A little, ’tis a little word,
But much may in it dwell;
Then let the warning truth be heard:
O learn the lesson well.
The way of ruin thus begins,
Down, down, like easy stairs,
If conscience suffers little sins,
Soon larger ones it bears.
A little theft, a small deceit,
Too often leads to more;
’Tis hard at first, but tempts the feet,
As through an open door.
Just as the broadest rivers run
From small and distant springs,
The greatest crimes that men have done
Have grown from little things.
The child who early disobeys,
Stands now on slippery ground;
And who shall tell, in future days,
How low he may be found?