Can anyone offer any insight into the following inscription found on a
memorial at Bethlehem Chapel Llangadog to one William Thomas died 1863?
"The stars shall fade away
The sun himself grows dim with age
and nature sinks in years
But thou shalt flourish in immortal youth
unhurt amidst the war of elements
the wreck of matter and the crush of worlds"
The quotation comes from Addison's Cato, completed in 1713, and a favourite
with the US founding fathers, as it portrays the upright Cato resisting the
imperial ambitions of Julius Caesar. It occurs at the beginning of the
final act, as he muses on eternity and prepares to fall on his sword to
avoid being taken prisoner.
It seems at face value to be an unlikely inscription for a non-conformist
memorial. The passage, though concerned with immortality, is not
specifically Christian, and the association with suicide might be
considered inappropriate. Maybe it was the US connection - some of
William's family emigrated to Kansas, though I'm not sure whether he did.
Does anyone have any ideas about why it might have been chosen?