True Greatness Often Dies
When the World’s Applause Sounds
Ella Wheeler Wilcox
I hold it one of the sad certain laws
Which make our failures sometimes seem more kind
Than that success which brings sure loss behind –
True greatness dies, when sounds the world’s applause.
Fame blights the object it would bless, because
Weighed down with men’s expectancy, the mind
Can no more soar to those far heights, and find
That freedom which its inspiration was.
When once we listen to its noisy cheers
Or hear the populace’ approval, then
We catch no more the music of the spheres,
Or walk with gods and angels, but with men.
Till, impotent from our self-conscious fears,
The plaudits of the world turn into sneers.
The above poem was reproduced from the book “Poetical Works of Ella Wheeler Wilcox”, by Ella Wheeler Wilcox, Edinburgh, UK, W. P. Nimmo, Hay, & Mitchell, undated edition, probably 1917, see p. 147.
Click to see other writings by Ella Wheeler Wilcox.