Robert William Service

(16 January 1874 - 11 September 1958 / Preston)

Success - Poem by Robert William Service

You ask me what I call Success -
It is, I wonder, Happiness?

It is not wealth, it is not fame,
Nor rank, nor power nor honoured name.
It is not triumph in the Arts -
Best-selling books or leading parts.
It is not plaudits of the crowd,
The flame of flags, processions proud.
The panegyrics of the Press
are but the mirage of Success.
You may have all of them, my friend,
Yet be a failure in the end.

I've know proud Presidents of banks
Who've fought their way up from the ranks,
And party leaders of renown
Who played as boys in Shantytown.
Strong, self-made men, yet seek to trace
Benignity in any face;
Grim purpose, mastery maybe,
Yet never sweet serenity;
Never contentment, thoughts that bless -
That mellow joy I deem Success.

The haply seek some humble hearth,
Quite poor in goods yet rich in mirth,
And see a man of common clay
Watching his little ones at play;
A laughing fellow full of cheer,
Health, strength and faith that mocks at fear;
Who for his happiness relies
On joys he lights in other eyes;
He loves his home and envies none. . . .
Who happier beneath the sun?

Aye, though he walk in lowly ways,
Shining Success has crowned his days.

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Read poems about / on: success, happiness, faith, strength, power, friend, joy, fear, home, sun

Poem Submitted: Monday, January 13, 2003

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