Although he copyrighted it in , he distributed copies of it without a required copyright notice during and c. Max Ehrmann of Terre Haute, Indiana , wrote the work in the early s, starting in , but he did not use any title. He registered for his US copyright in via its first phrase. In he distributed the poem in the form of a Christmas card,  evidently entitling it "Desiderata" because a few days later he wrote in his Journal that a Kansas editor criticized his "Desiderata". The version was in the form of one long prose paragraph, so earlier and later versions were presumably also in that form. Long after the author's death in , hence not authorized by him, the work was partitioned into subparagraphs or stanzas. The text was widely distributed in poster form in the s and s.
Comments from the archive
As far as possible, without surrender, be on good terms with all persons. Speak your truth quietly and clearly; and listen to others, even to the dull and the ignorant; they too have their story. Avoid loud and aggressive persons; they are vexatious to the spirit. If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain or bitter, for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself. Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans. Keep interested in your own career, however humble; it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time. Exercise caution in your business affairs, for the world is full of trickery.
Desiderata Prints and Posters
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The common myth is that the Desiderata poem was found in a Baltimore church in and is centuries old, of unknown origin. Desiderata was in fact written around although some say as early as , and was copyrighted in , by lawyer Max Ehrmann based in Terre Haute, Indiana. The Desiderata song myth began after Reverend Frederick Kates reproduced the Desiderata poem in a collection of inspirational works for his congregation in on church notepaper, headed: 'The Old St Paul's Church, Baltimore, AD ' the year the church was founded. Copies of the Desiderata page were circulated among friends, and the myth grew, accelerated particularly when a copy of the erroneously attributed Desiderata text was found at the bedside of deceased Democratic politician Aidlai Stevenson in Lots of people debate the meaning and analysis of Desiderata, but whatever the history and meaning of it, Ehrmann's prose is inspirational and offers a simple positive credo for life. As far as possible, without surrender, be on good terms with all persons. Speak your truth quietly and clearly; and listen to others, even to the dull and the ignorant, they too have their story. Avoid loud and aggressive persons, they are vexations to the spirit.