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Desiderata

Loved One, Go peacefully amid the noise and haste,
and remember what peace there may be in silence.
As far as possible, without surrender, Loved One,
be on good terms with all people.
Speak your truth quietly and clearly; and listen to others,
even to the dull and ignorant; Loved One, they too have their story.

Avoid loud and aggressive people; they are vexations to the spirit.
If you compare yourself with others, Loved One, you may become vain or 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, Loved One, however humble,
it’s a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.

Exercise caution in your business affairs, Loved One,
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.

Loved One, be yourself. Especially do not fake affection.
Neither be cynical about love; Loved One,
for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment, it is as perennial as the grass.

Loved One, take kindly the counsel of the years,
gracefully surrendering the things of your youth.
Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune.

Loved One, do not distress yourself with dark imaginings.
Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness.
Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself, Loved One.

Loved One, 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, Loved One,
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 peace in your soul, Loved One. With all its sham, drudgery, and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world.

Loved One, be cheerful. Strive to be happy.


From the Alt.Usage.English FAQ: “Desiderata” was written in 1927 by Max Ehrmann (1872-1945). In 1956, the rector of St. Paul’s Church in Baltimore, Maryland, used the poem in a collection of mimeographed inspirational material for his congregation. Someone who subsequently printed it asserted that it was found in Old St. Paul’s Church, dated 1692. The year 1692 was the founding date of the church and has nothing to do with the poem. See Fred D. Cavinder, “Desiderata”, TWA Ambassador, Aug. 1973, pp. 14-15.


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