Across the prairie, thinking it is theirs,
The foolish sheep go wandering at will;
Or, shepherded by tempting grass that snares
Their idle fancy, stand content and still.
The herdsman with his collie lingers near: -
"The laird owns a’ the bonnie brae; but, Flo,
I ken it’s mair our ain, who a’ the year
Bide here, whatever airt the wind may blow."
The while an unseen artist subtly caught
The tawny fields unspotted by a stone,
The wandering sheep, nay, even the herders thought,
And made the fields, the sheep, the man, his own.
And she who saw the picture in the town
Thought for herself alone the gracious dower; -
The sheep were there, the prairie was so brown,
That she might charm away an idle hour.
But I who write have caught the lady, too -
Prisoned her in my verse; now all are mine! -
Dear reader, for whose patient ear I sue,
Read but my verse, and all of these are thine.
Notes: As published in "The
Century" a popular quarterly (Volume 30, Issue 1, May
1885). Mrs. Rollins was a prolific poet and regular
contributor to this magazine from about 1882 to 1897.