A traveler 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 parched 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 of 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 hope!
O thought at random cast!
Ye were but little at the first,
But mighty at the last.
by Charles MacKay