So artless art thou, gentle ewe!
Thy aspect kindles feeling;
And every bosom doth bedew,
Each true affection stealing.
Thou hast no weapon of aught kind
Against thy foes to combat;
No horn or hoof the dog to wound
That worries thee so steadfast.
No, nought hast thou but feeble flight,
Therein thy only refuge;
And every cur wi
hin thy sight
Is swifter since the deluge.
And when thy lambkin weak doth fail,
Tho' often called to follow,
Thy best protection to the frail
Wilt give through death or sorrow.
Against the ground her foot will beat,
Devoutly pure her purpose;
Full many a time the sight thus meet
Brought tears to me in billows.
But if wise nature did not give
To her sharp tooth or weapon,
She compensation doth receive
From human aid and reason.
She justly has from man support
'Gainst wounds and tribulation;
And has the means without distort
To yield him retribution.
Yea, of more value is her gift
Than priceless mines of silver
Or gold which from the depth they lift
Through India's distant border.
To man she gives protection strong
From winds and tempests howling,
From pelting rain, and snow-drifts long,
When storms above are beating.
The mantle warm o'er us the night
Throughout the dismal shadows;
What makes our hearts so free and light?
What but the sheep so precious!
Then let us not the Ewe forget
When winter bleak doth hover;
When rains descend--and we safe set--
Let us be grateful to her.
Her cloak to us is comfort great
When by the ditch she trembles;
Let us then give her the best beat
For her abode and rambles.