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 my flock."
 
 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 increas’d my store.
 
 Year after year my stock it grew,
 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 in 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?”
 
 I sold a sheep as they had said,
 And bought my little children bread,
 And they were healthy with their food;
 For me it never did me good.
 A woeful time it was for me,
 To see the end of all my gains,
 The pretty flock which I had reared
 With all my care and pains,
 To see it melt like snow away!
 For me it was a woeful day.
 
 Another still! and still another!
 A little lamb, and then its mother!
 It was a vein that never stopp’d,
 Like blood—drops from my heart they dropp’d.
 Till thirty were not left alive
 They dwindled, dwindled, one by one,
 And I may say that many a time
 I wished they all were gone:
 They dwindled one by one away;
 For me it was a woeful day.
 
 To wicked deeds I was inclined,
 And wicked fancies cross’d my mind,
 And every man I chanc’d to see,
 I thought he knew some ill of me.
 No peace, no comfort could I find,
 No ease, within doors or without,
 And crazily, and wearily
 I went my work about.
 Oft—times I thought to run away;
 For me it was a woeful day.
 
 Sir! 'twas a precious flock to me,
 As dear as my own children be;
 For daily with my growing store
 I loved my children more and more.
 Alas! it was an evil time;
 God cursed me in my sore distress,
 I prayed, yet every day I thought
 I loved my children less;
 And every week, and every day,
 My flock, it seemed to melt away.
 
 They dwindled. Sir, sad sight to see!
 From ten to five, from five to three,
 A lamb, a weather, and a ewe;
 And then at last, from three to two;
 And of my fifty, yesterday
 I had but only one,
 And here it lies upon my arm,
 Alas! and I have none;
 To—day I fetched it from the rock;
 It is the last of all my flock.

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