Can you read this 1798 gravestone poem?

Here’s a poem from the gravestone of a many greats grandfather of mine, in a cemetary in New Hampshire. He died 1798 and was buried in a Congregational church graveyard.

Generally, the letter “s” is written like the letter “f” if it doesn’t appear last in a word. On the stones I’ve looked at, sometimes there is a subtle difference, like a crossing line in the middle height of the “f” but only the left half of that line in the “s”. But in this stone these characters aren’t distinguishable in any way I could find after some study and comparison of the obvious cases.

The poem appears thus:

In the cold manfions of the filent tomb,
How ftill the folitude, how deep the gloom.
Here fleeps the duft unconfcious dofe confind.
But far diftant dwells the immortal mind.

Most of it is obvious, but what is the end of the third line? Is it “dose” or some word “dofe” I never heard? Is it “confined” or “consigned”?

The stone’s in excellent shape and it is not hard to make out the letters at all. I think the only confusions are about which cases of apparent “f” mean “s”, and what unfamiliar words or spellings are being used.


I would read it as “dust” as “in ashes to ashes, dust to dust”

A great epitaph - I think they’re saying that it is just his inanimate remains “confined” to the tomb whereas his soul (“immortal mind”) lives (“dwells”) in heaven (“far distant”).

WAG: ‘does confide’

It appears that dofe/dose is actually clofe/close:

The poem appears to have been pretty popular on late 18th/early nineteenth century gravestones, but I’m not sure who wrote it.

A quick google search gives me this.

"In the cold mansions of the silent tomb

How still the solitude, how deep the gloom

Here sleeps the dust unconscious close confined

But far, far distant dwells the immmortal mind."

The word might also be dote.

…clofe confin’d

Hey, folks, thanks, you’re right!
The c and l have a faint space between them, unlike a d above.
And there’s a faint apostrophe in confin’d.
Now that I know what to look for, I’m sure of it.

Is it just me, or does this thread seem like a Scooby Doo episode.

“That poem would have remained obscure if it weren’t for those darn dopers”

I believe what you meant to say was:

“That poem would have remained obfcure if it weren’t for thofe darn doperf”

Yef, thatf right.

Actually the long s is only ufed in the middle of words, not at the end :wink: