It shone upon a genial mind,
And, lo! its light became

A lamp of life, a beacon ray,
A monitory flame:

The thought was small; its issue great;
A watch-fire on the hill,

It sheds its radiance far adown,

And cheers the valley still.

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.

Charles Mackay [1814-1889]


It isn't the thing you do, dear;

It's the thing you leave undone,
Which gives you a bit of heartache
At the setting of the sun.
The tender word forgotten,

The letter you did not write,
The flower you might have sent, dear,
Are your haunting ghosts to-night.

The stone you might have lifted
Out of a brother's way,

The bit of heartsome counsel
You were hurried too much to say;

The loving touch of the hand, dear,
The gentle and winsome tone,
That you had no time nor thought for,
With troubles enough of your own.

The little acts of kindness,

So easily out of mind; Those chances to be angels

Which every one may findThey come in night and silence

Each chill, reproachful wraithWhen hope is faint and flagging And a blight has dropped on faith.

For life is all too short, dear,

And sorrow is all too great;
So suffer our great compassion
That tarries until too late;
And it's not the thing you do, dear,

It's the thing you leave undone, Which gives you the bit of heartache At the setting of the sun.

Margaret Sangster [1838


ONCE in a golden hour

I cast to earth a seed.
Up there came a flower,
The people said, a weed.

To and fro they went
Through my garden-bower,
And muttering discontent
Cursed me and my flower.

Then it grew so tall

It wore a crown of light,
But thieves from o'er the wall
Stole the seed by night;

Sowed it far and wide

By every town and tower,
Till all the people cried,
"Splendid is the flower."

Read my little fable:

He that runs may read.
Most can raise the flowers now,
For all have got the seed.

And some are pretty enough,

And some are poor indeed;
And now again the people
Call it but a weed.

Alfred Tennyson [1809-1892]


OFTEN rebuked, yet always back returning

To those first feelings that were born with me, And leaving busy chase of wealth and learning

For idle dreams of things that cannot be: To-day, I will seek not the shadowy region; Its unsustaining vastness waxes drear; And visions rising, legion after legion,

Bring the unreal world too strangely near.

I'll walk, but not in old heroic traces,
And not in paths of high morality,

And not among the half-distinguished faces,
The clouded forms of long-past history.

I'll walk where my own nature would be leading: It vexes me to choose another guide:

Where the gray flocks in ferny glens are feeding; Where the wild wind blows on the mountain side.

What have those lonely mountains worth revealing?
More glory and more grief than I can tell:
The earth that wakes one human heart to feeling
Can center both the worlds of Heaven and Hell.
Emily Brontë [1818-1848]


LISTEN to the Water-Mill;
Through the live-long day
How the clicking of its wheel
Wears the hours away!
Languidly the Autumn wind
Stirs the forest leaves,

From the field the reapers sing,
Binding up their sheaves;
And a proverb haunts my mind
As a spell is cast,

"The mill cannot grind
With the water that is past."

Autumn winds revive no more
Leaves that once are shed,
And the sickle cannot reap
Corn once gathered;
Flows the ruffled streamlet on,
Tranquil, deep, and still,
Never gliding back again
To the water-mill;
Truly speaks the proverb old,
With a meaning vast,-
"The mill cannot grind
With the water that is past."

Take the lesson to thyself
True and loving heart;
Golden youth is fleeting by,
Summer hours depart;

Learn to make the most of life,

Lose no happy day,

Time will never bring thee back
Chances swept away!

Leave no tender word unsaid,
Love while love shall last;
"The mill cannot grind
With the water that is past."

Work while yet the daylight shines,

Man of strength and will!
Never does the streamlet glide
Useless by the mill;

Wait not till to-morrow's sun
Beams upon thy way,

All that thou canst call thine own
Lies in thy "to-day";

Power and intellect and health

May not always last,

"The mill cannot grind
With the water that is past."

O the wasted hours of life

That have drifted by!

O the good that might have been,

Lost, without a sigh!

Love, that we might once have saved
By a single word,

Thoughts conceived, but never penned,
Perishing unheard;-

Take the proverb to thine heart,
Take, and hold it fast,-

"The mill cannot grind
With the water that is past."

Sarah Doudney [1843


I MADE a posy, while the day ran by:
Here will I smell my remnant out, and tie

My life within this band.

But Time did beckon to the flowers, and they
By noon most cunningly did steal away,

And withered in my hand.

My hand was next to them, and then my heart;
I took, without more thinking, in good part
Time's gentle admonition;

« VorigeDoorgaan »