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Thomas Hardy (1840–1928). Wessex Poems and Other Verses. 1898.

21. The Stranger’s Song

O MY trade it is the rarest one,

Simple shepherds all—

My trade is a sight to see;

For my customers I tie, and take ’em up on high,

And waft ’em to a far countree!

My tools are but common ones,

Simple shepherds all—

My tools are no sight to see:

A little hempen string, and a post whereon to swing,

Are implements enough for me!

To-morrow is my working day,

Simple shepherds all—

To-morrow is a working day for me:

For the farmer’s sheep is slain, and the lad who did it ta’en,

And on his soul may God ha’ mer-cy!

Printed in “The Three Strangers,” 1883.