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Matthew Arnold (1822–88). The Poems of Matthew Arnold, 1840–1867. 1909.

New Poems, 1867

The Good Shepherd with the Kid

[First published 1867.]

HE saves the sheep, the goats he doth not save!

So rang Tertullian’s sentence, on the side

Of that unpitying Phrygian sect which cried:

‘Him can no fount of fresh forgiveness lave,

‘Who sins, once wash’d by the baptismal wave!’

So spake the fierce Tertullian. But she sigh’d,

The infant Church; of love she felt the tide

Stream on her from her Lord’s yet recent grave.

And then she smiled, and in the Catacombs,

With eye suffused but heart inspired true,

On those walls subterranean, where she did

Her head in ignominy, death, and tombs,

She her Good Shepherd’s hasty image drew;

And on his shoulders, not a lamb, a kid.