Shake at Death’s Alarms

 

Greenbush Cemetery, Lafayette, Indiana

The epitaph on the ornamented-top tablet of Margaret Shaw was meant to comfort.  The epitaph tells those who walk by that they need not fear death.   Death is merely the call to go Home, and when one gets there, God will be waiting with open arms to welcome them.

What seems slightly amiss is that the epitaph is on the grave of a 29-year old woman, who is described as a friend in the epitaph but given the title of consort.  Consort is a synonym for wife, most often used to describe the spouse of royalty but also used for those of a more lowly station.  It is not incongruous to think of one’s wife as a friend, of course, but in this context it sounds like the epitaph is talking about a relationship more distant than that of a wife and lover.

IN

Memory of

MARGARET

consort of

JAMES SHAW,

who departed this life,

Sept. 26, AD 1840, aged 29

Years 5 mo. & 26 days.

“Why should we mourn departed friends

Or shake at death’s alarms?

“Tis but the voice that God hath sent

To call them to his arms.”

 

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