I do not ask a store of wealth,
 Nor special gift of power;
I hope always for strength and health
 To brave each troubled hour.
But life would be distinctly good,
 However low my place is,
Had I a memory that could
 Remember names and faces.
 
I am not troubled by the fact
 That common skill is mine;
I care not that my life has lacked
 The glory of the fine.
But, oh, when someone speaks to me,
 My cheeks grow red with shame
Because I’m sure that he must see
 That I have lost his name.
 
Embarrassment, where’er I go,
 Pursues me night and day;
I hear some good friend’s glad ‘Hello,’
 And stop a word to say.
His voice melodiously may ring,
 But that’s all lost on me,
For all the time I’m wondering
 Whoever can he be.
 
I envy no man’s talent rare
 Save his who can repeat
The names of men, no matter where
 It is they chance to meet.
For he escapes the bitter blow,
 The sorrow and regret,
Of greeting friends he ought to know
 As though they’d never met.
 
I do not ask a store of gold,
 High station here, or fame;
I have no burning wish to hold
 The popular acclaim;
Life’s lanes I’d gladly journey through,
 Nor mind the stony places,
Could I but do as others do
 And know men’s names and faces!

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