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Weep in the public roads, alone.
He saw me, and he turned aside,
I followed him, and said, "My friend,
"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,
Though little given to care and thought,
And then I married, and was rich
Of sheep I numbered a full score,
"Year after year my stock it grew;
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
'Do this: how can we give to you,' They cried, 'what to the poor is due ?
“I sold a sheep, as they had said,
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
"To wicked deeds I was inclined,
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.
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.
God cursed me in my sore distress ;
I loved my children less ;
And every week, and every day,
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 :