Sunday, 20 April 2008


Like so many others, I have attributed the poem "Success" to Ralph Waldo Emerson. It would seem, from the many e-mails that I have received, that I am mistaken.

"Success" was written as the winning entry in a contest run by the Brown Book Magazine, Boston in 1904 and "Bessie" Stanley won a cash prize of $250. Her poem was included in Bartlett's Book of Quotations for decades until they removed it in the 1960s.

He has achieved success who has lived well, laughed often, and loved much;
Who has enjoyed the trust of pure women, the respect of intelligent men and the love of little children;
Who has filled his niche and accomplished his task;
Who has never lacked appreciation of Earth's beauty or failed to express it;
Who has left the world better than he found it,
Whether an improved poppy, a perfect poem, or a rescued soul;
Who has always looked for the best in others and given them the best he had;
Whose life was an inspiration;
Whose memory a benediction.

Elisabeth Anne “Bessie” Anderson Stanley (1904)

“I wish you success in your fight and struggle. I hope that you might achieve better success than I have done and that my words, advice and humour can provide you with some support and inspiration.”

“Like the "Starfish Thrower" and the ethos of the poem "Success"; if I have helped just one person then I have succeeded.”

“Good luck and ‘Don’t Quit’ - ever !”