Page:Twice-Told Tales (1851) vol 2.djvu/220

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The weight of these heavy marbles, though unfelt by the dead corpse or the enfranchised soul, presses drearily upon the spirit of the survivor, and causes him to connect the idea of death with the dungeon-like imprisonment of the tomb, instead of with the freedom of the skies. Every grave-stone that you ever made is the visible symbol of a mistaken system. Our thoughts should soar upward with the butterfly—not linger with the exuviæ that confined him. In truth and reason, neither those whom we call the living, and still less the departed, have any thing to do with the grave.'

'I never heard any thing so heathenish!' said Mr. Wigglesworth, perplexed and displeased at sentiments which controverted all his notions and feelings, and implied the utter waste, and worse, of his whole life's labor,—would you forget your dead friends, the moment they are under the sod!'

'They are not under the sod,' I rejoined; 'then why should I mark the spot where there is no treasure hidden! Forget them? No! But to remember them aright, I would forget what they have cast off. And to gain the truer conception of Death, I would forget the Grave!'

But still the good old sculptor murmured, and stumbled, as it were, over the grave-stones amid which he had walked through life. Whether he were right or wrong, I had grown the wiser from our companionship and from my observations of nature and character, as displayed by those who came, with their old griefs or their new ones, to get them recorded upon his slabs of marble. And yet, with my gain of wisdom, I had