Verse > Anthologies > Alfred H. Miles, ed. > The Sacred Poets of the Nineteenth Century
Alfred H. Miles, ed.  The Sacred Poets of the Nineteenth Century.  1907.
IV. The Footsteps of the Flock
By James Drummond Burns (1823–1864)
NOT always, Lord, in pastures green
  The sheep at noon Thou feedest,
    Where in the shade they lie
    Within Thy watchful eye:
Not always under skies serene        5
  The white-fleeced flock Thou leadest.
On rugged ways, with bleeding feet,
  They leave their painful traces;
    Through deserts drear they go,
    Where wounding briers grow,        10
And through dark valleys, where they meet
  No quiet resting-places.
Not always by the waters still,
  Or lonely wells palm-hidden,
    Do they find happy rest,        15
    And, in Thy presence blest,
Delight themselves, and drink their fill
  Of pleasures unforbidden.
Their track is worn on Sorrow’s shore,
  Where windy storms beat ever—        20
    Their troubled course they keep,
    Where deep calls unto deep;
So going till they hear the roar
  Of the dark-flowing river.
But wheresoe’er their steps may be,        25
  So Thou their path be guiding,
    O be their portion mine!
    Show me the secret sign,
That I may trace their way to Thee,
  In Thee find rest abiding.        30
Slowly they gather to the fold,
  Upon Thy holy mountain,—
    There, resting round Thy feet,
    They dread no storm nor heat,
And slake their thirst where Thou hast rolled        35
  The stone from Life’s full fountain.

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