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Desiderata
Go placidly amid the noise and 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 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, however humble, it's 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 disenchantement, it is as perrenial 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 dark 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 peace in your soul.
With all its sham, drudgery and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world. Be cheerful. Strive to be happy.

 
There's a story behind this beautifully written and well known piece.
This prose poem, originally untitled, was written by Max Ehrmann in Terre Haute, Indiana in the early 1920's. In 1921, Max Ehrmann wrote in his diary:
"I should like, if I could, to leave a humble gift--a bit of chaste prose that had caught up some noble moods," The result was Desiderata.
Mr. Ehrmann obtained a federal copyright (NO. 962402) on January 3, 1927. The copyright was bequeathed to his widow, Bertha, upon his death in 1945. Bertha Ehrmann renewed the copyright in 1954 then bequeathed it to her nephew, Richmond Wight, upon her death in 1962. Richmond Wight assigned the copyright for value to the Crescendo Publishing Co. in 1971 headed by Robert Bell.
Following publication of Desiderata by yet another publisher called Combined Registry Co., the Crescendo company instituted a lawsuit, Bell vs. Combined Registry Co. The court ruled in favor of the defendant--in short, because Max Ehrmann, although having secured a legal copyright and renewed same, had never properly or in any way attached a copyright notice on copies of Desiderata which he released for public domain--that is, it can by used by anyone.
Interesting highlights: In December of 1933, Mr. Ehrmann used Desiderata as part of a Christmas greeting sent to his friends. Thereafter, he received a letter from on Merrill Moore, dated July 20, 1942. Moore identified himself as a practicing psychiatrist on active duty with the U.S. Army. Quoting from his correspondence, "I Think you should know that nearly every day of my life I use your very fine prose poem Desiderata in my work--here I have found your philosophy useful and have given away a thousand copies in the last few years. A patient, a depressed woman, gave it to me once several years ago with no address attached---!"
Another written quote by Moore, "I have distributed the beautiful copies which you sent me and want to thank you for them again. I know that I shall carry Desiderata with me when I get there (E. Indies). I shall have it multigraphed for distribution to the soldiers if you have no objections.
Ehrmannís response in 1942, "Yes, of course, you may distribute multigraphed copies of Desiderata to the soldiers. I am happy to have at least this small part in your splendid work." Moore to Ehrmann at Thanksgiving, November 1944, "Also, I use Desiderata liberally and always find it helpful. Like a panacea (it cures everything) it should be bottled and sold as DR. EHRMANNíS MAGIC SOUL MEDICINE!!! I am continuing to use your priceless prose poem in my work."
Sometime between September 1, 1952 and 1956, A Rev. Frederick Kates, dean of St. Johnís Cathedral of Spokane, Washington came across a copy of Desiderata without a copyright notice. On June 1, 1956 Rev. Kates became the rector of St. Paulís Church, Baltimore. This church had been founded in 1692. During the Lenten season of 1959 or 1960 Rev. Kates included the poem on a sheet of devotional material he passed out to about 200 members of his congregation. At the top of the page of this handout containing the poem was the notation: "Old St. Paulís Church, Baltimore A.C. 1692." This explains the source of the erroneous attribution which appeared on many following publications of the prose poem Desiderata.
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