NOT all the streets that London builds
Can hide the sky and sun,
Shut out the winds from o’er the fields,
Or quench the scent the hay swath yields
All night, when work is done.
And here and there an open spot
Lies bare to light and dark,
Where grass receives the wanderer hot,
Where trees are growing, houses not;
One is the Regent’s Park.
Soft creatures, with ungentle guides,
God’s sheep from hill and plain,
Are gathered here in living tides,
Lie wearily on woolly sides,
Or crop the grass amain.
And from the lane, and court, and den,
In ragged skirts and coats,
Come hither tiny sons of men,
Wild things, untaught of book or pen,
The little human goats.
One hot and cloudless summer day,
An overdriven sheep
Had come a long and dusty way;
Throbbing with thirst the creature lay,
A panting, woollen heap.
But help is nearer than we know
For ills of every name;
Ragged enough to scare the crow,
But with a heart to pity woe,
A quick-eyed urchin came.
Little he knew of field or fold,
Yet knew enough; his cap
Was just the cap for water cold—
He knew what it could do of old;
Its rents were few, good hap!
Shaping the brim and crown he went,
Till crown from brim was deep.
The water ran from brim and rent;
Before he came the half was spent—
The half, it saved the sheep.
O, little goat, born, bred in ill,
Unwashed, ill-fed, unshorn!
Thou meet’st the sheep from breezy hill,
Apostle of thy Saviour’s will,
In London wastes forlorn.
Let others say the thing they please,
My faith, though very dim,
Thinks He will say who always sees,
In doing it to one of these
Thou didst it unto him.