Emma Henriette Dietsch Tombstone, St. John’s Lutheran Cemetery (Spring Hill)

Not a particularly artistic stone, but it has a poem or hymn as an epitaph. You will pardon, and possibly correct, Father Pitt’s clumsy attempt to transcribe and translate it:

Was hat ich in der Welt,
Als nur ein Sieches leben:
Ich war mit Angst umgeben,
Und unters Kreuz gestellt.
ich musste Thraenen giessen.
Hier kann ich Trost geniessen,
O schoenes Himmel Reich.

What had I in the world
but to live a sickly life?
I was surrounded by fear
And placed at the foot of the cross.
I had to pour out tears.
Here can I know comfort,
O sweet Kingdom of Heaven.

Emma Henriette Dietsch lived only to the age of 33 or 34, so it may well be true that her life was filled with sickness; but that is also one of the expected clichés of a German epitaph. German epitaphs seem to dwell more commonly than English ones on the discomfort of the present world. From that observation one might draw all sorts of sociological conclusions about the status of German-Americans in nineteenth-century society, but one would probably be wrong; it is more likely simply a matter of tradition.

Old Pa Pitt has not been able to find this poem anywhere on the Internet. It is just barely possible that it was an original composition, but Father Pitt does not consider that likely. From the meter he suspects it is an old hymn, but it must be a relatively obscure one. Any help in identifying it would be appreciated.

 

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