Calm as some tempest-beaten rock__
When some great trouble hurls its shock;
We say of him, his strength is proved:
But, when the spent storm folds its wings,
How bears he then Life's little things?
About his brow we twine our wreath
Who seeks the battle's thickest smoke,
Braves flashing gun and sabre-stroke,
And scoffs at danger, laughs at death;
We praise him till the whole land rings;
But__is he brave in little things?
We call him great who does some deed
That echo bears from shore to shore,__
Does that, and then does nothing more:
Yet would this work earn richer meed,
When brought before the King of kings,
Were he but great in little things.
We closely guard our castle-gates
When great temptations loudly knock,
Draw every bolt, clinch every lock,
And sternly fold our bars and gates:
Yet some small door wide open swings
At the sly touch of little things!
I can forgive__'tis worth my while__
The treacherous blow, the cruel thrust;
Can bless my foe, as Christians must,
While Patience smiles her royal smile:
Yet quick resentment fiercely slings
Its shots of ire at little things.
And I can tread beneath my feet
The hills of Passion's heaving sea,
When wind-tossed waves roll stormily:
Yet scarce resist the siren sweet
That at my heart's door softly sings
"Forget, forget Life's little things."
But what is Life? Drops make the sea;
And petty cares and small events,
Small causes and small consequents,
Make up the sum for you and me:
Then, O for strength to meet the stings
That arm the points of little things!
__Ellen P. Allerton.
Walls of Corn and Other Poems
Ellen P. Allerton
(Hiawatha, KS: Harrington Printing Company. 1894)