OUTPACE Uncategorized Line By Line analysis of Desiderata by Max Ehrmann || ISC 11 and 12 || ENGLISH LITERATURE || POEMS

Line By Line analysis of Desiderata by Max Ehrmann || ISC 11 and 12 || ENGLISH LITERATURE || POEMS

Stanza One

Go placidly
amid the noise and haste,

and remember what peace there may be in

  A realm of tranquillity
is assured in these lines. The poet advises us to keep poise or ‘ Go placidly’
amid the humdrum of life. Then the poet hints at that it is not easy to achieve
internal peace. Poet implies us to ‘ remember’, which means the knowledge or
the experience is not unknown. Sometimes, we get so lost in our frenzy that we
forget to enjoy the simple pleasures of “peace”. So, we are advised to keep
calm and welcome peace in our lives.



far as possible without surrender

be on good terms with all persons.
Speak your truth quietly and clearly;

The poem advises us to “ be on good terms with all” nonetheless
of any complains. Voicing the truth quietly and distinctly is implied. We must
fight for the truth “ without surrender” and be receptive to what others say. “
quietly” implies that the truth should not be imposed on others and that “
clearly” denotes that those who are genuine listeners will always value the

listen to others,

even the dull and the ignorant;
they too have their story.


Even the “dull” and
the “ ignorant” may have their own story to tell. The poet advises us to give
respect to others the same respect we expect for ourselves. It is not
always that we are assured to gain insight from such conversations but still we
should be calm and respect others.

In other words, we
should rise above all prejudices in our interpersonal relations and be truthful
and candid.


Stanza Two

loud and aggressive persons,

they are vexations to the spirit.
If you compare yourself with others,

may become vain and bitter;


There are a no. of foul-mouthed
and aggressive persons in the world. We should avoid those people as they are vicious
to our soul.  Throughout the poem
Desiderata,the poet advises us to stay calm which is vital for achieving peace.
Those “aggressive” lot always try to be dominant but we should such turmoil in
order to achieve inner peace.

On the other hand, we
are advised to be content within ourselves and avoid comparing with others.
Comparisons are indeed odious. They make us feel disheartened and force us to
become “ vain” and “ bitter”. The better thing is that we should relish our
plans and achievements.

always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.

Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans.

There are always
people who are greater or inferior than us. But thinking the latter will turn
us arrogant while the former will demean us resentful. So, as the poem
suggests, be calm and enjoy your own achievement and endeavours. Savouring our
hard work makes the effort worth it.

Stanza Three

interested in your own career, however humble;

it is a real possession in the changing
fortunes of time.

 The poet nudges us to remain
interested in our job or profession, however small it may be. Taking an active
interest in our work ensures success. This is the “ real possession” in the
times of changing fortune.


caution in your business affairs;

for the world is full of trickery.
But let this not blind you to what virtue
there is;

In managing our business affairs, we need to exert caution as the world
is full of tricksters. They will not leave a stone unturned to drag us down.
But on the sam, we should not be overcautious as the world is not devoid of
virtuous persons. We can find heroism in equal measures “ virtue there is”.

persons strive for high ideals;

and everywhere life is full of heroism.

There are many who
try to achieve high and noble ideals in life, and who are courageous. We should
not overlook this moral fact and give deserving respect to them in this way we
can achieve the highest pedestal of our career and subsequently motivate


Stanza Four


Especially, do not feign affection.

The poet advises us to refrain from imitating others
and “ be yourself”.We should always be what we are. Peer pressure, societal
norms, personal constraints should not devoid us from being ourselves. For
peace in oneself, never “ feign affection” or pretend to be someone else.

be cynical about love;

for in the face of all aridity and

it is as perennial as the grass.

We shall never be pretentious or cynical about love.
For love is eternal solace and fresh that is “ as perennial as the grass”. Its
consistency puts the world in place amidst all the dryness and disillusionment
in this world. Even if faced with “ aridity 
and disenchantment”, love will
always emerge victorious and continue its eternal journey. The poet’s idea
behind the use of this simile is the unconditional nature of love – which is

Stanza Five

kindly the counsel of the years,

gracefully surrendering the things of youth.

The poem advises us to grow old gracefully and leave
all the pretentious stuff. He suggests us to cling to youthful memories of the
past and strength your spirit in order to guide us from misfortune. “ Counsel
of years” implies the experience gained from elders and the rolling years.

strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune.

But do not distress yourself with dark

Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness.
Beyond a wholesome discipline,
be gentle with yourself.

We should cultivate strength to deal cope with sudden
misfortunes. Avoid getting disturbed from things that have happened as they
can’t be altered. But we should not be overpowered with “ dark imaginings” as
fears are the product of fatigue and loneliness. Therefore, he directs s to
consciously defer from such thoughts  We
should be “gentle” with ourselves and not overdo things and try to accept our situation.

Stanza Six

are a child of the universe,

no less than the trees and the stars;
you have a right to be here.

The poet here reminds us that we are as much part of
the universe as trees and stars. We encompass the same right as any others in
this universe. On scientific terms, we are made from the same elements as any
other thing in this universe –nitrogen, carbon, oxygen.  Each of us is meant to be here as destined by
nature and fate.

whether or not it is clear to you,

no doubt the universe is unfolding as it

Whatever is occurring is taking place according to a
plan, whether we know it or not. There is always a definite unknown reason for
things to happen even though we may not be able to comprehend them. In other
words, “ the universe is unfolding as it should”.


Stanza Seven

be at peace with God,

whatever you conceive Him to be

The poet informs us against contending with  God. We should submit to God and let thing
unfold gradually. Always be “ at peace” with God as he is the supreme power
judging our actions and the one with whom our conscience converted with.

whatever your labors and aspirations,

in the noisy confusion of life keep peace with
your soul.

Life is full of jumbled things- often unpredictable,
random and interlinked Our thoughts and deed are the reactions of the efforts.
No matter how hard we strive to achieve our dreams yet keeping “ peace” within
ourselves is advisable.


Stanza Eight

all its sham, drudgery, and broken dreams,

it is still a beautiful world.

The poet here upholds the fact that there is a lot of
hypocrisy, hard boring labour and disenchantment in our world. But the brighter
part of this world should also be addressed. The world is truly a place of
beauty and charm if only we allow us to discover this.



Strive to be happy

Despite these negativity, the world is a beautiful and
enchanting place to live in. Desiderata tells us to be “ cheerful” and         “ Strive to be happy”. Happiness is not
a state but a feeling on the same note peace is the thing that one should”
strive to be happy”.

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