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James Gracie

The great Scottish poet Robbie Burns wrote the following epigram about an academic by the name of James Gracie who was evidently popular:

Gracie, thou art a man of worth,

O be thou Dean for ever!

May he be damned to hell henceforth,

Who fauts [faults] thy weight or measure.

High praise indeed from the prince of poets, and may purple heather rest upon him. But I reserve my praise for the lesser known James Gracie whose tombstone I stumbled upon near Lithgow in the Bowenfels cemetery. Born in Carlisle, Scotland in 1854, this particular James Gracie died at age thirty on 29th May 1884. Through sickness or accident the tombstone does not say. But what it does say is that this man is not dead, but very much alive. For engraved beneath the years of James Gracie’s age reached in this world are the following lines from a poet unknown:

Not in mine innocence I trust

I bow before Thee in the dust

And through my Saviour’s blood alone

I look for mercy at Thy throne.

What a beautiful confidence in the Lord Jesus is expressed in these lines. And what a beautiful sight must now fill the eyes of that young man who sincerely believed them. Aye, ev’n a sight more fair than June’s red, red rose! Should old acquaintance be forgot, and never brought to mind? Nay, we will remember James Gracie, for like Abel, his blood still speaks today.

DM 23rd February 2016


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