Figure 1. Dolly Tillitt monument. Tillitt Cemetery, Nags Head, N.C. Photo: author.

Here rest the remains
Who was born 10th April 1776,
And departed this life on the
20th of August 1829,
Aged 53 Years 4 months
and 20 days.
This Marble is dedicated by her
affectionate Sons and Daughter.

O Thou whose mercy still controls,
The Orphan’s tear and Orphan’s cry,
Send comfort to those Mourners souls,
And teach them how to live and die.

Here, let them learn that all their cares,
However sad, must shortly cease.
Saviour of men accept their prayers,
And lead them on to thee in peace.

The sons and daughter of Dolly Tillitt caused a monument to be raised to her in the minuscule Tillitt Cemetery in Nags Head, North Carolina. The handsome stone has been broken and repaired neatly, so much so that the text can be easily read across the break. I’d guess a tree hit this stone (and an adjacent one) in a storm.

The poem appears, to judge by the interwebs, to be original. It appears, too, in its reference to Orphans, to refer to the specific circumstance of Dolly’s monument having been erected by her sons and daughters. So I tentatively take it to have been composed for this stone on the occasion of Dolly’s death.

The sentiment is a common one for its age, in regular rhyming iambic tetrameters. The rhyming scheme shows that there are two stanzas, rhyming A-B-A-B and C-D-C-D. The initial trochee of ‘Saviour’ in verse 7 is justified by the new sentence, and the vocative.

The punctuation is hit and miss as I read it; but I confess that on site I was concerned more with the text and neglected to study the punctuation attentively. The script of ‘Here rest the Remains’ is wonderful gothic with exciting curlicues.

Published by gsb03632

A college professor living in Scranton, PA

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1 Comment

  1. This was my great x4 grandmother. She was a Croatan Indian orphan raised by German immigrants to America. She later married my great x4 grandfather: Thomas Tillett. A bit of double meaning in the “orphan’s tear…” line. Thank you bringing this beautiful poem to light.


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