Outward Bound Ideas

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Saturday, August 02, 2008

118. Desiderata by Max Ehrmann

The following info was copied from several blogs. I also found lots of minor differences on blog versions. My version is from Eileen Dunne in Lifelines, Letters From Famous People About Their Favourite Poem. She also says it was not written as a poem. Today, 2 Aug. 2008, 506,296 bloggers have added it to their blog. Amazing.
I am the the 506,297th.
Does anyone have a copy of the original version?


Desiderata authorship. (The word is Latin for "desired things)
Desiderata" was written in 1927 by Max Ehrmann (1872-1945). In 1956, the rector of Baltimore's St. Paul's Church anthologized it in a mimeographed pamphlet of inspirational writings for his congregation. Someone reprinting it later, separated from its original credit, erroneously described it as having been found in old St. Paul's Church dated 1692, misinterpreting the church letterhead. The year 1692 is in fact the founding date of St. Paul's Church and has nothing to do with the poem.
Mr. Ehrmann obtained a federal copyright (NO. 962402) on January 3, 1927.


Go placidly amid the noise and the haste, and remember what peace there may be in silence. As far as possible without surrender be on good terms with all persons. Speak your truth quietly and clearly; and listen to others, even to the dull and ignorant –– they too have their story. Avoid loud and aggressive persons; they are vexations to the spirit. If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain and bitter; for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself. Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans. Keep interested in your own career, however humble –– it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time. Exercise caution in your business affairs, for the world is full of trickery. But let this not blind you to what virtue there is; many persons strive for high ideals, and everywhere life is full of heroism. Be yourself, especially do not feign affection. Neither be cynical about love; for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment it is as perennial as the grass. Take kindly the counsel of the years, gracefully surrendering the things of youth. Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune. But do not distress yourself with imaginings. Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness. Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself.

You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars; you have a right to be here. And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should. Therefore, be at peace with God, whatever you conceive him to be. And whatever your labors and aspirations in the noisy confusion of life, keep at peace with your soul. With all its sham, drudgery and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world. Be careful. Strive to be happy.

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