If (Wilcox)

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by Ella Wheeler Wilcox

   ’Twixt what thou art, and what thou wouldst be, let
   No “If” arise on which to lay the blame.
   Man makes a mountain of that puny word,
   But, like a blade of grass before the scythe,
   It falls and withers when a human will,
   Stirred by creative force, sweeps toward its aim.

   Thou wilt be what thou couldst be. Circumstance
   Is but the toy of genius. When a soul
   Burns with a god-like purpose to achieve,
   All obstacles between it and its goal
   Must vanish as the dew before the sun.

   “If” is the motto of the dilettante
   And idle dreamer; ’tis the poor excuse
   Of mediocrity. The truly great
   Know not the word, or know it but to scorn,
   Else had Joan of Arc a peasant died,
   Uncrowned by glory and by men unsung.

by Ella Wheeler Wilcox

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