To Life

by Ella Rhoads Higginson 



AKE not endeavor from me. To the last
Give me the quick blood and the eager heart;
The ecstasy of striving; and the smart
Of failure’s needles pricking fine and fast
To goad me to achievement. Unaghast,
Let me endure to tread, alone, apart—
Led by the soft, compelling hand of Art—
The paths by which lone, toiling ones have passed.

Yea, let me joy and suffer, live and love;
Soar boundless heights on Aspiration’s wing,
Or speak to God in wide and desolate plains.
Let me know all! The quiet of the dove;
The sage’s wisdom; and the exquisite sting
Of liquid fire-drops burning in my veins.


(published in The Vanishing Race and Other Poems, 1911)


ELLA RHOADS HIGGINSON (January 28, 1862?-December 27, 1940) was a prominent American author. She wrote award-winning fiction, poetry, and essays characteristically set in the Pacific Northwest region of the United States. She was the author of two collections of short stories, six books of poetry, a novel, a travel book, well over one hundred short stories, over four hundred poems, and numerous newspaper essays. She was influential for the ways her writing drew international attention to the then little-known Pacific Northwest region of the United States.


Bio quoted from Dr. Laura Laffrado’s Western Washington University research page at