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Burial Of Sarah1
Frances E. W. Harper

He stood before the sons of Heth,
   And bowed his sorrowing head;
"I've come," he said, "to buy a place
   Where I may lay my dead.

"I am a stranger in your land,
   My home has lost its light;
Grant me a place where I may lay
   My dead away from sight."

Then tenderly the sons of Heth
   Gazed on the mourner's face,
And said, "Oh, Prince, amid our dead,
   Choose thou her resting-place.

"The sepulchres of those we love,
   We place at thy command;
Against the plea thy grief hath made
   We close not heart nor hand."

The patriarch rose and bowed his head,
   And said, "One place I crave;
'Tis at the end of Ephron's field,
   And called Machpelah's cave.

"Entreat him that he sell to me
   For her last sleep that cave;
I do not ask for her I loved
   The freedom of a grave."

The son of Zohar answered him,
   "Hearken, my lord, to me;
Before our sons, the field and cave
   I freely give to thee."

"I will not take it as a gift,"
   The grand old man then said;
"I pray thee let me buy the place
   Where I may lay my dead."

And with the promise in his heart,
   His seed should own that land,
He gave the shekels for the field
   He took from Ephron's hand.

And saw afar the glorious day
   His chosen seed should tread,
The soil where he in sorrow lay
   His loved and cherished dead.


1 Burial Of Sarah is based on Genesis 23, in which Abraham buys the cave of Machpelah from Ephron as Sarah's grave.

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