to the memory of her heroes and sages; and, at every turn, the short but touching inscription met the eye,--Siste, Viator,--Pause, Traveller,--inviting at once to sympathy and thoughtfulness.
Even the humblest Roman
could read on the humblest gravestone the kind offering-“May the earth lie lightly on these remains!”
And the Moslem successors of the emperors, indifferent as they may be to the ordinary exhibitions of the fine arts, place their burying-grounds in rural retreats, and embellish them with studious taste as a religious duty.
The cypress is planted at the head and foot of every grave, and waves with a mournful solemnity over it. These devoted grounds possess an inviolable sanctity.
The ravages of war never reach them; and victory and defeat equally respect the limits of their domain.
So that it has been remarked, with equal truth and beauty, that while the cities of the living are subject to all the desolations and vicissitudes incident to human affairs, the cities of the dead enjoy an undisturbed repose, without even the shadow of change.
But I will not dwell upon facts of this nature.
They demonstrate, however, the truth, of which I have spoken.
They do more; they furnish reflections suitable for our own thoughts on the present occasion.
If this tender regard for the dead be so absolutely universal, and so deeply founded in human affection, why is it not made to exert a more profound influence on our lives?
Why do we not enlist it with more persuasive energy in the cause of human improvement?
Why do we not enlarge it as a source of religious consolation?