One of President Theodore Roosevelt’s favorite poems was written by Senator John James Ingalls of Kansas. He kept a copy of the poem, “Opportunity,” in his office at the White House, and it seems to perfectly capture the life of the Rough Rider who became President of the United States.
by Senator John James Ingalls
Master of human destiny am I.
Fame, love, and fortune on my footsteps wait.
Cities and fields I walk. I penetrate
Deserts and seas remote; and, passing by,
I knock, unbidden, once at every gate!
If sleeping, wake; if feasting, rise before
I turn away. It is the hour of fate.
And they who follow me reach every state
Mortals desire; and conquer every foe
Save death. But those who doubt or hesitate,
Condemned to failure, penury and woe,
Seek me in vain and uselessly implore.
I answer not, and I return no more.