« 上一頁繼續 »
taining artificial flowers and tied with faded ribands, stand at the foot of some of these crosses. Elsewhere we saw pitchers with bouquets of natural flowers, the water dried up and the blossoms withered. One enclosure surrounding a monument was adorned with cypress, arbour vitæ, roses, and honeysuckles, and this was a relief to the eye while the feet were treading the hot dusty walks or the parched grass. The first principle of a cemetery was here violated, necessarily, no doubt, but by a sad necessity. The first principle of a cemetery-beyond the obligation of its being made safe and wholesome-is that it should be cheerful in its aspect. For the sake of the dead, this is right, that their memories may be as welcome as possible to survivers ; for the sake of the living, that superstition may be obviated, and that death may be brought into the most familiar connexion with life that the religion and philosophy of the times will allow; that, at least, no hinderance to this inay be interposed by the outward preparations for death.
It has sometimes occurred to me to wonder where a cer. tain class of persons find sympathy in their feelings about their dead friends, or whether they have to do without it; those, and they are not a few, who are entirely doubtful about a lise beyond the grave. There are not a few Christians, I believe, and certainly many who are Christians only nominally or not at all, who are not satisfied about whether conscious life ends here, or under what circumstances it will be continued or resumed if this life be but a stage of being. Such persons can meet nothing congenial with their emotions in any cemeteries that I know of ; and they must feel doubly desolate when, as bereaved mourners, they walk through rows of inscriptions which all breathe more than hope, certainty of renewed life and intercourse, under circumstances which seem to be reckoned on as ascertained. How strange it must be to such to read of the trumpet and the clouds, of the tribunal and the choirs of the saints, as literal realities, expected like the next morning's sunrise, and awaited as undoubtedly as the stroke of death, while they are sending their thoughts abroad meekly, anxiously, imploringly, through the universe, and diving into the deepest abysses of their own spirits to find a resting place for their timid hopes ! For such there is little sympathy anywhere, and something very like inockery in the language of the tombs.
Evidences of the two extremes of feeling on this matter are found, I am told, in Père la Chaise and Mount Auburn. In Pere la Chaise every expression of mourning is to be found ; few or none of hope. The desolate mother, the bereaved brother, the forlorn child, the despairing husband, all breathe their complaint, with more or less of selfishness or of tenderness; but there is no light from the future shining over the place. In Mount Auburn, on the contrary, there is nothing else. A visiter from a strange planet, ignorant of mortality, would take this place to be the sanctum of creation. Every step teems with the promise of life. Beauty is about to “spring up out of ashes, and life out of the dust;' and Humanity seems to be waiting, with acclamations ready on its lips, for the new birth. That there has been any past is little more than matter of inference. All the woes of bereavement are veiled; all sighs hushed ; all tears hidden or wiped away, and thanksgiving and joy abound instead. Between these two states of mind, the seriously, innocently doubtful stand alone and most desolate. They are speechless, for none question them or care to know their solicitudes, for they are an unsupposed class in a Christian community. In no consecrated ground are there tombs bearing an expression of doubt or fear; yet, with the mind's eye, I always see such while treading the paths of a cemetery. It cannot be but that, among the diversity of minds diversely trained, there must be some less easily satisfied than others, some skeptical in proportion to the intensity of their affection for the departed; and it is to these that the sympathies of the happier should be given. If the rich should be mindful of the poor, if those who are ashore during the storm cannot but look out for the teinpestdriven bark, those who part with their friends in sure and certain hope of a joyful resurrection should bear in mind with all tenderness such as have to part with their friends without the solace of that hope. Not that anything can be done for them beyond recognising them as fellow-mourners laid under a deeper burden of grief, and needing, therefore, a larger liberty of expression than themselves.
While rambling about in the cheerful glades of Mount Auburn, such thoughts occurred to me, as I hope they often do to others. To us, in whom education, reason, the prophecies of natural religion, and the promises of the gospel unite their influence to generate a perfect belief in a life be yond the grave, it is scarcely possible to conceive how these
scenes must appear to one whose prospects are different or doubtful. But it is good for our human sympathies and for our mutual reverence to make the attempt. The conclusion would probably be, with others as with me, that the consecration of this place to hope and triumph would make it too sad for the hesitating and hopeless ; and that such probably turn away from the spot where all is too bright and lovely for the desolate of heart.
It is, indeed, a place for the living to delight in while watching the sleep of the dead. There is no gloom about it to any but those who look abroad through the gloom of their own minds. It is a mazy paradise, where every forest tree of the western continent grows, and every bird to which the climate is congenial builds its nest. The birds seem to have found out that within that enclosure they are to be unmolested, and there is a twittering in every tree. The clearings are few : the woods preside, with here and there a sunny hillside and a shady dell, and a gleaming pond catching the eye at intervals. From the summit of the eminence, the view abroad over the woods is wonderfully beautiful : of the city of Boston on an opposite hill; of Fresh Pond on another side ; of the University; and of the green country, studded with dwellings, and terminating in cloudlike uplands. Every aspect of busy life seems to be brought full into the view of the gazer from this “ place of sleep.” If he looks immediately below him, he sees here and there a monument shining among the trees; and he can hide him. self in a moment in the shades where, as the breeze passes, the birch twinkles among the solemn pines.
