Success by Bessie Anderson Stanley 1904

Success by Bessie Anderson Stanley 1904

Success by Bessie Anderson Stanley 1904

Below is the poem, ‘Success,’ written by Bessie Anderson Stanley in 1904. You may find it somewhat similar to another poem that was widely attributed to Ralph Waldo Emerson but disputable. It was Emerson’s version which I first came across many years ago. But today, I would like to share with you the version by Bessie. Although it is important to give credit where it is due, even more important is the similar message behind both versions. What is your definition of success?

Success by Bessie Anderson Stanley

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.

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Photo credit: Sasin Tipchai

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24 thoughts on “Success by Bessie Anderson Stanley 1904

    1. Symphony of Love Post author

      @ Hilary, most people may have come across the Success version by Emerson. It was my first time coming across the version by Bessie too. After going through some sites in Google, I have decided to post the version by Bessie instead. Indeed, the poem dreams a big dream for us – to be a better person.

  1. Megan "JoyGirl!" Bord

    I love the message behind this poem (have since the first time I read it). Recently, I’ve taken a long look at how I define lots of things in my life, success being one of them. Whether it’s success at earning money, success in relationships, or success as a human being. I’m giving up many of society’s definitions and making my own – ones that come from the heart. They fit me better, anyway, and bring me more joy.
    Love & happiness to you always!
    .-= Megan “JoyGirl!” Bord´s last blog ..Funny Cookies =-.

  2. Ben

    Very cool poem. Perfect for the new year, thinking about life and how to best live it. I love the picture at the front as well. Definitely made me chuckle.

  3. Penny

    I love this line ‘who has left the world better than he found it’ as well as the line that says to look to the best in others. This is something I do believe, but I must admit I find hard to live by sometimes. I’m working on it 🙂

    And,in answer to your question, success for me means learning, making a difference and improving myself as I learn.
    .-= Penny´s last blog ..Facelift for Marmalade Skies =-.

    1. Symphony of Love Post author

      @ Megan, yes, you are right. We don’t have to be the norm. Being the norm can be stress and unfruitful. We need to know what we want and what make us happy. If we know that, we can have our own definition of success.

      @ Ben, glad that you like the poem.

      @ Penny, yes, i like both of the lines too. Glad to see you around again.

      @ Meleah, indeed; it is inspiring.

      @ Fatima, I like your definition of joy, peace and happiness in all areas of life. That is the balance we can all work towards to.

      @ Tj, glad that you like it. 🙂

  4. Jacqueline

    Dear BK, this is such a lovely and inspirational poem. Thank you so much for sharing and thank you for your ovely birthday wishes! Made me soo happy! Have a lovely merry start of the week and love ot you!
    .-= Jacqueline´s last blog ..Today is the day… =-.

  5. Jude

    Happy New Year to ya BK. I hope your holidays were joyful and filled with love. Thank-you for your comments and friendship.

    The poem was beautiful and as far as the way I define success I look more at the survivors of life and all the experiences and sorrows they may have endured and are still able to keep going on.
    .-= Jude´s last blog ..Cost Of Dying Could Give You A Heart Attack =-.

  6. One of The Guys

    Success is such a subjective term that each person must define it for themselves.

    I used to think it had to do with performing well in my career, then I thought it had something to do with my personal mission, now I think success is all about truly enjoying what life has to offer and focusing on the positive.
    .-= One of The Guys´s last blog ..Just hold the damn door! =-.

    1. Symphony of Love Post author

      @ One of the Guys, success is indeed a very subjective term and can differ from person to person. And that is why each individual must live up to their own definition of success and not to the definition of others.

  7. Belinda Munoz

    Hi there! So glad to have crossed paths with you and I look forward to clicking around. I love the love quote of the day feature on your site.

    This is a beautiful poem and a wonderful reminder that we are multi-faceted beings with depth, spirit and a tremendous capacity for good.