Us A Message
placidly amid the noise and haste, and remember what peace there may be
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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
all its sham, drudgery and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world.
Be cheerful. Strive to be happy.
a story behind this beautifully written and well known piece.
prose poem, originally untitled, was written by Max Ehrmann in Terre
Haute, Indiana in the early 1920's. In 1921, Max Ehrmann wrote in
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.
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.
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.
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---!"
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
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."
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.