Oh! Shepherd John is good and kind,
Oh! Shepherd John is brave;
He loves the weakest of his flock,
His arm is quick to save.
But Shepherd John to little John
Says: ‘Learn, my laddie, learn!
In grassy nooks still read your books,
And aye for knowledge burn.
Read while you tend the grazing flock:
Had I but loved my book,
I’d not be still in shepherd’s frock,
Nor bearing shepherd’s crook.
The world is wide, the world is fair,
There’s muckle work to do.
I’ll rest content a shepherd still,
But grander fields for you!’
Source: She Wields a Pen: American Women Poets of the Nineteenth Century (University of Iowa Press, 1997)
Poems by Mary Mapes Dodge