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Shepherds’ Song

By Nora Hopper

” ALL alas and welladay ”
    (Shepherds’ say !)
Stepping with a stealthy pace
    Past the place
Where the idle lilies blow !
” Here Diana dreaming lay
    (Snow in snow !)
Lay a-dreaming on a day
    Long ago.”

Few the prayers the shepherds say
Now Diana ends her chase,
    Giving place
To a maid with softer eyes,
    Colder breast
(Mystery of mysteries !)
For her greatest gift, and best,
    Giving rest.


                        190 Shepherds’ Song

” Now we thole,” the shepherds say,
” Shorter night and longer day.
    Shorter days
Sweeter were : when in the nights
Came a sudden press of lights :
Came the shining of a face
    Far away.
And we gave Diana praise
For the passing of her face.”

” All alas and welladay,”
    Shepherds say—
” Maiden rule we still obey—
Yet we loved the first maid best :
Though we fled by herne and hollow
Fearing angry shafts to follow,
Dead, we knew that we should rest
    On her breast.”

” All alas and welladay,”
    Shepherds say,
” Earth was green that now is grey :
Auster dared not any day
    Beat or blow
When ‘mid lilies Dian lay
    (Snow in snow !)
Lay a-dreaming on a day
    Long ago.”

MLA citation:

Hopper, Nora. “Shepherds’ Song.” The Yellow Book, vol. 5, April 1895, pp. 189-190. Yellow Book Digital Edition, edited by Dennis Denisoff and Lorraine Janzen Kooistra, 2010-2014. Yellow Nineties 2.0, Ryerson University Centre for Digital Humanities, 2019.