Small Beginnings

By Charles Mackay

A traveler on the 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 his early vows;
And age was pleased, in heats 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 at the brink;
He thought not of the deed he did,
But judged that all might drink.
He paused again, and lo! the well,
By summer never dried,
Had cooled ten thousand parching tongues
And saved a life beside.

A dreamer dropped a random thought;
‘Twas old, and yet ’twas new;
A simple fancy of the brain,
But strong in being true.
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 shed its radiance far adown,
And cheers the valley still.

A nameless man, amid a 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.