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I saw the spirit that had urged him on,
The courage that had held him through the fight
Had once been mine, I thought, "Can it be gone?"
He felt that unasked question - felt it so
His pale lips formed the one-word answer, "No!"

* * * * *

Too late to win? No! Not too late for me -
He is the Man that Still I Mean to Be!

_Everard Jack Appleton._

From "The Quiet Courage."


Men too often act as if life were nothing more than hardships to be
endured and difficulties to be overcome. They look upon what is happy or
inspiring with eyes that really fail to see. As Wordsworth says of Peter

"A primrose by the river's brim
A yellow primrose was to him,
And it was nothing more."

But to stop now and then and realize that the world is fresh and buoyant
and happy, will do much to keep the spirit young. We should be glad that
we are alive, should tell ourselves often in the words of Charles Lamb:
"I am in love with this green earth."

The south wind is driving
His splendid cloud-horses
Through vast fields of blue.
The bare woods are singing,
The brooks in their courses
Are bubbling and springing
And dancing and leaping,
The violets peeping.
I'm glad to be living:
Aren't you?

_Gamaliel Bradford._


An old lady, famous for her ability to find in other people traits that
she could commend, was challenged to say a good word for the devil.
After a moment's hesitation she answered, "You must at least give him
credit for being industrious." Perhaps it is this superactivity of Satan
that causes beings less wickedly inclined to have such scope for the
exercise of their qualities. Certain it is that nobody need hang back
from want of something to do, to promote, to assail, to protect, to
endure, or to sympathize with.

There will always be something to do, my boy;
There will always be wrongs to right;
There will always be need for a manly breed
And men unafraid to fight.
There will always be honor to guard, my boy;
There will always be hills to climb,
And tasks to do, and battles new
From now till the end of time.

There will always be dangers to face, my boy;
There will always be goals to take;
Men shall be tried, when the roads divide,
And proved by the choice they make.
There will always be burdens to bear, my boy;
There will always be need to pray;
There will always be tears through the future years,
As loved ones are borne away.

There will always be God to serve, my boy,
And always the Flag above;
They shall call to you until life is through
For courage and strength and love.
So these are things that I dream, my boy,
And have dreamed since your life began:
That whatever befalls, when the old world calls,
It shall find you a sturdy man.

_Edgar A. Guest._

From "The Path to Home."


Thinking you would like a square meal will not in itself earn you one.
Thinking you would like a strong body will not without effort on your
part make you an athlete. Thinking you would like to be kind or
successful will not bring you gentleness or achievement if you stop with
mere thinking. The arrows of intention must have the bow of strong
purpose to impel them.

The road to hell, they assure me,
With good intentions is paved;
And I know my desires are noble,
But my deeds might brand me depraved.
It's the warped grain in our nature,
And St. Paul has written it true:
"The good that I would I do not;
But the evil I would not I do."

I've met few men who are monsters
When I came to know them inside;
Yet their bearing and dealings external
Are crusted with cruelty, pride,
Scorn, selfishness, envy, indifference,
Greed - why the long list pursue?
The good that they would they do not;
But the evil they would not they do.

Intentions may still leave us beast-like;
With unchangeable purpose we're men.
We must drive the nail home - and then clinch it
Or storms shake it loose again.
In things of great import, in trifles,
We our recreant souls must subdue
Till the evil we would not we do not
And the good that we would we do.

_St. Clair Adams._


Many people seem to get pleasure in seeing all the bad there is, and in
making everything about them gloomy. They are like the old woman who on
being asked how her health was, replied: "Thank the Lord, I'm poorly."

Some folks git a heap o' pleasure
Out o' lookin' glum;
Hoard their cares like it was treasure -
Fear they won't have some.
Wear black border on their spirit;
Hang their hopes with crape;
Future's gloomy and they fear it,
Sure there's no escape.

Now there ain't no use of whining
Weightin' joy with lead;
There is silver in the linin'
Somewhere on ahead.

Can't enjoy the sun to-day -
It may rain to-morrow;
When a pain won't come their way,
Future pains they borrow.
If there's good news to be heard,
Ears are stuffed with cotton;
Evils dire are oft inferred;
Good is all forgotten.

When upon a peel I stand,
Slippin' like a goner,
Luck, I trust, will shake my hand
Just around the corner.

Keep a scarecrow in the yard,
Fierce old bulldog near 'em;
Chase off joy that's tryin' hard
To come in an' cheer 'em.
Wear their blinders big and strong,
Dodge each happy sight;
Like to keep their faces long;
Think the day is night.

Now I've had my share of trouble;
Back been bent with ill;
Big load makes the joy seem double
When I mount the hill.

Got the toothache in their soul;
Corns upon their feelin's;
Get their share but want the whole,
Say it's crooked dealings.
Natures steeped in indigo;
Got their joy-wires crossed;
Swear it's only weeds that grow;
Flowers always lost.

Now it's best to sing a song
'Stead o' sit and mourn;
Rose you'll find grows right along
Bigger than the thorn.

Beat the frogs the way they croak;
See with goggles blue -
Universe is cracked or broke,
'Bout to split in two.
Think the world is full of sin,
Soon go up the spout;
Badness always movin' in,
Goodness movin' out.

But I've found folks good and kind,
'Cause I thought they would be;
Most men try, at least I find,
To be what they should be.

_Joseph Morris._


"I'm not a rabid, preachy, pollyanna optimist. Neither am I a gloomy
grouch. I believe in a loving Divine Providence Who expects you to play
the Game to the limit, Who wants you to hold tight to His hand, and Who
compensates you for the material losses by giving you the ability to
retain your sense of values, and keep your spiritual sand out of the
bearings of your physical machine, if you'll trust and - 'Keep Sweet,
Keep Cheerful, or else - Keep Still'" - _Everard Jack Appleton_.

He has come the way of the fighting men, and fought by the rules of the
And out of Life he has gathered - What? A living, - and little fame,
Ever and ever the Goal looms near, - seeming each time worth while;
But ever it proves a mirage fair - ever the grim gods smile.
And so, with lips hard set and white, he buries the hope that is gone, -
His fight is lost - and he knows it is lost - and yet he is fighting on.

Out of the smoke of the battle-line watching men win their way,
And, cheering with those who cheer success, he enters again the fray,
Licking the blood and the dust from his lips, wiping the sweat from his
He does the work he is set to do - and "therein honor lies."
Brave they were, these men he cheered, - theirs is the winners' thrill;
_His_ fight is lost - and he knows it is lost - and yet he is fighting still.

And those who won have rest and peace; and those who died have more;
But, weary and spent, he can not stop seeking the ultimate score;
Courage was theirs for a little time, - but what of the man who sees
That he must lose, yet will not beg mercy upon his knees?
Side by side with grim Defeat, he struggles at dusk or dawn, -
His fight is lost - and he knows it is lost - and yet he is fighting on.

Praise for the warriors who succeed, and tears for the vanquished dead;
The world will hold them close to her heart, wreathing each honored head,
But there in the ranks, soul-sick, time-tried, he battles against the odds,
_Sans_ hope, but true to his colors torn, the plaything of the gods!
Uncover when he goes by, at last! Held to his task by _will_
The fight is lost - and he knows it is lost - and yet he is fighting still!

_Everard Jack Appleton._

From "The Quiet Courage."


In a single sentence Emerson crystallizes the faith that nothing is
impossible to those whose guide is duty. His words, though spoken
primarily of youth, apply to the whole of human life.

So nigh is grandeur to our dust,
So near is God to man,
When duty whispers low, _Thou must_,
The youth replies, _I can_.

_Ralph Waldo Emerson._


P.T. Barnum had shrewdness, inventiveness, hair-trigger readiness in
acting or deciding, an eye for hidden possibilities, an instinct for
determining beforehand what would prove popular. All these qualities
helped him in his original and extraordinary career. But the quality he
valued most highly was the one he called "stick-to-it-iveness." This
completed the others. Without it the great showman could not have
succeeded at all. Nor did he think that any man who lacks it will make
much headway in life.

