THE LAMBS OF GRASMERE, 1860
by: Christina Rossetti
- HE upland flocks grew starved
- 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.
MORE POEMS BY CHRISTINA ROSSETTI
"The Lambs of Grasmere, 1860"
is reprinted from Goblin Market, The Prince's Progress and
Other Poems. Christina Rosetti. London: Macmillan 1879.