Gateway to the Classics: Display Item
Charles Mackay

Song of Life

A traveller on a dusty road

Strewed acorns on the lea;

And one took root and sprouted up,

And grew into a tree.

Love sought its shade at evening-time,

To breathe its early vows;

And Age was pleased, in heights of noon,

To bask beneath its boughs.

The dormouse loved its dangling twigs,

The birds sweet music bore—

It stood a glory in its place,

A blessing evermore.

A little spring had lost its way

Amid the grass and fern;

A passing stranger scooped a well

Where weary men might turn.

He walled it in, and hung with care

A ladle on the brink;

He thought not of the deed he did,

But judged that Toil might drink.

He passed again; and lo! the well,

By summer never dried,

Had cooled ten thousand parchéd tongues,

And saved a life beside.

A nameless man, amid the crowd

That thronged the daily mart,

Let fall a word of hope and love,

Unstudied from the heart,

A whisper on the tumult thrown,

A transitory breath,

It raised a brother from the dust,

It saved a soul from death.

O germ! O fount! O word of love!

O thought at random cast!

Ye were but little at the first,

But mighty at the last.