Tag: Poems

  • Cargo Monument, Union Dale Cemetery

    This is one of the metal monuments in the Union Dale Cemetery, and Father Pitt would like to know more about them. They imitate the forms of stone in metal; are they cast replacements for original stone monuments? —An update: According to a Smithsonian article, these are made of zinc, or “white bronze” as the marketers called it, which was popular as a cheap alternative to stone or bronze for a while at the end of the nineteenth century.

    Thomas H. Cargo, a Civil War veteran, has a stanza from a favorite hymn—“Christ Will Gather In His Own,” by Nikolaus L. von Zinzendorf, translated by Catherine Winkworth—as his epitaph. The words may have been written from memory, since they differ slightly from the published version:

    Had He asked us, well we know
    We should cry, “O spare this blow!”
    Yes, with streaming tears should pray,
    “Lord, we love him, let him stay.”

    The last two lines are not from the hymn, but are a couplet that, in various versions, often appears on tombstones.

    The three young sons remembered on this side have as their epitaph a poem that appears on many children’s tombstones; it was probably once composed by some known poet, but Father Pitt has been unable to find it anywhere except as an epitaph. The exact words often vary slightly.

  • John Mendel Monument, Union Dale Cemetery

    An ordinary stone, but with an interesting German epitaph. Unfortunately the last two lines are buried in the ground, and Father Pitt was unwilling to dig for them.

    Ja du hast jetzt überstanden
    Manche schwere harte Stunden,
    Manchen Tag und manche Nacht
    Hast du in Schmerzen zugebracht.

    Standhaft hast du sie ertragen
    Deine Schmerzen, deine Plagen…

    Old Pa Pitt’s German is sketchy at best, but this is how he translates it:

    Yes, now thou hast withstood
    many heavy, hard hours;
    many a day and many a night
    hast thou spent in pain.

    Steadfast hast thou borne it,
    thy pain, thy plague…

    This appears to be one of those circulating funerary poems of the nineteenth century that were like Facebook memes today: they keep showing up on monuments in slightly different wording, and nobody knows where they came from.