Desiderata by Max Ehrmann
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 vexatious 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 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 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.
Desiderata is a prose poem written by American writer Max Ehrmann (1872-1945) who was a lawyer. The original poem "Go Placidly Amid the Noise and the Haste" was written in 1927 and after Ehrmann's death, the poem was given a new title, "Desiderata" ((in Latin: desired things, meaning "things most needed") by his widow and his poems published in a collection in 1948. Largely unknown in the author's lifetime, the poem became widely known after its use for church sermons. After subsequently being found at Adlai Stevenson's (an American politician in the Democratic Party) deathbed in 1965, it was widely know with the recordings in 1971 and 1972.
It was first used by Rev Frederick Kates of St Paul´s Church in Baltimore in devotional materials he compiled for his congregation. On top of this material he had written "Old St paul´s Church, Baltimore A.C. 1692". The year was the foundation year of the church. Later when poem was found with this note this has caused public to think poem was ancient and written on the walls of the temple!...
In 1970, the rock group King Crimson used the poem to advertise their album Lizard. A record producer, Fred Werner, saw the advertisement and devised a musical setting for Les Crane, with a gospel choir intoning "You are a child of the universe". Leslie Stein (Les Crane), television presenter won international fame for his smooth-voiced, highly sentimental narration of "Desiderata" in 1971, a New Age anthem. The record was an international hit and won a Grammy for Best Spoken Word Recording of 1971. The makers of the record assumed that the poem was too old to be in copyright, but the publicity surrounding the record led to clarification of Ehrmann's authorship and his family eventually receiving royalties.
The parody of Les Crane record, "Deteriorata" was voiced by Norman Rose. The parody was written by Tony Hendra for National Lampoon, and was recorded as part of the National Lampoon Radio Dinner album, released in 1972. Melissa Manchester was a background singer on the chorus section of the song. Christopher Guest wrote the music. The word deteriorata is a portmanteau of "desiderata" and the verb to deteriorate.