The Lost Shepherd

Edwin Waugh

On the wild top of Pendle
    The clouds gather grim;
To the shepherd of Pendle
    The pathway grows dim:
The sleet blinds his sight
As he peers for the light
That still glimmers bright
    In the valley for him.

O'er the wild ridge of Pendle
    The wintry winds sweep;
On the lone waste of Pendle
    The snowfall is deep:
Near the bleak mountain's crest,
Where the wildest drifts rest,
With the snow on his breast,
    The wanderer's asleep.

His mate trims her light
    For the shepherd in vain,
As she listens all night
    To the stormy refrain:
Long, long she may mourn;
In vain the lamps burn
To guide his return
    To his loved ones again.

She may gaze down the path
    Till sight fades away;
She may wait for his feet
    Till hair has grown grey:
She may sigh, she may moan;
She may dream, she may groan;
She may weep all alone,
    To her last dying day.

No friends bore the bier
    To his lone wintry bed;
No kind hand was near
    To pillow his head:
Wild hawks o'er him wing;
White snows round him cling;
And stormy winds sing
    The dirge of the dead.

Pendle Hill is well-known for the Pendle Witch Trials of 1612. A local saw has it that Pendle is a very rainy spot: If you can see Pendle it's about to rain, they say. If you can't see it, it's already raining...