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My child ! they gave thee to another,
A woman who was not thy mother.
When from my arms my babe they took,
On me how strangely did he look!
Through his whole body something ran,
A most strange something did I see ;
-As if he strove to be a man,
That he might pull the sledge for me.
And then he stretched his arms, how wild !
Oh mercy ! like a little child.
My little joy ! my little pride!
In two days more I must have died.
Then do not weep and grieve for me ;
I feel I must have died with thee.
Oh wind that o'er my head art flying,
friends their course did bend,
I should not feel the pain of dying,
Could I with thee a message send.
Too soon, my friends, you went away ;
For I had many things to say.
I'll follow you across the snow,
You travel heavily and slow :
In spite of all my weary pain,
I'll look upon your tents again.
My fire is dead, and snowy white
The water which beside it stood;
The wolf has come to me to-night,
And he has stolen away my
food. For ever left alone am I,
Then wherefore should I fear to die
My journey will be shortly run,
I shall not see another sun,
I cannot lift my limbs to know
If they have any life or no.
My poor forsaken child ! if I
For once could have thee close to me,
With happy heart I then should die,
And my last thoughts would happy be.
I feel my body die away,
I shall not see another day.
In distant countries I have been,
And yet I have not often seen
A healthy man, a man full grown,
Weep in the public roads alone.
But such a one, on English ground,
And in the broad high-way, I met;
Along the broad high-way he came,
His cheeks with tears were wet.
Sturdy he seemed, though he was sad;
And in his arms a lamb he had.
He saw me, and he turned aside,
As if he wished himself to hide :
Then with his coat he made essay
To wipe those briny tears away.
I follow'd him, and said, “ My friend
“ What ails you? wherefore weep you so ?"
“ Shame on me, Sir! this lusty lamb,
He makes my tears to flow.
To-day I fetched him from the rock;
He is the last of all
When I was young, a single man,
And after youthful follies ran,
Though little given to care and thought,
Yet, so it was, a ewe I bought;
And other sheep from her I raised,
As healthy sheep as you might see,
And then I married, and was rich
As I could wish to be ;
Of sheep I numbered a full score,
And every year
And from this one, this single ewe,
Full fifty comely sheep I raised,
As sweet a flock as ever grazed !
Upon the mountain did they feed;
They throve, and we at home did thrive.
-This lusty lamb of all my store
Is all that is alive ;
And now I care not if we die,
And perish all of poverty.
Six children, Sir! had I to feed,
Hard labour in a time of need !
My pride was tamed, and irr our grief,
I of the parish ask'd relief.
They said I was a wealthy man;
My sheep upon the mountain fed,
And it was fit that thence I took
Whereof to buy us bread :"
“ Do this ; how can we give to you,"
They cried, “ what to the poor is due ?"