I care not who were vicious back of me,
    No shadow of their sins on me is shed.
My will is greater than heredity.
    I am no worm to feed upon the dead.

My face, my form, my gestures and my voice,
    May be reflections from a race that was.
But this I know, and knowing it, rejoice,
    I am Myself, a part of the Great Cause.

I am a spirit! Spirit would suffice,
    If rightly used, to set a chained world free.
Am I not stronger than a mortal vice
    That crawls the length of some ancestral tree?

Picked Poems. by Ella Wheeler Wilcox
Chicago: W. B. Conkey Company, 1912.

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