We dwell with pious fondness on the characters and virtues of the departed; and, as time interposes its growing distances between us and them, we gather up, with more solicitude, the broken fragments of memory, and weave, as it were, into our very hearts, the threads of their history.
As we sit down by their graves, we seem to hear the tones of their affection, whispering in our ears.
We listen to the voice of their wisdom, speaking in the depths of our souls.
We shed our tears; but they are no longer the burning tears of agony.
They relieve our drooping spirits, and come no longer over us with a deathly faintness.
We return to the world, and we feel ourselves purer, and better, and wiser, from this communion with the dead.
I have spoken but of feelings and associations common to all ages, and all generations of men — to the rude and the polished — to the barbarian and the civilized — to the bond and the free — to the inhabitant of the dreary forests of the north, and the sultry regions of the south — to the worshipper of the sun, and the worshipper of idols — to the Heathen, dwelling in the darkness of his cold mythology, and to the Christian
, rejoicing in the light of the true God.
Every where we trace them in the characteristic remains of the most distant ages and nations, and as far back as human history carries its traditionary outlines.
They are found in the barrows, and cairns, and mounds of olden times, reared by the uninstructed affection of savage tribes: and, every where, the spots seem to have been selected with the same tender regard to the living and the dead; that the magnificence of nature might administer comfort to human sorrow, and incite human sympathy.