...who has lived well, laughed often and loved much; who has gained 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." -Bessie Stanley, 1905
Hello Friday, nice to see you again. And September... Where the heck did you come from? Regardless, happy to have you both. Sunshine, thank you for joining the party. It would be terribly dull without you.
The weeks go quickly and if I don't take a moment to appreciate the small moments that comprise them, I may miss something special. The angst of young adulthood sometimes leaves me a bit on edge, though.
That's why I love, love, love this quote. A few read throughs, and five deep breathes and I am back in a happy place. To whom do I owe my thanks? I was interested to know more about the woman this consoling declaration is attributed to. A Google search of Bessie Stanley revealed a series of entries about this poem but little else.
Thanks to this nifty website, I read the history behind the poem Success. It was commonly credited incorrectly to the prolific Ralph Waldo Emerson. According to Bessie's great granddaughter, the poem was the winning entry in a contest run by Brown Book Magazine in 1904. The winnings of $250, back then was enough to pay off the author's mortgage and then some. My, how things have changed.
There were no other books or projects by Bessie Stanley widely publicized. Sure the early 1900's lacked the same, robust methods of documentation we have these days. Nonetheless, her name is not readily recognized, nor can I seem to find other things she left behind. Just this brief paragraph, which in essence does exactly what she defines as a "success".
Thank you, Bessie. You've done well.
With much love,