“To laugh often and love much” has always been one of my favorite quotes. I’ve seen so many different versions, including one written as prose, and wondered how that could be. And I’ve always thought they were the words of Ralph Waldo Emerson. Well, today I found out that the writing is not only misquoted, but is also misattributed.
I learned that it was indeed a poem, not prose. That it was written by Bessie Anderson Stanley. That she wrote it in 1904 for a contest by Brown Book Magazine. And that it was the winning entry. The prize? Cash. $250. Enough to pay off her home mortgage and more.
Here is Bessie Anderson Stanley’s “Success.”
He has achieved success
who has lived well,
laughed often, and loved much;
who has enjoyed the trust of pure women,
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.
Read about Bessie Anderson Stanley, told by her great-granddaughter.
In My Classroom
“Success” is a great mentor text for the power of three in writing.
In English, there is a power in three. Some refer to it as a pitchfork in writing, or as three-pronged writing. It is a technique that can be used to construct a thesis statement–a three-prong, parallel preview. It is a writing tool that can be used to combine sentences or to craft elaboration.
Here are my notes on Ms. Stanley’s use of the power of three in her poem.
Have you used the power of three in your writing?
If you have, please share it in the Comments.
Update. March 2017.
Check out this post on the Power of Three not only for writing but also in teaching and in living.