Weeping Veils

by Marquis DeBlood

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about

Music inspired by Victorian Death, Funeral Customs, Superstitions and Mourning.

Companion piece to "The Mourning Dawn":
thehorrorofitallproductions.bandcamp.com/album/the-mourning-dawn

credits

released March 22, 2016

Cover photo: "Women Weeping" Victorian Photo

History from:
Friends of Oak Grove Cemetery - friendsofoakgrovecemetery.org
www.victoriana.com - www.victoriana.com/VictorianPeriod/mourning.htm
agraveinterest.blogspot.com
amyhanson.wordpress.com/books/mourning-covers
www.victorianweb.org/technology/letters/condolence.html
victorianachronists.wordpress.com

music arranged by Mark Dickinson
2016 The Horror Of It All Productions

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The Horror Of It All Productions Binghamton, New York

Marquis DeBlood is the host of 'What's Goin' On Binghamton's" October Web Series, "The Horror Of It All". The Horror Of It All showcases all of the spooktacular events and the people behind them that go on in the the Binghamton NY area and the Southern Tier. ... more

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Track Name: He wraps the drapery of his couch about him and lies down to pleasant dreams
Thanatopsis

BY WILLIAM CULLEN BRYANT

To him who in the love of Nature holds
Communion with her visible forms, she speaks
A various language; for his gayer hours
She has a voice of gladness, and a smile
And eloquence of beauty, and she glides
Into his darker musings, with a mild
And healing sympathy, that steals away
Their sharpness, ere he is aware. When thoughts
Of the last bitter hour come like a blight
Over thy spirit, and sad images
Of the stern agony, and shroud, and pall,
And breathless darkness, and the narrow house,
Make thee to shudder, and grow sick at heart;—
Go forth, under the open sky, and list
To Nature’s teachings, while from all around—
Earth and her waters, and the depths of air—
Comes a still voice—
Yet a few days, and thee
The all-beholding sun shall see no more
In all his course; nor yet in the cold ground,
Where thy pale form was laid, with many tears,
Nor in the embrace of ocean, shall exist
Thy image. Earth, that nourished thee, shall claim
Thy growth, to be resolved to earth again,
And, lost each human trace, surrendering up
Thine individual being, shalt thou go
To mix for ever with the elements,
To be a brother to the insensible rock
And to the sluggish clod, which the rude swain
Turns with his share, and treads upon. The oak
Shall send his roots abroad, and pierce thy mould.

Yet not to thine eternal resting-place
Shalt thou retire alone, nor couldst thou wish
Couch more magnificent. Thou shalt lie down
With patriarchs of the infant world—with kings,
The powerful of the earth—the wise, the good,
Fair forms, and hoary seers of ages past,
All in one mighty sepulchre. The hills
Rock-ribbed and ancient as the sun,—the vales
Stretching in pensive quietness between;
The venerable woods—rivers that move
In majesty, and the complaining brooks
That make the meadows green; and, poured round all,
Old Ocean’s gray and melancholy waste,—
Are but the solemn decorations all
Of the great tomb of man. The golden sun,
The planets, all the infinite host of heaven,
Are shining on the sad abodes of death,
Through the still lapse of ages. All that tread
The globe are but a handful to the tribes
That slumber in its bosom.—Take the wings
Of morning, pierce the Barcan wilderness,
Or lose thyself in the continuous woods
Where rolls the Oregon, and hears no sound,
Save his own dashings—yet the dead are there:
And millions in those solitudes, since first
The flight of years began, have laid them down
In their last sleep—the dead reign there alone.
So shalt thou rest, and what if thou withdraw
In silence from the living, and no friend
Take note of thy departure? All that breathe
Will share thy destiny. The gay will laugh
When thou art gone, the solemn brood of care
Plod on, and each one as before will chase
His favorite phantom; yet all these shall leave
Their mirth and their employments, and shall come
And make their bed with thee. As the long train
Of ages glide away, the sons of men,
The youth in life’s green spring, and he who goes
In the full strength of years, matron and maid,
The speechless babe, and the gray-headed man—
Shall one by one be gathered to thy side,
By those, who in their turn shall follow them.

So live, that when thy summons comes to join
The innumerable caravan, which moves
To that mysterious realm, where each shall take
His chamber in the silent halls of death,
Thou go not, like the quarry-slave at night,
Scourged to his dungeon, but, sustained and soothed
By an unfaltering trust, approach thy grave,
Like one who wraps the drapery of his couch
About him, and lies down to pleasant dreams.
Track Name: Big Hand Stops at Death
clocks would be stopped at the time of death
Track Name: Draw the Curtains
Curtains would be drawn immediately at the time of death.
Track Name: Widow's Weeds
black clothes worn by a widow in mourning.
Track Name: Death Notice (The Black Bordered Envelope)
The Victorians marked loss with postmortem photography (posing the dead to look alive to peaceful), keepsake mementos (e.g. a lock of hair turned into a piece of jewelry), extravagant funerals, and death notices. There were strict rules on mourning etiquette — what one wore, what one did or did not do, and how one communicated the news of death. Black-edged stationery informed friends and relatives of the loss of a loved one.

Victorians used black-edged stationery for up to a year following the death of a close relative. The fact that black-edged missives appear not only among extant correspondence but as a central trope in the art and literature of the period indicates that the letter is a key part of the Victorian mourning ritual.
Track Name: The Raven Guard
The Undertaker Mute’s job was to stand vigil outside the door of the deceased, then accompany the coffin, wearing dark clothes, looking solemn and usually carrying a long stick (called a wand) covered in black crape.
Track Name: The Wake
he body was watched over every minute until burial, hence the custom of “waking”. The wake also served as a safeguard from burying someone who was not dead, but in a coma. Most wakes also lasted 3-4 days to allow relatives to arrive from far away.
Track Name: To Catch A Tear
When those mourning the loss of loved ones would collect their tears in bottles ornately decorated with silver and pewter. Special stoppers allowed the tears to evaporate. When the tears were gone, the mourning period would end.

Tear Catcher or Lachrymatory (taken appropriately from the word ‘lachrymose’, which means “given easily to tears or to crying; mournful”.).
Track Name: In Memoriam
By the Victorian era (1830 - 1901), the funeral invitation was no longer popular. Instead, small mourning or memorial cards were sent out after the funeral, usually to those who could not attend. Information about the funeral might also be included.

Most mourning cards were 3 by 4.5 inches, constructed from heavy card-stock, and made up of intricate, formal designs that were cut and embossed. Symbolism was very popular during the Victorian Era, and again, those gravestone symbols could be found decorating mourning cards.

A heavy black border usually framed the card, which included the birth and death dates. Other pertinent information about the deceased might be listed, along with a prayer, poem, or sentimental words of remembrance. If the deceased were a child or young adult, many times a photo, usually taken after death, would be used.

Those with wealth might opt for a larger mourning card, measuring about 4 by 6 inches, and lettered in gold, or embossed with intricate artwork.

But regardless of size, it was expected that the mourning card would be saved and placed in an album, or hung in a frame as a keepsake. Mourning cards belonging to family members might also contain a lock of the deceased’s hair, or a button from a uniform. These items would be included in the framed presentation.