I know two of this earth's singers; one longed to climb and stand
Upon the heights o'er looking the peaceful lower land,
"There where great souls have gathered, the few great souls of earth,
I'll sing my songs," he told us, "and they will own their worth.
"But if I sang them only to those who love the plain
They would not understand them, and I would sing in vain.
Oh, better far to sing them to earth's great souls, though few,
Than to sing them to the many who ne'er one great thought knew."
So he climbed the heights, and on them sang, and those who heard—
Earth's few great souls, ah, never they gave one longed-for word,
For the mighty thoughts within them filled each one's soul and brain,
And few among them listened to the music of his strain.
But the other singer sang to the toilers in the vale,
The patient, plodding many, who strive, and win, and fail.
His songs of faith and gladness, of hope and trust and cheer,
Were sweet with strength and comfort, and men were glad to hear.
Little this valley singer knew of the good he wrought;
He dreamed not of the courage that from his songs was caught—
Of the hearts that were made lighter, the hands that stronger grew,
As they listened to his singing to the many, not to few.
He who sang upon the mountains was forgotten long ago—
Not one song of his remembered as the swift years come and go.
But the dwellers in the valley sing the other's sweet songs o'er,
And as his grave grows greener they love them more and more.