AT SET OF SUN
If we sit down at set of sun,
And count the things that we have done,
And counting, find
One self-denying act, one word
That eased the heart of him who heard,
One glance, most kind,
That fell like sunshine where it went—
Then we may count that day well spent.
Or, on the other hand, if we,
In looking through the day, can see
A place or spot
Where we an unkind act put down,
Or where we smiled when wont to frown,
Or crushed some thought
That cumbered the heart—ground where it stood—
Then we may count that day as good.
But if, through all the life-long day,
We’ve eased no heart by yea or nay;
If through it all
We’ve done no thing that we can trace,
That brought the sunshine to a face—
No act most small
That helped some soul, and nothing cost—
Then count that day as worse than lost.
by Ella Wheeler Wilcox
Shells by Ella Wheeler Wilcox
Milwaukee: Hauser & Storey, 1873.