By Amos Russel Wells
If he succeeds whose coffers, heaped with gold,
Are red with ruined and despairing lives,
The man who owns a mint to coin tears,
Expert to wring a farthing from a heart,—
Though all the world pay homage, all the world
Envy the wretch,—if this is to succeed,
My pride and all my hope shall be to fail!
If he succeeds who bids the magpie crowd,
Tossing his name upon its chattering tongues,
Talk, write, and dream of him, and they obey,
While he they praise, alive on lips of men,
Has breathed his soul into the bubble, fame,
And lives an empty life,—if he succeeds,
Be mine a life of failure to the end!
If he succeeds, the man of strenuous brain,
Skilled in the deeps and heights of many a lore,
Bent with the plundered wealth of libraries,
But ignorant of love, and ignorant
Of all the roses and the stars of life,—
Though men unite to wonder and applaud,
If this is called success, be mine defeat!
But these are not success; success it is
To front the angry tumult of a world
With Right for comrade; faithfully to work;
To wear contentment shining on the brow;
Above the gathered treasures of the globe
To reckon brotherhood. and make it mine,—
This is success, and this my prayer shall be.