The Desiderata

Go placidly amide 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 clearly and quietly, and listen to others, even the dull and ignorant; they too have their story. Avoid loud and aggressive persons, they are vexations to the spirit. If you compare yourself to others you may become vain and bitter, for always there will be greater and lesser persons that yourself.


Enjoy your achievements as well as your possessions 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, graceful surrendering the things of youth. Nurture the strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune. But do not distress yourself with 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 he stars; you have the 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 labours and aspirations, in the noise confusion of life, keep peace with your soul. With all its shams, drudgery, and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world! Be careful. Strive to be happy.


Found in St Pauls Church, Baltimore,

Dated 1692. Anonymous

As appearing in the final pages of

Theos Odyssey by Catherine Clement "

Who Wrote Desiderata ?

Written by Max Ehrmann in the 1920s -

Not "Found in Old St. Paul's Church in 1692" ???

The Confused History of "Desiderata"

The author is apparently Max Ehrmann, a poet and lawyer from Terre Haute, Indiana, who lived from 1872 to 1945.

Around 1959, the Rev. Frederick Kates, the rector of St. Paul's Church in Baltimore, Maryland, used the poem in a collection of devotional materials he compiled for his congregation. At the top of the handout was the notation, "Old St. Paul's Church, Baltimore A.C. 1692." The church was founded in 1692.

As the material was handed from one friend to another, the authorship became clouded. Copies with the "Old St. Paul's Church" notation were printed and distributed liberally in the years that followed. It is perhaps understandable that a later publisher would interpret this notation as meaning that the poem itself was found in Old St. Paul's Church, dated 1692. This notation no doubt added to the charm and historic appeal of the poem, despite the fact that the actual language in the poem suggests a more modern origin.

As of 1977, the rector of St. Paul's Church was not amused by the confusion. Having dealt with the confusion "40 times a week for 15 years," he was sick of it.

This misinterpretation has only added to the confusion concerning whether or not the poem is in the public domain.

By the way, Desiderata is Latin for "Things to be Desired."

The above and further detail can be found at and thanks to Bro Alfredo for supplying the link !

(When first read it I thought it sounded VERY Masonic... I wondered if Max Ehrmann was a Freemason ?? I have done some research on this and the answer appears to be "No". Any further light on the issue of authorship would be appreciated. It certainly sounds Masonic and I would love to know if it is !

Regards, The Editor....