Tuesday, 15 May 2012

An early demise

Some grave markers have a meaning implicit in the structure chosen for them. A broken column like this often means a life cut short, or possibly the death of a significant member of the household or an organisation. This column is a monument to William Napier a solicitor who died in 1842 at the age of 33. It has a typically effusive inscription for a Victorian monument some of which I have transcribed below.
'Stranger, dost ask what noble heraldry,
What rank the subject of this tablet bore?
Pure faith, meek hope, and noiseless charity,
These were the arms his sacred scrutcion wore'
There is much more in the same vein praising the amount he achieved in his short life and finishing with
'and still his virtues shed a sweet perfume,
of grace divine around his early tomb'
It is a striking monument still, over 100 years later, of a man clearly much admired and missed by his contempories.
Taking part in Taphophile Tragics


  1. The broken column has impact! Somehow it tells a story in both its Grecian grace and broken effect! A beautiful find!

  2. So that is what the broken column stands for! That is a lovely and uplifting post.

  3. I love discovering old monuments to long dead people that still resonate after all the years.

  4. Wow, that is some inscription. A bit of trumpet tooting going on. Great picture.

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  5. Very interesting post. I had no idea that those short columns actually had some kind of meaning. And the poem is nice too. I wonder if modern graves will have the same effect on people in a hundred years.

  6. That broken column really says it all!

  7. I learned the symbolism of the broken column this weekend. I'm so glad you had an interesting illustration of it to share.

  8. Must admit I've never thought about the meaning of the broken column.

  9. wow, i wouldnt have thought that the broken column was intentional, thanks for enlightening me!!
    and the text is beautiful indeed...

  10. Ah .. yes, I am learning the symbolism, too, and have seen quite a few broken columns and trees. I like the rhyming of perfume and tomb. Otherwise, a florid poem like that to my modern ears, just sounds insincere.

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