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.


Shells by Ella Wheeler Wilcox
Milwaukee: Hauser & Storey, 1873.

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