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LLANSADDON CHURCH YARD.
“ How beautiful are many of our country church yards, filled with humble graves, and covered with wild flowers. This is the case particularly in Wales.
Some country burying grounds have a character of seclusion and peace, that almost reconciles us to the resignation of life. The mind of man must surely be in a state of aberration, when it is busying itself among the tumults of active life, and toiling amid boisterous crowds in dissatisfaction, or it would not contemplate tranquillity with such pleasure, even the tranquillity of the grave.”
Church Yard Wanderings.
Death which wears so revolting an appearance amid the gaudy splendors of the metropolis, seems to lose his terrors in the peaceful retirement of the country. If in the one place he assume the guise of a spectre, whose influence chills the soul of youth and merriment; in the other, he appears as a sweet vision whispering the words of happiness and peace.
In the pompous cemeteries of London, we rear
columns to his honor, which are seen, admired, and forgotten. In the country we build him a temple in the human heart, where memory officiates as high priest, and offers up the incense of affection. The church yard of Llansaddon, amid whose shades these desultory reflections are written, is a fine practical homily on death. It stands in the bosom of one of the most peaceful landscapes I have ever witnessed, and sleeps in the sweet sunshine of heaven, like the infant God beneath the smiles of the Madona. Its situation speaks so eloquently of eternal repose; the breeze sighs so softly amid its grove of elms, as if fearing to awake the slumber of the departed, that it would alınost woo you to your long home.
“If I wish,” says Addison,“to indulge melancholy, or to be made wiser and better than I am, I wander among
the tombs of Westminster Abbey.” A walk through Llansaddon church yard will produce the same beneficial result. It has not, indeed, the external trappings of gloomy splendor-no storied arches, no emblazoned cornices, impose their grandeur on the eye; but the deep blue vault of heaven, the morning sunshine, and the mellow twilight lend it an interest ineffably magnificent. amid the choirs of the Abbey, appeals in solemn music to the heart; the summer breeze amid yon
If the organ
grove of elms awakes a deeper strain-an Hosanna to eternity, hymned upon the threshold of the grave.
It is the sight of a church yard that inspires us with the most fitting ideas of mortality. Here we read the maxims of experience, and learn to set a proper value upon existence. Every worldly emotion—every headlong impulse that sways us in the court, the camp, or the dungeon, dies
within the hallowed precincts of the sepulchre. A sentiment pervades it: it is haunted by the guardian genius of the dead. No guilty affection can live within its charmed circle, for with all its foibles, human nature is generous, and makes the grave a mausoleum of revenge, wherein every harsher feeling is entombed.
But the gloomy superstitions that weaken our national character, have prevented the full exercise of these cheerful and charitable sensibilities. The church yard is now considered as the resort of maligo influences, and at the “witching hour of night,” is rarely passed without emotion. Surely this is a mistake that verges on impiety. Is the grave, the only secure abode of gentleness and peace, to be selected as the scene of horror? Is the pleasing remembrance of our buried associates to be connected with a sentiment of apprehension :
Are we no longer to think of them as friends, but to mistrust them as enemies? If so, farewell at once, to all those generous sympathies that connect man with angels, and redeem the baser qualities of his nature.
For my own part, contemplative from habit, and from choice, I can feel no pleasure in society, equal to what I derive from rambling through a church yard. Here I lose my worldly identity, and stand upon the isthmus between two seas, the past and the future. Seated upon some time-worn sepulchre, I enter into the soul-stirring solemnity of the scene. The landscape of my intellect is enlarged by meditation, the winds of heaven blow over it, and I hear the wing of cherubim rustling amid its inmost recesses. Memory rushes like a torrent upon my
mind. Hopes blighted— friends buried— feelings chilled or forgotten, all--all rise to view arrayed in the same sweet freshness which they wore in the morning of existence. Such is the case at present.
The shadowy forms of those whom I have loved, now flit before my mind, like the spectral race of Banquo before Macbeth. In their presence I live over again the days that are past, and only when I cast my eyes upon the grey flag-stone, do I feel that they
gone How beautiful is the spot where I am seated,
how still the landscape that sleeps beneath me. There is hardly breath enough to stir yon grove of elms, for even the rank nettle stands unshaken on the sod. That small mound of earth which chequers the western quarter of the church yard, records the decease of some lowly village maiden. What was her simple tale? she died perhaps of a broken heart, that malady of young and susceptible females. I can image her gradual decay. It was peaceful as the death of summer, noiseless as the expiring whisper of the breeze. She stole from the world as from a revel, and bade good night to her friends in the hopes of a happier morrow. The stages of her decline were tardydejected spirits, timid shyness, tenderness almost infantine, a fading eye, and a sunken cheek, all conspired to snap the slender ligaments which bound her to the world. At length her cares are ended :
“ After life's fitful fever she sleeps well.
Sorrow hath done her worst-nothing
yon westernmost corner of the grove, I perceive another little tomb, erected to the memory of a