Who is the strong? Not he who puts to test
His sinews with the strong and proves the best;
But he who dwells where weaklings congregate,
And never lets his splendid strength abate.

Who is the good? Not he who walks each day
With moral men along the high, clean way;
But he who jostles gilded sin and shame,
Yet will not sell his honour or his name.

Who is the wise? Not he who from the start
With Wisdom's followers has taken part;
But he who looks in Folly's tempting eyes,
And turns away, perceiving her disguise.

Who is serene? Not he who flees his kind,
Some mountain fastness, or some cave to find;
But he who in the city's noisiest scene,
Keeps calm within--he only is serene.

Poems of Progress and New Thought Pastels by Ella Wheeler Wilcox.
London: Gay & Hancock, 1911.

Back to Poem Index