Page:Tale of Paraguay - Southey.djvu/34

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Who is there to make ready now the pit,
The house that will content from this day forth
Its easy tenant? Who in vestments fit
Shall swathe the sleeper for his bed of earth,
Now tractable as when a babe at birth?
Who now the ample funeral urn shall knead,
And burying it beneath his proper hearth
Deposit there with careful hands the dead,
And lightly then relay the floor above his head?


Unwept, unshrouded, and unsepulchred,
The hammock where they hang, for winding sheet
And grave suffices the deserted dead:
There from the armadillo's searching feet
Safer than if within the tomb's retreat.
The carrion birds obscene in vain essay
To find that quarry: round and round they beat
The air, but fear to enter for their prey.
And from the silent door the jaguar turns away.