My Lambs

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My Lambs


I loved them so
That when the elder Sheperd of the fold
Cam, covered with the storm, and pale and cold,
And begged for one of my sweet lambs to hold,
I bade him go.

He claimed the pet,
A little foundling thing, that to my breast
Clung always, either in quiet or unrest.
I thought of all my lambs, I loved him best;
And yet—and yet—

I laid him down
In those white, shrouded arms, with bitter tears;
For some voice told me that, in after years, 
He should know nought of passion, grief or fears.
As had known.

And yet again
That elder Shepherd came: my heart grew faint;
He claimed another lamb—with sadder plaint
Another!—she who, gentle as a saint,
Ne'er gave me pain.

Aghast I turned away!
There sat sh, lovely as an angle's dream,
Her golden locks with sunlight all agleam,
Her holy eyes with heaven in their beam.
I knelt to pray.

"Is it Thy will?
My Father, say must this pet lamb be given?
Oh! Thou hast many such, dear Lord, in Heaven;"
And a soft voice said, "Nobly hast thou striven,
But—peace, be still!"

Oh! How I wept,
And clasped her to my bosom, with a wild
And yearning love!—my lamb, my pleasant child!
Her too I gave! The little angel smiled,
And slept!

"Go! go!" I cried,
For once again that Sheperd laid His hand
Upon the noblest of our household band;
Like a pale spectre, there he took his stand,
Close to his side.

And yet how wondrous sweet
That look with which he heard my passionate cry,
"Touch not my lamb! For him, oh! let me die!"
"A little while," he said, with smile and sigh,
Again to meet."

Hopeless I fell,
And when I rose, the light had burned so low,
So faint, I could not see my darling go.
He had not bidden me farewell; but oh!
felt farewell,

More deeply far
Than if my arms had compass'd that slight frame;
Though could I but have heard him call my name—
Dear mother!—but in Heaven 'twill be the same.
There burns my star!

He will not take
Another lamb, I thought, for only one
Of the dear fold is spared, to be my sun,
My guide, my mourner, when this life is done—
My heart would break.

Oh! with what thrill
I heard him enter! But I did not know
(For it was dark) that he had robbed me so;
The idol of my soul—he could not go—
Oh! heart, be still!

Came morning: can I tell
How this poor frame its sorrowful tenant kept?
For walking tears were mine; I sleeping wept,
And days, months, years, that weary vigil kept
Alas! "farewell!"

How often it is said!
I sit and think, and wonder, too, sometime,
How it will seem, when in that happier clime,
It never will ring out, like funeral chime
Over the dead!

No tears! No tears!
Will there a day come that I shall not weep?
For I bedew my pillow in my sleep;
Yes, yes, thank God! no grief that clime shall keep—
No weary years.

Ay, it is well!
Well with my lambs, and with their earthly guide;
There, pleasant rivers wander they beside,
Or strike sweet harps upon its pleasant tide—
Ay, it is well!

Through the dreary day
They often come from glorious light to me;
I cannot feel their touch, their faces see,
Yet my soul tells me they do come to me—
Heaven is not far away!




1:4, p. 4




Unattributed, “My Lambs,” Periodical Poets, accessed February 24, 2024,


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