The Thinking 

One Soul at Rest

November 2, 2012


THE REV. James Jackson writes:

Here is an epitaph from an English headstone that I put in the bulletin for this coming Sunday; thought you might like it.

Here Lie I, Martin Elginbrodd;
Have mercy on my soul, Lord God,
As I would do, gin I were God
And thou wert Martin Elginbrodd.

A blessed All Souls Day to you.

—- Comments —–

Alex A. writes:

I believe the well known epitaph on Martin Elginbrodd first appeared not on an English tombstone but in Scots dialect in a work of fiction by George MacDonald.

MacDonald was born in Aberdeenshire, Scotland in 1824. He became a minister in the Congregational Church and wrote several fantasy novels for children. The most widely read of his books (at one time, probably, but not now of course) is At the Back of the North Wind.

Here’s a few lines from one of his poems written for children:

Where did you come from, baby dear?
Out of the everywhere into here.
Where did you get your eyes so blue?
Out of the sky as I came through.

A Grateful Reader writes:

Perhaps the poem is from MacDonald’s novel David Elginbrod.

George MacDonald’s magnificent books strongly influenced J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis, both of whom highly recommended his works.  MacDonald wrote not only wonderful tales for children, but dozens of novels for adults. His lovely Victorian prose and poetry fill our ears like music, and some of his books include a good bit of Scots dialect. Like the works of Dickens, MacDonald’s novels are best read aloud. I read all of his children’s tales to my own children when they were small. As teenagers, they now read aloud to me his works for adults (as I drive them to and fro – it is fit payment for a chauffeur.) We are in the midst of the trilogy: Annals of a Quiet Neighborhood, Seaboard Parish, and The Vicar’s Daughter.  

One must beware of buying edited and abridged versions “for the modern reader.” Used copies of his original works abound, and a small-family business publishes new, beautifully hardbound, complete, original editions:  While the books are not inexpensive, the lovely bindings and good-quality paper match the worthy words within.

Laura writes:

He is a wonderful author to read aloud. My younger son and I especially enjoyed reading The Princess and the Goblin and The Princess and Curdie aloud together.

Rev. Jackson writes:

I stand corrected. You and your readers care about the truth and about accuracy. That’s what I like best about this site.


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