Please send your praise and blame to someone else. Life's too short before we lie, ashes or mouldering carcass, forgotten by most, if not all. On the other hand, if I can be of the least assistance to you in this interesting and worty project, I'll do my best.
(I meant worthy, but some typos are just too hilarious to correct!)
Reach me at Yahoo! email, username AdaOlds.
Here's wishing you pleasant weather in a beautifully-maintained and reasonably cooperative cemetery! If you are weird like me, and if you are able, please also visit the ones which are grown up with weeds, briars and bushes, once in while, and take your tools along, and some garbage bags. There are too many cemeteries which don't get perpetual care, and are thus not getting recorded. If the bags of refuse won't fit into your energy-efficient 'green' vehicle, I applaud your choice. Just set the sacks of refuse as close to a road as you are able drag them. Someone will recognize your effort and haul it off in their little-used show-truck or their battered old friend, I guarantee.
"Before my face the picture hangs,
That daily should put me in mind
Of those cold qualms and bitter pangs
That shortly I am like to find:
But yet, alas, full little I
Do think hereon that I must die.
''I often look upon a face
Most ugly, grisly, bare, and thin;
I often view the hollow place
Where eyes and nose had sometimes bin;
I see the bones across that lie,
Yet little think that I must die.
''I read the label underneath,
That telleth me whereto I must;
I see the sentence eke that saith
'Remember, man, that thou art dust!'
But yet, alas, but seldom I
Do think indeed that I must die.
''Continually at my bed's head
A hearse doth hang, which doth me tell
That I ere morning may be dead,
Though now I feel myself full well:
But yet, alas, for all this, I
Have little mind that I must die.
"The gown which I do use to wear,
The knife wherewith I cut my meat,
And eke that old and ancient chair
Which is my only usual seat,
All these do tell me I must die,
And yet my life amend not I.
"My ancestors are turned to clay,
And many of my mates are gone;
My youngers daily drop away,
And can I think to 'scape alone?No, no, I know that I must die,
And yet my life amend not I.
"Not Solomon, for all his wit,
Nor Samson, though he were so strong,
No king nor person ever yet
Could 'scape, but death laid him along:
Wherefore I know that I must die,
And yet my life amend not I.'
'Though all the East did quake to hear
Of Alexander's dreadful name,
And all the West did likewise fear
To hear of Julius Caesar's fame,
Yet both by death in dust now lie:
Who then can 'scape, but he must die?
''If none can 'scape death's dreadful dart,
If rich and poor his beck obey,
If strong, if wise, if all do smart,
Then I to 'scape shall have no way.
Oh! grant me grace, O God, that I
My life may mend, sith I must die.''
[attributed to 'Saint' Robert Southwell, though there seems to be some controversy about whether it was actually the work of a compatriot. I know nothing of Southwell. I like the poem, and since it has long centuries been in public domain, I share it with you here.]
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