I'd rather have my verses win
   A place in common peoples' hearts,
Who, toiling through the strife and din
   Of life's great thoroughfares and marts,

May read some line my hand has penned;
   Some simple verse, not fine, or grand,
But what their hearts can understand
   And hold me henceforth as a friend,--

I'd rather win such quiet fame
   Than by some fine thought, polished so
   But those of learned minds would know,
   Just what the meaning of my song,--
To have the critics sound my name
   In high-flown praises, loud and long.

I sing not for the critic's ear,
   But for the masses.  If they hear,
Despite the turmoil, noise and strife
Some least low note that gladdens life,
I shall be wholly satisfied,
Though critics to the end deride.

Poems of reflection. By Ella Wheeler Wilcox.
Chicago, M.A. Donohue & company [c1905].

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