Sonnet from Assisi
by Phyllis McGinley
Blind Francis, waiting to welcome Sister Death,
Worn though he was by ecstacies and fame,
Had heart for tune. With what remained of breath,
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!
Elias gave him sermons and advice
Instead of song; which simply proves once more
What things are sure this side of paradise:
Death, taxes, and the counsel of the bore.
Though we outwit the tithe, make death our friend,
Bores we have with us even to the end.