was in hearing Severn
read aloud from a volume of Jeremy Taylor
On first coming to Rome
, he had bought a copy of Alfieri
, but, finding on the second page these lines,
sollievo a me non resta
Altro che il pianto, ed il pianto è delitto,
he laid down the book and opened it no more.
On the 14th February, 1821, Severn
speaks of a change that had taken place in him toward greater quietness and peace.
He talked much, and fell at last into a sweet sleep, in which he seemed to have happy dreams.
Perhaps he heard the soft footfall of the angel of Death, pacing to and fro under his window, to be his Valentine
That night he asked to have this epitaph inscribed upon his gravestone,—
Here lies one whose name was writ in water.
On the 23d he died, without pain and as if falling asleep.
His last words were, ‘I am dying; I shall die easy; don't be frightened, be firm and thank God it has come!’
He was buried in the Protestant burial-ground at Rome
, in that part of it which is now disused and secluded from the rest.
A short time before his death he told Severn
that he thought his intensest pleasure in life had been to watch the growth of flowers; and once, after lying peacefully awhile, he said, ‘I feel the flowers growing over me.’
His grave is marked by a little headstone on which are carved somewhat rudely his name and age, and the epitaph dictated by himself.
No tree or shrub has been planted near it, but the daisies, faithful to their buried lover, crowd his small mound with a galaxy of their innocent stars, more prosperous than those under which he lived.1