Poem – In Due Observance of an Ancient Rite

IN due observance of an ancient rite,
The rude Biscayans, when their children lie

Dead in the sinless time of infancy,

Attire the peaceful corse in vestments white;

And, in like sign of cloudless triumph bright,

They bind the unoffending creature’s brows

With happy garlands of the pure white rose:

Then do a festal company unite

In choral song; and, while the uplifted cross

Of Jesus goes before, the child is borne 

Uncovered to his grave: ’tis closed,–her loss

The Mother ‘then’ mourns, as she needs must mourn;

But soon, through Christian faith, is grief subdued;

And joy returns, to brighten fortitude. 

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