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Poem by Ella Wheeler Wilcox

Be Not Content

Be not content, contentment means inaction,
    The growing soul aches on its upward quest;
Satiety is twin to satisfaction--
    All great achievements spring from life's unrest.

The tiny roots, deep in the dark mould hiding,
    Would never bless the earth with leaf and flower
Were not an inborn restlessness abiding
    In seed and germ, to stir them with its power.

Were man contented with his lot forever,
    He had not sought strange seas with sails unfurled,
And the vast wonder of our shores had never
    Dawned on the gaze of an admiring world.

Prize what is yours, but be not quite contented,
    There is a healthful restlessness of soul
By which a mighty purpose is augmented
    In urging men to reach a higher goal.

So when the restless impulse rises, driving
    Your calm content before it, do not grieve;
It is the upward reaching of the spirit
    Of the God in you to achieve, achieve. 

Ella Wheeler Wilcox

Ella Wheeler Wilcox's other poems:
  1. Helen of Troy
  2. The Black Charger
  3. Bleak Weather
  4. At Forty-Eight
  5. The Plow of God

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