We know how rough the road will be,
How heavy here the load will be,
We know about the barricades that wait along the track;
But we have set our soul ahead
Upon a certain goal ahead
And nothing left from hell to sky shall ever turn us back.

We know how brief all fame must be,
We know how crude the game must be,
We know how soon the cheering turns to jeering down the block;
But there's a deeper feeling here
That Fate can't scatter reeling here,
In knowing we have battled with the final ounce in stock.

We sing of no wild glory now,
Emblazoning some story now
Of mighty charges down the field beyond some guarded pit;
But humbler tasks befalling us,
Set duties that are calling us,
Where nothing left from hell to sky shall ever make us quit.

_Grantland Rice._

From "The Sportlight."


A father's advice to his son how to conduct himself in the world: Don't
tell all you think, or put into action thoughts out of harmony or
proportion with the occasion. Be friendly, but not common; don't dull
your palm by effusively shaking hands with every chance newcomer. Avoid
quarrels if you can, but if they are forced on you, give a good account
of yourself. Hear every man's censure (opinion), but express your own
ideas to few. Dress well, but not ostentatiously. Neither borrow nor
lend. And guarantee yourself against being false to others by setting up
the high moral principle of being true to yourself.

Give thy thoughts no tongue,
Nor any unproportion'd thought his act.
Be thou familiar, but by no means vulgar;
The friends thou hast, and their adoption tried,
Grapple them to thy soul with hoops of steel;
But do not dull thy palm with entertainment
Of each new-hatch'd, unfledg'd comrade. Beware
Of entrance to a quarrel, but, being in,
Bear 't that th' opposed may beware of thee.
Give every man thine ear, but few thy voice;
Take each man's censure, but reserve thy judgment.
Costly thy habit as thy purse can buy,
But not express'd in fancy; rich, not gaudy;
For the apparel oft proclaims the man.

* * * * *

Neither a borrower, nor a lender be;
For loan oft loses both itself and friend,
And borrowing dulls the edge of husbandry.
This above all: to thine own self be true,
And it must follow, as the night the day,
Thou canst not then be false to any man.

_William Shakespeare._


It would be foolish to begin digging a tunnel through a mountain with a
mere pick and spade. We must assemble for the task great mechanical
contrivances. And so with our energies of will; a slight tool means a
slight achievement; a huge, aggressive engine, driving on at full blast,
means corresponding bigness of results.

How do you tackle your work each day?
Are you scared of the job you find?
Do you grapple the task that comes your way
With a confident, easy mind?
Do you stand right up to the work ahead
Or fearfully pause to view it?
Do you start to toil with a sense of dread
Or feel that you're going to do it?

You can do as much as you think you can,
But you'll never accomplish more;
If you're afraid of yourself, young man,
There's little for you in store.
For failure comes from the inside first,
It's there if we only knew it,
And you can win, though you face the worst,
If you feel that you're going to do it.

Success! It's found in the soul of you,
And not in the realm of luck!
The world will furnish the work to do,
But you must provide the pluck.
You can do whatever you think you can,
It's all in the way you view it.
It's all in the start you make, young man:
You must feel that you're going to do it.

How do you tackle your work each day?
With confidence clear, or dread?
What to yourself do you stop and say
When a new task lies ahead?
What is the thought that is in your mind?
Is fear ever running through it?
If so, just tackle the next you find
By thinking you're going to do it.

_Edgar A. Guest._

From "A Heap o' Livin'."


The world does not always distinguish between appearance and true merit.
Pretence often gets the plaudits, but desert is above them - it has
rewards of its own.

No matter whence you came, from a palace or a ditch,
You're a man, man, man, if you square yourself to life;
And no matter what they say, hermit-poor or Midas-rich,
You are nothing but a husk if you sidestep strife.

For it's do, do, do, with a purpose all your own,
That makes a man a man, whether born a serf or king;
And it's loaf, loaf, loaf, lolling on a bench or throne
That makes a being thewed to act a limp and useless thing!

