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The Lambs of Grasmere, 1860

by Christina Rossetti
The upland flocks grew starved and thinned:
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The Lambs of Grasmere, 1860

by Christina Rossetti
The upland flocks grew starved and thinned:
  Their shepherds scarce could feed the lambs
Whose milkless mothers butted them,
  Or who were orphaned of their dams.
The lambs athirst for mother's milk
  Filled all the place with piteous sounds:
Their mothers' bones made white for miles
  The pastureless wet pasture grounds.
Day after day, night after night,
  From lamb to lamb the shepherds went,
With teapots for the bleating mouths
  Instead of nature's nourishment.
The little shivering gaping things
  Soon knew the step that brought them aid,
And fondled the protecting hand,
  And rubbed it with a woolly head.
Then, as the days waxed on to weeks,
  It was a pretty sight to see
These lambs with frisky heads and tails
  Skipping and leaping on the lea,
Bleating in tender, trustful tones,
  Resting on rocky crag or mound.
And following the beloved feet
  That once had sought for them and found.
These very shepherds of their flocks,
  These loving lambs so meek to please,
Are worthy of recording words
  And honour in their due degrees:
So I might live a hundred years,
  And roam from strand to foreign strand,
Yet not forget this flooded spring
  And scarce-saved lambs of Westmoreland.

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