The Book of the Rose

by Charles G.D. Roberts


 

SHEPHERDESS FAIR


 

O shepherdess fair, the flocks you keep
Are dreams and desires and tears and sleep.

O shepherdess brown, O shepherdess fair,
Where are my flocks you have in care?

My wonderful, white, wide-pasturing sheep

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Of dream and desire and tears and sleep?

Many the flocks, but small the care
You give to their keeping, O shepherdess fair!

O shepherdess gay, your flocks have fed
By the iris pool, by the saffron bed,

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Till now by noon they have wandered far,
And you have forgotten where they are!

O shepherdess fair, O shepherdess wild,
Full wise are your flocks, but you a child!

You shall not be chid if you let them stray.

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In your own wild way, in your own child way,
You will call them all back at the close of day.