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...flowers can take no birth Or growth from such unhappy earth.
In The Maid's Tragedy, a pathetic little air, is introduced, illustrative of this mode of decorating the funerals of females who had been disappointed in love:
Lay a garland on my hearse Of the dismall yew, Maidens, willow branches wear, Say I died true.
My love was false, but I was firm, From my hour of birth; Upon my buried body lie Lightly, gentle earth.The natural effect of sorrow over the dead is to refine and elevate the mind.and we have a proof of it in the purity of sentiment and the unaffected elegance of thought which pervaded the whole of these funeral observances. Thus it was an especial precaution that none but sweet-scented evergreens and flowers should be employed. The intention seems to have been to soften the horrors of the tomb, to beguile the mind from brooding over the disgraces of perishing mortality, and to associate the memory of the deceased with the most delicate and beautiful objects... Irving, Washington
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