Every-day Thoughts in Prose and Verse
by Ella Wheeler Wilcox
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        Serenity is Power.
    "Every time we yield to an irritable impulse we find our-
selves out of harmony with the universe."
    Quick temper is an indication of a lack of men-
tal and moral culture.
    The ill-tempered Christian is not a Christian at
all, no matter what his faith may be.
    There is but one evidence, I believe, in all His
life that the gentle Christ ever showed even
righteous indignation.
    Anger is crude, and is an element of our early
savage ancestry, when men tore at each other like
    Many people imagine it is an evidence of a high
spirit to be quick-tempered.
    It is merely an indication of crudity.
    The highly cultured man never shows anger: the
man whose spiritual nature is highly developed
never feels it.  He is secure under all conditions.
    Many of us aim at this state, but few reach it.
Yet it is a goal worthy of a life-long effort.
    Every time we yield to an irritable impulse, we
put ourselves out of harmony with the universe.
    Every time we overcome such an impulse and re-
main calm, we bring ourselves nearer to divine law.
    We all know the miserable sense of humiliation
which follows after a burst of anger.  We feel an
indescribable emotion of abasement.   We have
stepped down from our own ideal of ourselves.  This
is true even of those who imagine that they believe
a quick temper to be an accomplishment.  That is
only an opinion acquired by a false education, while
the knowledge that anger is ignoble comes from the
Infinite.  The habit of ill-temper, once acquired,
is a difficult one to break.  It requires patience and
faith and character.
    Vanity, too, is an aid.  A girl who prided herself
upon always wearing becoming gowns and hats was
once rebuked by a friend for her quick temper.
    "Don't get in a temper over every little annoy-
ance," the friend said.  "It is so unbecoming.  It
quite spoils your looks when you are in such a
    The young woman had often been told her tem-
per was a sin and a vice, but she had never before
been made to feel that it was "unbecoming," like
an ugly hat or ill-fitting frock.
    She set about the task of controlling her temper,
and succeeded admirably.
    First, she controlled her speech, then she con-
trolled her appearance, and after a time she found
her feelings were controlling themselves.
    In one burst of anger we exhaust enough vitality
to take us through days of hardship and depriva-
tion, or to enable us to do some great deed of
courage and heroism.
    In little, continuous ill-tempers we dissipate our
strength as a leaking gas-main wastes its force,
poisoning the air with the element which should be
conserved for light and heat.
    "Serenity is power."
    Let us all remember the great truth contained in
those three words.
    The noisy thunder does nothing.  The silent
lightning strikes.
    The greatest possible aid to the control of the
temper is to remember that an exhibition of anger
is a vulgarity.
    Most of us would rather be vicious than vulgar.
The goal of serenity is far and high, and weary the
climb and many the fall; yet, up and on again, for
only by reaching it can we attain to the best use of
ourselves and our opportunities.

Every-day thoughts in prose and verse. by Ella Wheeler Wilcox
Chicago: W. B. Conkey Company, 1901.
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