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"We commit to the ground the body of this our deceased sister." --BURIAL SERVICE

"This our sister." Turn the earthclods under,
Heap them high above the quiet breast;
Ceasing longer now to fear or wonder,
This, our sister, is at last at rest.


"This, our sister!" Surely you are mocking.
Why, this self-same form I've seen before,
Through the streets of yonder city walking,
Pitilessly spurned from door to door.


Driven swiftly to a sure perdition,
Scouted, scorned and mocked with bitter jeers:
Finding never place for her contrition,
Though she sought it eagerly with tears.


Never gentle hand outstretched for saving,
Never voice to give in tender tone
Aught of sympathy her heart was craving--
Till she perished, outcast and alone.


Surely, surely, had this been "our sister,"
We had hearkened to her frenzied prayer;
Not unmoved our hearts had been to list her
Contrite meaning and her wild despair.


Had she been our sister--tempted, sinning--
We had hastened to uplife and save,
Had deemed time and pains well spent in winning
Back our sister from a living grave.


One there was who felt no shame in owning,
Publicans and sinners for his kin;
Who withheld the rabble rout from stoning
Such another, taken in her sin.


"This our sister?" Ay, she was our sister!
Covered though she be with sin's dark blight,
And our hands--too dainty to assist her--
Are they guiltless in the Master's sight?


Cain's wild cry, "Am I my brother's keeper?"
Think you it availed him much with God?
Friends, than Cain have we erred less or deeper,
Towards the one who sleeps beneath this sod?