Wednesday, September 27, 2006
Two lost daughters, Sonning Church
"Here lyeth Elizabeth Chute, Daughter of George Chute Knight and Dame Anne his wife, whoe lived 3 yeares and 6 monthes and dyed the 18th of May Anno 1627.
What Beauty wold have lovely stild
What manners sweet what nature mild
What wonder perfect All were fild
Upon record, in this one child
And, till the coming of the Soule
To call the flesh, wee keep ye Roule."
This miniature version, amateur and heartfelt, of Donne's Anniversaries on Elizabeth Drury, is complemented by the memorial brass, showing a very adult-looking Elizabeth Chute.
Outside, another set of parents, in 1940, somehow mastered their grief to create a very moving grave for their daughter. The inscription, on the top face of the end stones, is almost effaced, as the stones were laid flat. It is worth recording:
'With sweet memories of our darling daughter Emerald Green, [ ]- 1940',
and at the foot of the grave, the text (a version of Matthew 10, 16), 'And he took little children into his arms and blessed them'.
The diminutive grave employs a 17th century 'conceit': for their brilliantly named daughter, a visual pun, in which the stones define a gem in the grass. The parents must have been remarkable people; it is not often that the product of mourning is a work of art.