Verse > Anthologies > Louis Untermeyer, ed. > Modern American Poetry
Louis Untermeyer, ed. (1885–1977). Modern American Poetry.  1919.
Richard Burton. 1861–
21. Black Sheep
FROM their folded mates they wander far, 
  Their ways seem harsh and wild; 
They follow the beck of a baleful star, 
  Their paths are dream-beguiled. 
Yet haply they sought but a wider range,         5
  Some loftier mountain-slope, 
And little recked of the country strange 
  Beyond the gates of hope. 
And haply a bell with a luring call 
  Summoned their feet to tread  10
Midst the cruel rocks, where the deep pitfall 
  And the lurking snare are spread. 
Maybe, in spite of their tameless days 
  Of outcast liberty, 
They're sick at heart for the homely ways  15
  Where their gathered brothers be. 
And oft at night, when the plains fall dark 
  And the hills loom large and dim, 
For the Shepherd's voice they mutely hark, 
  And their souls go out to him.  20
Meanwhile, "Black sheep! Black sheep!" we cry, 
  Safe in the inner fold; 
And maybe they hear, and wonder why, 
  And marvel, out in the cold. 

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