Verse > Anthologies > The World’s Best Poetry > Vol. IV. The Higher Life
Bliss Carman, et al., eds.  The World’s Best Poetry.
Volume IV. The Higher Life.  1904.
III. Faith: Hope: Love: Service
A Deed and a Word
Charles Mackay (1814–1889)
A LITTLE stream 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        5
  A ladle at the brink;
He thought not of the deed he did,
  But judged that all might drink.
He passed again, and lo! the well,
  By summer never dried,        10
Had cooled ten thousand parching tongues,
  And saved a life beside.
A nameless man, amid a crowd
  That thronged the daily mart,
Let fall a word of hope and love,        15
  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.        20
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.

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