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Desiderata

Intro

Some think that the Desiderata (something desired as essential) was found at Old St. Paul's Church in Baltimore and to date to 1692. It was actually written in 1927 by Max Ehrmann (1872-1945), a lawyer from Terre Haute, Indiana. Like most of Ehrmann's writings, Desiderata failed to attract much attention during his lifetime, but three years after his death, his widow had it and some of his other works published as The Poems of Max Ehrmann. The Desiderata is one of these poems, located at page 195.

During the Lenten season of 1959 or 1960, Rev. Frederick Kates, the rector of St. Paul's Church in Baltimore, Maryland, used the poem in a collection of mimeographed devotional material for his congregation. Someone reprinting it later, separated from its original credit, erroneously describing it as having been found in old St. Paul's Church and dated as written in 1692, misinterpreting the date on the church letterhead. The year 1692 is actually the founding date of St. Paul's Church and has nothing to do with the poem.

Desiderata

Go placidly amid the noise and the 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 the 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 is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time. 
Exercise caution in your business affairs, for the world is full of trickery. But let not this 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 disenchantment it is as perennial 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.

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