As the burial lots have to be described with reference to different portions of the enclosure, every hill, every avenue, footpath, and dell must have its name. This naming might bare spoiled all if it had been mismanaged ; but this has been skilfully guarded against. The avenues and hills are called after forest trees, the footpaths after shrubs and flowers. Beech, Cypress, and Poplar Avenues ; Hazel, Vine, and Jasmine Paths; and so on. The monuments must, of course, be ordered by the taste of the holders of lots; and the consequence necessarily is occasional incongruity.
This place arose out of a happy union between two societies; one which had long wished to provide a private rural cemetery, and the Massachusetts Horticultural Society.
It occurred to some of the members of the latter that the objects of the two associations might be advantageously united ; and upon a tract of ground, fit for the purpose, being offered, no time was lost in carrying the scheme into execution. This was seven years ago. The tract of ground lay at a distance of four miles from Boston, and consisted of seventy-two acres. The protection of the legislature was secured at its session in 1831. A large number of lots was immediately taken, and a day was fixed for the consecration of the ground by a public religious service. The day fixed was the 24th of September, 1831. The weather was delicious, and the day one which will never be forgotten by those who assisted in its services.
A deep dell, almost circular, was fitted up with seats. The speakers stood at the bottom, with a pine wood behind them, and at their feet a pond shining with water-lilies. From the form of the place, every tone of the speakers' voices was heard by the topmost row of persons on the verge of the deil. After instrumental music by the Boston band, there was a prayer by a venerable professor of the University; and a hymn, written for the occasion, was sung by all the persons present to the tune of Old Hundred. Judge Story delivered the address ; a beautiful composition, full of the feelings natural to one who was about to deposite here a rich heart's treasure, and who remembered that here he and all who heard him were probably to lie down to their rest.
Judge Story had made me promise at Washington that I would not go to Mount Auburn till he could take me there. The time arrived the next August, and early on a warm afternoon we set forth. Several carriages were at the gate, for the place is a favourite resort on other accounts besides its being "a place of sleep.” The gate at the entrance is of imitation granite, for which it is to be hoped the real stone will soon be substituted. The structure is Egyptian, as are the emblems, the winged globe, the serpent, and the lotus. It is rather strange that the inscription should be taken from the Old Testament, even from Ecclesiastes : “ Then shall the dust return to the earth, and the spirit unto God who gave it."
One of the most conspicuous monuments is Spurzheim's, visible almost immediately on entering the place. It is a fac-simile of Scipio's tomb! I could not understand its
idea, nor did I meet with any one else who did ; nor is it easy to conceive how anything appropriate to Scipio could suit Spurzheim. I was informed that the fact was that the monument happened to arrive just at the time of Spurzheim's death ; and that the committee appointed to dispense his funeral honours saved themselves trouble by purchasing the marble. It stands well, on a green mound, on the lefthand side of the avenue. Mrs. Hannah Adams, the historian of the Jews, had the honour of being the first to be interred in this cemetery. The white obelisk is frequent, and looks well in a place so thickly wooded. Under one of these lie five children of Judge Story, removed from another place of sepulture to this beautiful spot. The Connecticut freestone is much in use, and its reddish hue harmonizes well with what surrounds it. It is particularly fit for the Egyptian fronts to vaults hollowed out of the hillsides. The objection to it for tombs which have to receive an inscription is that it will bear none but gold letters. The granite fronts of Egyptian tombs look well. I thought them the most beautiful burial-places I ever saw, the grass growing thick on the hillside above and on either band; and, in some instances, a little blooming garden smiling in front. I saw many lots of ground well tended, and wearing the air of luxuriant gardens ; some surrounded with palings, some with posts and chains, and others with hedges of cypress or belts of acacia. Many separate graves were studded with flowers, the narrowest and gayest of gardens. Of all the inscriptions, the one which pleased me most was on a monument erected by an only surviving sister to her brother : “Jesus saith unto her, Thy brother shall rise again.'
While writing I have been struck by the strong resemblance between the retrospect of travel from home and that of life from the cemetery. In each contemplation the hosts of human beings who have been seen acting, suffering, and meditating, rise up before the mind's eye as in a kind of judgment scene, except that they rise up, not to be judged, but to instruct. The profit of travel is realized at home in the solitude of the study, and the true meaning of human life (as far as its meaning can become known to us here) is best made out from its place of rest.
While busy among strangers, one is carried away by sympathy and by prejudice from the point whence foreign society can be viewed with anything like impartiality; one cannot but hear the mutual