Verse > William Wordsworth > Complete Poetical Works
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"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                    10
          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.
                                                              1810.


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