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Weep in the public roads, alone.
But such a one, on English ground,
And in the broad highway, I met;
Along the broad highway 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 :
And with his coat did then essay
To wipe those briny tears away.

I followed 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, an 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 increased my store.

"Year after year my stock it grew;
And from this one, this single ewe,
Full fifty comely sheep I raised,
As fine a flock as ever grazed!

Upon the Quantock hills they fed;

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 asked relief.

They said, I was a wealthy man ;

My sheep upon the uplands 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 stopped

Like blood-drops from my heart they dropped.

'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—
Reckless of what might come at last,
Were but the bitter struggle past.

"To wicked deeds I was inclined,
And wicked fancies crossed my mind;
And every man I chanced 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;

And oft was moved to flee from home,

And hide my head where wild beasts roam.

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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.

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They dwindled, sir, sad sight to see! From ten to five, from five to three,

A lamb, a wether, and an ewe;

And then at last from three to two;

And, of my fifty, yesterday

I had but only one :

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