Page:All quiet along the Potomac and other poems.djvu/98

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92
THE BLACK SHEEP.


And Allan—the baby—Well, Allan was young,
 And boys will be wayward, you know.
 
 * * * *
Alas, Farmer Grey! alas and alas!
 There's a stain on a lamb in the fold;
There's a sheep gone astray, a shepherd bereft,
 There's a wanderer lost in the wold.
There's a gun in the hall, and beside it a cap,
 As they were on that sunshiny day
When over the meadow and down by the mill
 Wilful Allan went off and away.

There's mother's dark eye ever glancing to see
 If there's any one turning the lane,
And when gossips ask where her youngest has gone,
 Her face flushes crimson with pain.
There's a quaver at night when the good farmer prays
 For the wandering ones everywhere;
There's a place in the Bible that opens itself
 To the promise He gives patient prayer.

O wayward black sheep over earth everywhere,
 Look back all the way you have been,
And see bleeding hearts trodden down in the way,
 And locks whiter grown for your sin—
All the way over hands for you feebly upheld,
 Over graves, over hot, bitter tears,
Till lo! flower-veiled in the bright bramble-bloom,
 Yawning black the dark pitfall appears.

 * * * *