No matter what you do, miracles or fruitless deeds,
You're a man, man, man, if you do them with a will;
And no matter how you loaf, cursing wealth or mumbling creeds,
You are nothing but a noise, and its weight is nil.

For it's be, be, be, champion of your heart and soul,
That makes a man a man, whether reared in silk or rags;
And it's talk, talk, talk, from a tattered shirt or stole,
That makes the image of a god a manikin that brags.

_Richard Butler Glaenzer._

From "Munsey's Magazine."



A member of Parliament, having succeeded notably in his maiden effort at
speech-making, remained silent through the rest of his career lest he
should not duplicate his triumph. This course was stupid; in time the
address which had brought him fame became a theme for disparagement and
mockery. A man cannot rest upon his laurels, else he will soon lack the
laurels to rest on. If he has true ability, he must from time to time
show it, instead of asking us to recall what he did in the past. There
is a natural instinct which makes the whole world kin. It is distrust of
a mere reputation. It is a hankering to be shown. Unless the evidence to
set us right is forthcoming, we will praise dust which is gilded over
rather than gold which is dusty from disuse.

Time hath, my lord, a wallet at his back,
Wherein he puts alms for oblivion,
A great-sized monster of ingratitudes:
Those scraps are good deeds past; which are devoured
As fast as they are made, forgot as soon
As done: perseverance, dear my lord,
Keeps honor bright: to have done, is to hang
Quite out of fashion, like a rusty mail
In monumental mockery. Take the instant way;
For honor travels in a strait so narrow
Where one but goes abreast: keep, then, the path;
For emulation hath a thousand sons
That one by one pursue: if you give way,
Or hedge aside from the direct forthright,
Like to an entered tide they all rush by
And leave you hindmost;
Or, like a gallant horse fallen in first rank,
Lie there for pavement to the abject rear,
O'errun and trampled on: then what they do in present,
Though less than yours in past, must o'ertop yours;
For time is like a fashionable host,
That slightly shakes his parting guest by the hand,
And with his arms outstretched, as he would fly,
Grasps in the comer: welcome ever smiles,
And farewell goes out sighing. O! let not virtue seek
Remuneration for the thing it was; for beauty, wit,
High birth, vigor of bone, desert in service,
Love, friendship, charity, are subjects all
To envious and calumniating time.
One touch of nature makes the whole world kin,
That all with one consent praise new-born gawds,
Though they are made and moulded of things past,
And give to dust that is a little gilt
More laud than gilt o'er-dusted.
The present eye praises the present object,
Since things in motion sooner catch the eye
Than what not stirs.

_William Shakespeare._


Faith is not a passive thing - mere believing or waiting. It is an active
thing - a positive striving and achievement, even if conditions be

Faith is not merely praying
Upon your knees at night;
Faith is not merely straying
Through darkness to the light.

Faith is not merely waiting
For glory that may be,
Faith is not merely hating
The sinful ecstasy.

Faith is the brave endeavor
The splendid enterprise,
The strength to serve, whatever
Conditions may arise.

_S.E. Kiser._


What is opportunity? To the brilliant mind of Senator Ingalls it is a
stupendous piece of luck. It comes once and once only to every human
being, wise or foolish, good or wicked. If it be not perceived on the
instant, it passes by forever. No longing for it, no effort, can bring
it back. Notice that this view is fatalistic; it makes opportunity an
external thing - one that enriches men or leaves their lives empty
without much regard to what they deserve.

Master of human destinies am I!
Fame, love, and fortune on my footsteps wait.
Cities and fields I walk; I penetrate
Deserts and seas remote, and passing by
Hovel and mart and palace - soon or late
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!

_John James Ingalls._


There is a tide in the affairs of men,
Which, taken at the flood, leads on to fortune;
Omitted, all the voyage of their life
Is bound in shallows and in miseries.
On such a full sea are we now afloat;
And we must take the current when it serves,
Or lose our ventures.

