they disarrange the home of the mourner, and interrupt the usual habits of the family during the whole period that must intervene between death and the performance of the last rites, and, when these are paid, oblige the bereaved to return to a scene of confusion and disorder ;thus adding, in various ways, disagreeable circumstances and unnecessary discomfort to what is in itself necessarily most painful; —and all this at a time, too, when the heart, if ever, in the providence of God, sighs for quiet and seclusion. All these difficulties are obviously aggravated when the house, where death has been, is small and confined, and where, as is often the case in cities, two or three families dwell beneath the same roof. Many of these difficulties and annoyances may be obviated, indeed, by performing the last religious services in the church, as is the practice of some classes of Christians. But the arrangement is better still, when a suitable edifice is prepared, adapted in its style of architecture, and in its internal arrangements, for the reception and safe preservation of the remains of the dead, and where the last appropriate services may be duly paid. All this, as we have intimated, enters into the plan of the "Harmony Grove Cemetery." A beautiful natural mound, situated nearly in the

* Laurel Hill, near Philadelphia.

« ՆախորդըՇարունակել »