Quotes Uncovered: Did Emerson Define Success?
Nine weeks ago, I invited readers to submit quotations for which they wanted me to try to trace the origins, using The Yale Book of Quotations and more recent research by me. Scores of people have responded via comments or e-mails. I am responding as best I can, one or two per week.
I have the following quote in a frame and it’s attributed to Emerson, but I’ve since learned that probably isn’t accurate. Could you provide more details?
To laugh often and much; to win the respect of 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 even one life has breathed easier because you have lived. This is to have succeeded.
The Yale Book of Quotations has the following under Bessie A. Stanley:
“He has achieved success who has lived well, laughed often, and loved much; who has enjoyed the trust of pure women, the respect of intelligent men and the love of little children; who has filled his niche and accomplished his task; who has left the world better than he found it, whether by an improved poppy, a perfect poem, or a rescued soul; who has never lacked appreciation of earth’s beauty or failed to express it; who has always looked for the best in others and given them the best he had; whose life was an inspiration; whose memory is a benediction.”
Quoted in John Bartlett, Familiar Quotations, 11th edition (1937). [It was] often said to be by Ralph Waldo Emerson and to be titled “Success.” In fact, however, it was written in 1905 by Stanley and was the first-prize winner in a contest sponsored by the magazine Modern Women. Anthony W. Shipps wrote in Notes and Queries in 1976: “The versions printed in the two local newspapers in 1905 do not agree, and in the many later appearances in print which I have seen, the wording has varied somewhat. However, the essayist’s son, Judge Arthur J. Stanley Jr., of Leavenwroth, writes me that the correct text is the one given in the 11th edition (1937) of Bartlett’s Familiar Quotations.”
Do any readers have any other quotations whose origins they would like me to attempt to trace?