Monday, March 30, 2009

Two Graves

Most people do not spend a lot of time hanging around graveyards, and probably have a bad opinion of those who do - which is really not fair, as graveyards can be fascinating. The inscriptions on graves tell us something about the religious beliefs of the population, and in Wales the language can tell us when a particular church or chapel moved from using Welsh in its services to using English. This morning, on my bike, I rode out to the small village of Talygarn. Talygarn is really an estate village associated with the mansion of Taylgarn manor. The parish Church of St. Anne started life as a proprietary chapel associated with the manor house, with the present church having replaced the orginal chapel, which now stands in ruins close to the present church building.

In the churchyard I found two gravestones with rather different inscriptions. The first was this one:

The inscription reads:

In Memory of Thomas, son of John and Sarah Evans of this Parish, who died Nov 16 1873, aged 18 years.

"My Jesus Beckons me away,
The glorious signal's given;
My blood bought spirit leaves its clay,
Friends follow me to heaven."

The second grave is this one:

It reads:

Henry Heke, Llanerch Farm, Pontyclun, who died March 25th 1907 aged 79 Years

"A sudden chance I in a moment fell,

I had not time to bid my friends farewell,
Think this not strange - Death happens unto all;
To day we live, tomorrow we may fall."

While both inscriptions follow a similar pattern, even with poetry, the nature of the poems are quite different. One is decidedly Christian, the other is not. I leave the consclusion to the reader.

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