It is not very often that I read the published accounts of what is done by
that active body known as the Cockermouth Rural Sanitary Authority. But
whenever I do look over such reports, I am sure to find that either Mr. Phillip
WEDGWOOD or Mr. CAMPBELL, of Flimby, have been moving or seconding something.
Now I don’t write this in any fault finding spirit, because I do not have one
bit of fault to find with these two gentlemen and their motions. I want rather
to give them a word of praise for their activity, and for the careful
attention which they evidently pay to their public duties.
For one thing I must say, and that is, that it is generally something
sensible and practical that is moved or seconded by Mr. CAMPBELL or Mr. Phillip
WEDGWOOD. On Monday these gentlemen took in hand to try and clear the way for a
little additional burial ground being secured at Flimby, and I believe such a
motion as they made was not made too soon. The allotted space at Flimby for
those who “shuffle off this mortal coil” is rapidly filling up; for even at
Flimby the people die and are not, and it is the least that those who are
left can do to provide a little mother earth for the reception for those who are
I have rather a weakness for rambling in old churchyards and musing amongst
the tombs. No place in the great Babel which we boast of as our capital has
the same attraction for me as Westminster Abbey, where amongst the dust of
kings and men of worth and valour may one wonder all day long in silent reverie.
Westminster Abbey! Yes, those grey stones and those sculptured monuments
and granite slabs in the floors, preach sermons more eloquent and convincing
than Dean STANLEY or Canon FARRAR or Cannon LIDDON ever uttered. But, after
all, despite the honour and antiquity and thrilling associations of that place
for the departed.
I would rather be laid in some green fresh country graveyard, under the
shadow of a spreading beech, where the birds come and sing and the butterfly
roams by and the bee passes; where the bright sunshine falls upon the grass and
one pale moon and glittering stars look down in the night; where Heaven’s dew
rests and the perfume of flowers hovers; where the bonny snowdrop peeps out
in the infant year, and the daisy lifts it’s head to the sky, and the winds
sweep by with mournful sound. Ay, ay reader: we shall all rest after a little
But above all things I cannot bear to see a churchyard look negelected,
dirty and unkept. Whilst I care little for marble monuments and flattering (often
lying) inscriptions, I do like to see places where the dead lie buried, kept
in decent order. Travellers say that in the East cemeteries are badly kept,
and are generally even unenclosed, so that anyone can walk in, and dogs and
various kinds of wild beasts may prowl about at night, making hideous howling.
I suppose the people in the East neglect their cemeteries on the principle
that those who are out don’t want to get in, and those who are in cannot get
out. But give me a clean, well kept and well arranged burial ground, bright
and pleasant and attractive looking, with trees and shrubs and evergreens and
flowers - always flowers.
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