APPLAUSE

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.

Poetical works of Ella Wheeler Wilcox. by Ella Wheeler Wilcox
Edinburgh : W. P. Nimmo, Hay, & Mitchell, 1917.


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