Home » Mourning Literature & Custom » A Hundred Years Hence.

A Hundred Years Hence.

I am lucky enough to have in my personal library a book entitled ‘The Mourner’s Friend or Sighs of Sympathy For Those Who Sorrow’. It is a collection of prose and verse compiled to give comfort to the grieving. Edited by J.B. Syme, published in 1852 by S.A. Howland in Worcester, Mass, USA; its contents are by American and European authors and some surprising famous names. My copy of the book has some water damage, ageing paper, and precarious binding, so before it deteriorates my project to preserve the words of the authors will find its way here on the MOLAM blog. 

A Hundred Years Hence.

IT strikes me as the most impressive of all sentiments, that “It will be the same, a hundred years after this ! ” It is often uttered in the form of a proverb, and with the levity of a mind that is not aware of its importance. A hundred years after this ! Good heavens ! with what speed and with what certainty will those hundred years come to their termination ! This day will draw to a close, and a number of days make one revolution of the seasons. Year follows year, and a number of years make up a century. These little intervals of time accumulate, and fill up that mighty space which appears to fancy so big and so immeasurable. The hundred years will come, and they will see the wreck of whole generations. Every living thing that now moves on the face of the earth, will disappear from it. The infant that now hangs on his mother’s bosom, will only live in the remembrance of his grandchildren. The scene of life and intelligence that is now before me, will be changed into the dark and loathsome forms of corruption. The people who now hear me, they will cease to be spoken of; their memory will perish from the face of the country, their flesh will be devoured by worms; the dark and creeping things that live in the holes of the earth, will feed upon their bodies; their coffins will have mouldered away, and their bones be thrown up in the new-made grave. And is this the consummation of all things? Is this the final end and issue of man ? Is there nothing beyond time and the grave to alleviate the gloomy picture, — to chase away these dismal images ? Must we sleep forever in the dust, and bid adieu to the light of heaven ?

One thought on “A Hundred Years Hence.

  1. This put me in mind of a poem by Thomas Hardy, written in 1867, about just this sentiment:

    1967

    In five-score summers! All new eyes,
    New minds, new modes, new fools, new wise;
    New woes to weep, new joys to prize;
    With nothing left of me and you

    In that live century’s vivid view
    Beyond a pinch of dust or two;
    A century which, if not sublime,
    Will show, I doubt not, at its prime,

    A scope above this blinkered time.
    —Yet what to me how far above?
    For I would only ask thereof
    That thy worm should be my worm, Love!

    —16 Westbourne Park Villas, 1867

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