Ella Wheeler Wilcox

(5 November 1850 - 30 October 1919 / Johnstown Center / Rock County / Wisconsin)

Noblesse Oblige


I hold it the duty of one who is gifted
And specially dowered I all men’s sight,
To know no rest till his life is lifted
Fully up to his great gifts’ height.

He must mould the man into rare completeness,
For gems are only in gold refined.
He must fashion his thoughts into perfect sweetness,
And cast out folly and pride from his mind.

For he who drinks from a god’s gold fountain
Of art of music or rhythmic song
Must sift from his soul the chaff of malice,
And weed from his heart the roots of wrong.

Great gifts should be worn, like a crown befitting,
And not like gems in a beggar’s hands!
And the toil must be constant and unremitting
Which lifts up the king to the crown’s demands.

Submitted: Monday, May 26, 2003

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