Pierre Cardinal's Faith
by Theodore Tilton
Good bishop, prithee, listen to my tale!
Pierre Cardinal, a troubadour of France,
Who bore a hundred years of troubled life,
Fell sick, and called his friends, and spake these words:
Now since I have not lived in fear of death,
I trust I shall not die in fear of hell;
Yet when ye shall array me for the grave,
Clench fast this parchment in my folded hand,
That I may read it at the judgment day.
The scroll ran thus -- now rotting with his bones:
O God! I think the Devil should be slain;
For many a soul were saved to Thee thereby.
Yet since Thy hand hath formed me prone to sin,
If Thou art wroth at seeing me so made,
Unframe me till I be again unborn.
But if thou wilt not so undo my birth, --
And if I was, as l am, and shall be, -- then,
O Giver of my hundred years of pain!
Deny me not, I pray, Thy peace at last!
My Father! welcome Thou Thy child. Amen.
Here stopped the writing, and the minstrel died.
Good bishop, art thou wise? Then, prithee, tell, --
Is old Pierre Cardinal in heaven or hell?
Source:The Sexton's Tale, And Other Poems.
Sheldon And Company, New York.