The Whitehern Records have a rough copy of this essay, catalogued as W0343-W0346.W0346 DR CALVIN MCQUESTEN, SCHOOL ESSAY: THE GRAVE
Jan 1 2000
The grave seems to cast a solemn dread over every beholder- it being in itself dark and silent, and the repository of human bodies, gives it a ten-fold horror. There naught but the preying of the feeble worm disturbs the awful silence of our departed kindreds. This ought to be a subject of frequent meditation to all clafses [sic], knowing, as all do, that ere long we must be laid within its narrow confine, there to moulden with our kindred dust, till the archangel's trump shall bid us wise. But I am well aware that it is too seldom admitted into my own thoughts, and it is obvious that this is the case with a large portions of those with whom we are acquainted. Then let us for a few moments call in our wandering thoughts, and direct them to this our lastour long home. Since arriving to years of understanding, I have been witnefs [sic] to the consignments of members to this gloomy mansion- old, young, and middle-aged, have become its subjects; those who were my equals, and with whom I have been intimate in former years, are now sleeping within its silent walls:- their frames were once active, their countenances sprightly, their prospects flattering, and their nerves vigorous as those which now guide this pen- but now lie mouldering within its pale! I have witnefsed [sic] the bereaved consort, while herself confined to a sick-bed, taking the last farewell of her bosom friend, wringing her hands in agony, and prefsing [sic] her lips to his clay-cold cheek, as he lay in the coffin before her, just about the be borne away to the dismal grave; I have witnefsed [sic] brothers following sisters, and sisters following brothers, to this dreary abode, with their eyes suffused in tears; I have witnefsed [sic] the grief of a desponding mother, who had paid the funeral obit to a beloved son; I have seen the remaining few, of a once numerous and cheerful family, now clad in the emblems of mourning, having paid the last obsequies to their departed relatives, breathing many a pensive sigh, which strongly evinces to us that they never expect to see them more. But, ah! Too faint an impression of these things is now left upon my memory; they are almost forgotten. But the tolling of the distant bell reminds me of like occasions.
Let us repair to yonder church-yard, and there view with solemn awe the numerous mounds raised over its sleeping tenants; there lie those with whom we were once conversant, now silent as the sculptured marble, whose inscription only tells us where they sleep. While viewing these standing monuments, do they not speak in accents louder than human, that shortly this will be our home? Yes, my friend, ere long, we must be laid within this narrow house; though now in health and vigor, flushed with hopes of future happinefs [sic], laying schemes for many years to come, yet death the fell destroyer may quickly execute his summons, clasp us in his cold embrace, and consign us to this solemn; solemn Grave.
1 For more examples of Dr. Calvin McQuesten's school work see the following documents:
W0339, W0349, W0350, W0351, W0353.