Ralph Waldo Emerson

(1803 - 1882 / Boston / United States)

To Laugh Often And Much - Poem by Ralph Waldo Emerson

To laugh often and much;

to win the respect of the intelligent people

and the affection of children;

to earn the appreciation of honest critics

and endure the betrayal of false friends;

to appreciate beauty;

to find the best in others; 

to leave the world a bit better

whether by a healthy child,
a garden patch,
or a redeemed social condition;

to know that one life has breathed easier 

because you lived here.

This is to have succeeded.

Topic(s) of this poem: funeral


Comments about To Laugh Often And Much by Ralph Waldo Emerson

  • Bruce Johnson (2/10/2017 10:10:00 PM)


    Great little piece, but Emerson never wrote it. The original was written by Bessie Anderson Stanley in 1904 (for an essay competition in which it garnered the first place award) , and is even posted on this site: https: //www.poemhunter.com/poem/success-50/. This version was then derived from her original (Report) Reply

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Poem Submitted: Monday, March 9, 2015



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