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It shone upon a genial mind,
And, lo! its light became
A monitory flame:
A watch-fire on the hill,
And cheers the valley still.
A nameless man, amid the crowd
That thronged the daily mart,
Unstudied from the heart;-
A transitory breath,-
It saved a soul from death.
O thought at random cast!
Charles Mackay (1814–1889)
THE SIN OF OMISSION
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 letter you did not write,
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.
För life is all too short, dear,
And sorrow is all too great;
That tarries until too late;
It's the thing you leave undone,
Margaret Sangster (1838–
ONCE in a golden hour
I cast to earth a seed.
The people said, a weed.
To and fro they went
Through my garden-bower,
Cursed me and my flower.
Then it grew so tall
It wore a crown of light,
Stole the seed by night;
Sowed it far and wide
By every town and tower,
“Splendid is the flower.”
For all have got the seed.
And some are pretty enough,
And some are poor indeed;
Alfred Tennyson (1809-18921
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.
And not in paths of high morality,
The clouded forms of long-past history.
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] THE LESSON OF THE WATER-MILL
LISTEN to the Water-Mill;
Autumn winds revive no more
Take the lesson to thyself
Work while yet the daylight shines,
O the wasted hours of life
Sarah Doudney (1843–
I MADE a posy, while the day ran by:
My life within this band.
And withered in my hand.
My hand was next to them, and then my heart;
Time's gentle admonition;