Blind Francis, waiting to welcome Sister Death,

St Francis4.jpg

though he was by ecstacies and fame,

Had heart for tune. With what remained of

He led his friars in canticles. Then came

Brother Elias, scowling, to
his side,

Small-souled Elias, crying by book and candle,

This was outrageous!
Had the friars no pride?

Music at deathbeds! Ah, the shame! the scandal!

gave him sermons and advice

Instead of song; which simply proves once more

things are sure this side of paradise:

Death, taxes, and the counsel of the

Though we outwit the tithe, make death our friend,

Bores we have with us
even to the end.

(Phyllis McGinley, 1950)