_William Shakespeare._


To the thought of the preceding poem we have here a direct answer. No
matter how a man may have failed in the past, the door of opportunity is
always open to him. He should not give way to useless regrets; he should
know that the future is within his control, that it will be what he
chooses to make it.

They do me wrong who say I come no more
When once I knock and fail to find you in;
For every day I stand outside your door,
And bid you wake, and rise to fight and win.

Wail not for precious chances passed away,
Weep not for golden ages on the wane!
Each night I burn the records of the day, -
At sunrise every soul is born again!

Laugh like a boy at splendors that have sped,
To vanished joys be blind and deaf and dumb;
My judgments seal the dead past with its dead,
But never bind a moment yet to come.

Though deep in mire, wring not your hands and weep;
I lend my arm to all who say "I can!"
No shame-faced outcast ever sank so deep,
But yet might rise and be again a man!

Dost thou behold thy lost youth all aghast?
Dost reel from righteous Retribution's blow?
Then turn from blotted archives of the past,
And find the future's pages white as snow.

Art thou a mourner? Rouse thee from thy spell;
Art thou a sinner? Sins may be forgiven;
Each morning gives thee wings to flee from hell,
Each night a star to guide thy feet to heaven.

_Walter Malone._


In this poem yet another view of opportunity is presented. The recreant
or the dreamer complains that he has no real chance. He would succeed,
he says, if he had but the implements of success - money, influence,
social prestige, and the like. But success lies far less in implements
than in the use we make of them. What one man throws away as useless,
another man seizes as the best means of victory at hand. For every one
of us the materials for achievement are sufficient. The spirit that
prompts us is what ultimately counts.

This I beheld, or dreamed it in a dream: -
There spread a cloud of dust along a plain;
And underneath the cloud, or in it, raged
A furious battle, and men yelled, and swords
Shocked upon swords and shields. A prince's banner
Wavered, then staggered backward, hemmed by foes.
A craven hung along the battle's edge,
And thought, "Had I a sword of keener steel -
That blue blade that the king's son bears, - but this
Blunt thing - !" he snapt and flung it from his hand,
And lowering crept away and left the field.
Then came the king's son, wounded, sore bestead,
And weaponless, and saw the broken sword,
Hilt-buried in the dry and trodden sand,
And ran and snatched it, and with battle-shout
Lifted afresh he hewed his enemy down,
And saved a great cause that heroic day.

_Edward Rowland Sill._

From "Poems."



Though dogs persist in barking at the moon, the moon's business is not
to answer the dogs or to waste strength placating them, but simply to
shine. The man who strives or succeeds is sure to be criticized. Is he
therefore to abstain from all effort? We are responsible for our own
lives and cannot regulate them according to other people's ideas. "Whoso
would be a man," says Emerson, "must be a nonconformist."

I allus argy that a man
Who does about the best he can
Is plenty good enugh to suit
This lower mundane institute -
No matter ef his daily walk
Is subject fer his neghbor's talk,
And critic-minds of ev'ry whim
Jest all git up and go fer him!

* * * * *

It's natchurl enugh, I guess,
When some gits more and some gits less,
Fer them-uns on the slimmest side
To claim it ain't a fare divide;
And I've knowed some to lay and wait,
And git up soon, and set up late,
To ketch some feller they could hate
For goin' at a faster gait.

* * * * *

My doctern is to lay aside
Contensions, and be satisfied:
Jest do your best, and praise er blame
That follers that, counts jest the same.
I've allus noticed grate success
Is mixed with troubles, more er less,
And it's the man who does the best
That gits more kicks than all the rest.

_James Whitcomb Riley._

From the Biographical Edition
Of the Complete Works of James Whitcomb Riley.


This volume consists chiefly of contemporary or very recent verse. But
it could not serve its full purpose without the presence, here and
there, of older poems - of "classics." These express a truth, a mood, or
a spirit that is universal, and they express it in words of noble
dignity and beauty. They are not always easy to understand; they are
crops we must patiently cultivate, not crops that volunteer. But they
wear well; they grow upon us; we come back to them again and again, and

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