Verse > Anthologies > Harriet Monroe, ed. > Poetry: A Magazine of Verse, 1912–22
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Harriet Monroe, ed. (1860–1936).  Poetry: A Magazine of Verse.  1912–22.
 
The Dumb Shepherdess
By Edward Sapir, trans.
 
From “French-Canadian Folk-songs”

HARK ye to the complaint,
  Grown and little,
Of a dumb shepherdess
  Who in her fields
Did guard her little sheep        5
  Along the mead!
’Twas Jesus, out of goodness,
  Made her speak.
 
One day the holy Maid
  To her appeared.        10
“Good day, sweet shepherdess,
  Big Isabeau!
And would you give to me
  One of the lambs?”
 
“Ah, no indeed!” she said,        15
  “They are not mine.
To father, to my mother,
  I’ll speak of it;
To father, to my mother,
  I’ll tell of it.”        20
 
She came back to her home
  Straightaway.
“My father, there’s a lady
  In my flock.
O God! she asks of me        25
  One of the lambs.”
 
Her father, mother too,
  They were amazed
To hear the speechless maiden
  Speaking thus.        30
To God they made a prayer,
  Giving thanks.
 
“Go tell her, shepherdess,
  In thy flock,
That they are at her pleasure,        35
  Big and little,
That all are for her pleasing,
  Even the best.”
 
The shepherdess was dead
  Before three days.        40
A letter she was holding
  In her hand,
Writ by the sovereign master,
  Mighty God.
 
Her father, mother too,        45
  They could not read.
It had to be the bishop
  Came to them
To speak to the dumb maid,
  Big Isabeau.        50
 
“Open, shepherdess,
  Open thy hand,
For the sake of the sovereign master,
  Mighty God!”
And well he read the letter        55
  And understood:
 
“Whoever sings on Friday
  This complaint,
Is freed of sinful taint,
  Gains Paradise.”        60
 
 
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