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Bessie Anderson Stanley


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 left the world better than he found it 
whether by an improved poppy, 
a perfect poem or a rescued soul; 

who has never lacked appreciation of Earth's beauty 
or failed to express it; 

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. 

This poem is in the public domain.





Bessie Anderson Stanley (1879 - 1952), a resident of Kansas, wrote this for a magazine contest that asked, "What constitutes success?" Her entry won first place. Bessie's words are often erroneously attributed to Ralph Waldo Emerson and Robert Louis Stevenson, and often paraphrased,  but this is the original version.



Post New Comment:
#FAROUT Bessie died when I was 1 year old! reincarnation kinda...
Posted 04/05/2022 11:45 AM
FGTRTD: I find this almost as inspiration as this video.
Posted 03/20/2022 09:57 PM
Great choice for the day--so uplifting and profound! Janice
Posted 11/17/2016 10:51 PM
A win deserved.
Posted 11/17/2016 12:02 PM
Oh, this is wonderful...thank you so much for sharing the poem and the information.
Posted 11/16/2016 08:33 PM
Very good!
Posted 11/16/2016 06:39 PM
Kathleen Carlson:
What a kind and inspirational poem. I changed the persona to a woman and found females in my family, and among my friends and acquaintances whom I could describe as successes. Now I will try the poem on myself.
Posted 11/16/2016 04:29 PM
My brother-in-law just died. This is so true of him. KAB
Posted 11/16/2016 10:43 AM
Posted 11/16/2016 10:38 AM
Thank you for this poem, Jayne, it expresses ideals that resonate timelessly. Michael Escoubas
Posted 11/16/2016 09:58 AM
This is a perfect and refreshing piece for today, and any day. Thank you for sharing it, and for attributing it to its true author, too. :-)
Posted 11/16/2016 08:47 AM
She captures the essence of success!
Posted 11/16/2016 07:52 AM
A pure joy to begin a new day! Thanks Jayne.
Posted 11/16/2016 06:36 AM
Larry Schug:
I agree, Newf. Were she alive today, her words might reflect the times. Their may be some kind of universal "truth", but most of us are products of our times. None the less, the poem rings true in that small gestures may have large effects.
Posted 11/16/2016 06:27 AM
Beautiful,poem. Thoughtful words from an obviously intelligent woman. Sad that success, to her, was a man.
Posted 11/16/2016 05:47 AM

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