The Sin of Omission

Original Text: 
The Home Book of Verse: American and English 1580-1920, ed. Burton Egbert Stevenson, 5th edn. (New York: Henry Holt, 1922): 2926-27. PR 1175 .S76 1922 Robarts Library
1It isn't the thing you do, dear;
2        It's the thing you leave undone,
3That gives you a bit of heartache
4        At setting of the sun.
5The tender word forgotten,
6        The letter you did not write,
7The flowers you did not send, dear,
8        Are your haunting ghosts to-night.
9The stone you might have lifted
10        Out of a brother's way,
11The bit of heartsome counsel
12        You were hurried too much to say;
13The loving touch of the hand, dear,
14        The gentle and winsome tone,
15Which you had no time nor thought for,
16        With troubles enough of your own.
17Those little acts of kindness,
18        So easily out of mind;
19Those chances to be angels
20        Which every one may find --
21They come in night and silence --
22        Each chill, reproachful wraith --
23When hope is faint and flagging
24        And a blight has dropped on faith.
25For life is all too short, dear,
26        And sorrow is all too great;
27To suffer our slow compassion
28        That tarries until too late;
29And it's not the thing you do, dear,
30        It's the thing you leave undone,
31Which gives you a bit of heartache
32        At the setting of the sun.
Publication Notes: 
Not known.
RPO poem Editors: 
Ian Lancashire
RPO Edition: 
2003
Rhyme: 
Form: