Poems with Power to Strengthen the Soul
Author: Various
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Spelling mistakes have been left in the text to match the original, except for obvious typographical errors, which have been corrected.


Compiled and Edited by


Revised and Enlarged Edition

The Abingdon Press New York Cincinnati Chicago

Copyright, 1907, 1909, by Eaton & Mains

Printed in the United States of America

First Edition Printed November, 1907 Second Printing, March, 1909 Third Printing, October, 1911 Fourth Printing, July, 1915 Fifth Printing, May, 1919 Sixth Printing, January, 1922 Seventh Printing, April, 1925 Eighth Printing, March, 1928 Ninth Printing, October, 1930 Tenth Printing, September, 1934



































This is not like other collections of religious verse; still less is it a hymnal. The present volume is directed to a very specific and wholly practical end, the production of high personal character; and only those poems which have an immediate bearing in this direction have been admitted. We know of no other book published which has followed this special line. There are fine hymnals, deservedly dear to the Church, but they are necessarily devoted in large measure to institutional and theological subjects, are adapted to the wants of the general congregation and to purposes of song; while many poetical productions that touch the heart the closest are for that very reason unsuited to the hymnal. There are many anthologies and plentiful volumes of religious poetry, but not one coming within our ken has been made up as this has been. We have sought far and wide, through many libraries, carefully conning hundreds of books and glancing through hundreds more, to find just those lines which would have the most tonic and stimulating effect in the direction of holier, nobler living. We have coveted verses whose influence would be directly on daily life and would help to form the very best habits of thought and conduct, which would have intrinsic spiritual value and elevating power; those whose immediate tendency would be to make people better, toughening their moral fibre and helping them heavenward; those which they could hardly read attentively without feeling an impulse toward the things which are pure and true and honorable and lovely and of good report, things virtuous and praiseworthy.

It is surprising to one who has not made the search how very many poets there are whose voluminous and popular works yield nothing, or scarcely anything, of this sort. We have looked carefully through many scores of volumes of poetry without finding a line that could be of the slightest use in this collection. They were taken up altogether with other topics. They contained many pretty conceits, pleasant descriptions, lovely or lively narrations—these in abundance, but words that would send the spirit heavenward, or even earthward with any added love for humanity, not one. On the other hand, in papers and periodicals, even in books, are great multitudes of verses, unexceptionable in sentiment and helpful in influence, which bear so little of the true poetic afflatus, are so careless in construction or so faulty in diction, so imperfect in rhyme or rhythm, so much mingled with colloquialisms or so hopelessly commonplace in thought, as to be unworthy of a permanent place in a book like this. They would not bear reading many times. They would offend a properly educated taste. They would not so capture the ear as to linger on the memory with compelling persistence, nor strike the intellect as an exceptional presentation of important truth. The combination of fine form and deep or inspiring thought is by no means common, but, when found, very precious. We will not claim that this has been secured in all the poems here presented. Not all will approve our choice in all respects. There is nothing in which tastes more differ than in matters of this kind. And we will admit that in some cases we have let in—because of the important truth which they so well voiced—stanzas not fully up to the mark in point of poetic merit. Where it has not been possible to get the two desirable things together, as it has not always, we have been more solicitous for the sentiment that would benefit than for mere prettiness or perfection of form. Helpfulness has been the test oftener than a high literary standard. The labored workmanship of the vessel has not weighed so much with us as its perfect fitness to convey the water of life wherewith the thirsty soul of man has been or may be refreshed. If poets are properly judged, as has been alleged, by the frame of mind they induce, then some who have not gained great literary fame may still hold up their heads and claim a worthy crown.

Some poems fully within the scope of the book—like Longfellow's "Psalm of Life"—have been omitted because of their exceeding commonness and their accessibility. Many hymns of very high value—like "Jesus, Lover of my soul," "My faith looks up to thee," "Nearer, my God, to thee," "When all thy mercies, O my God," "How firm a foundation"—have also been omitted because they are found in all the hymnals, and to include them would unduly swell the size of the book. A few others, although similarly familiar, like "Jesus, I my cross have taken," and "God moves in a mysterious way," have been inserted from a feeling that even yet their depth and richness are not properly appreciated and that they can never be sufficiently pondered. A few poems we have been unable to procure permission to use; but in nearly all cases we have met with most generous treatment from both authors and publishers owning copyrights, and we take this occasion to express our hearty thanks for the kindness afforded in the following instances:

Houghton, Mifflin & Company, for the use of the poems and stanzas here found from Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, James Russell Lowell, John Greenleaf Whittier, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Oliver Wendell Holmes, Edward Rowland Sill, Celia Thaxter, Caroline Atherton Mason, Edna Dean Proctor, Edmund Clarence Stedman, John Burroughs, John Hay, William Dean Howells, Harriet Beecher Stowe, Lucy Larcom, Margaret E. Sangster, Francis Bret Harte, James Freeman Clarke, Samuel Longfellow, Samuel Johnson, Christopher Pearse Cranch, Thomas Wentworth Higginson, Elizabeth Stuart Phelps and John Vance Cheney.

Little, Brown & Company, for poems by Helen Hunt Jackson, Louise Chandler Moulton, William Rounseville Alger, "Susan Coolidge" [Sarah Chauncey Woolsey], and John White Chadwick.

Lothrop, Lee & Shepard Company, for poems by Sam Walter Foss.

D. Appleton & Company, for poems by William Cullen Bryant.

T. Y. Crowell & Company, for poems by Sarah Knowles Bolton.

Charles Scribner's Sons, for poems by Josiah Gilbert Holland.

The Century Company, for poems by Richard Watson Gilder.

The Bobbs-Merrill Company, for poems by James Whitcomb Riley.

Harper & Brothers, for poems by Edward Sandford Martin.

Small, Maynard & Co., for poems by Charlotte Perkins Gilman.

The Rev. D. C. Knowles, for poems by Frederic Lawrence Knowles, especially from "Love Triumphant," published by Dana, Estes & Company.

The Rev. Frederic Rowland Marvin, for poems from his "Flowers of Song from Many Lands."

Professor Amos R. Wells, for poems from his "Just to Help."

Mr. Nixon Waterman, for poems from "In Merry Mood," published by Forbes & Co., of Chicago.

The selections from the above American authors are used by special arrangements with the firms mentioned, who are the only authorized publishers of their works. Many other poems used have been found in papers or other places which gave no indication of the original source. In spite of much effort to trace these things it is quite likely we have failed in some cases to give due credit or obtain the usual permission; and we hope that if such omissions, due to ignorance or inadvertence, are noticed they will be pardoned. Many unknown writers have left behind them some things of value, but their names have become detached from them or perhaps never were appended. Many volumes consulted have been long out of print.

We are glad to record our large indebtedness to the custodians of the Boston, Cambridge, Malden, Natick, Brookline, Jamaica Plain, Somerville, and Newton Public Libraries, the Boston Athenaeum, the Congregational Library, the General Theological Library, and the Library of Harvard College, for free access to their treasures.

By far the greater part of the contents are from British and other foreign authors, such as William Wordsworth, Alfred Tennyson, Robert Browning, Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Dinah Maria Mulock Craik, Mrs. S. F. Adams, Anna Letitia Barbauld, Mrs. Charles, Frances Ridley Havergal, Anna Letitia Waring, Jean Ingelow, Adelaide Anne Procter, Mme. Guyon, Theodore Monod, Matthew Arnold, Edwin Arnold, William Shakespeare, John Milton, George Gordon Byron, Robert Burns, William Cowper, George Herbert, Robert Herrick, Francis Quarles, Frederick W. Faber, John Keble, Charles Kingsley, Alexander Pope, Joseph Addison, John Gay, Edward Young, Thomas Moore, John Newton, John Bunyan, H. Kirke White, Horatius Bonar, James Montgomery, Charles Wesley, Richard Baxter, Norman Macleod, George Heber, Richard Chenevix Trench, Henry Alford, Charles Mackay, Gerald Massey, Alfred Austin, Robert Louis Stevenson, Arthur Hugh Clough, Henry Burton, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Hartley Coleridge, Joseph Anstice, George Macdonald, Robert Leighton, John Henry Newman, John Sterling, Edward H. Bickersteth, Dante Gabriel Rossetti, and many others. Of German authors there are not a few, including Johann W. von Goethe, Johann C. F. Schiller, George A. Neumarck, Paul Gerhardt, Benjamin Schmolke, S. C. Schoener, Scheffler, Karl Rudolf Hagenbach, S. Rodigast, Novalis, Wolfgang C. Dessler, L. Gedicke, Martin Luther, and Johann G. von Herder.

The number of American poets drawn upon is small compared with this list. It is the case in all such collections. According to an analysis of the hymns contained in the most widely used American hymnals down to 1880 the average number of hymns of purely American origin was not quite one in seven; the proportion would be a little larger now. And the number of Methodist poets is almost nil, in spite of the fact that the compiler is a Methodist and the volume is issued from the official Methodist Publishing House. But if we thought that this would be any barrier to its wide circulation in Methodist homes we should be deeply ashamed for our church. We are confident it will not be. For mere denominational tenets do not at all enter into these great matters of the soul's life. A book like this speaks loudly for the real oneness, not only of all branches of the Christian Church, but of all religions, in some respects. Not only do we find the various Protestant denominations amply represented here; not only have we most inspiring words from Roman Catholic writers like Francis Xavier, Madame Guyon, Alexander Pope, John Henry Newman, Frederick W. Faber, and Adelaide Anne Procter; but from Mohammedan sources, from Sufi saints of Persia, and the Moslem devotees of Arabia, and even from Hinduism, there are utterances of noblest truth which we cannot read without a kindling heart. These are all brought together from the ends of the earth into a delightful "upper chamber," where the warring discords of opinion cease and an exceedingly precious peace prevails.

It should be said, though it is perhaps hardly necessary, that this is by no means a book to be read at a sitting. It furnishes very concentrated nourishment. It can be taken with largest profit only a little at a time, according as the mood demands and circumstances appoint. There should be very much meditation mingled with the perusal, an attempt to penetrate the deep meaning of the lines and have them enter into the soul for practical benefit. Some of these hymns have great histories: they are the war cries of combatants on hard-fought battle fields; they are living words of deep experience pressed out of the heart by strong feeling; they are the embodiment of visions caught on some Pisgah's glowing top. Here will be found and furnished hope for the faint-hearted, rest for the weary, courage for the trembling, cheer for the despondent, power for the weak, comfort for the afflicted, guidance in times of difficulty, wise counsel for moments of perplexity, a stimulant to faithfulness, a cure for the blues, exhilaration, jubilation. Everything of a depressing nature has been scrupulously ruled out. The keynote, persistently followed through all the pages, is optimistic, bright, buoyant. Trumpet calls and bugle notes are furnished in abundance, but no dirges or elegies. Large space, it will be seen, is given to such topics as Heroism, True Greatness, the Care and Presence of God, the blessings of Brotherliness, the privilege of Service, the path of Peace, the secret of Contentment, the mission of Prayer, the joy of Jesus, the meaning of Life, the glory of Love, the promise of Faith, the happy aspect of old Age and Death; for these subjects come very close home to the heart, and are illustrated in daily experience. Anyone who feels a special need in any of these directions is confidently recommended to turn to the proper sections and read the selections.

Very much that is here may easily and suitably be committed to memory, that thus it may the more permanently penetrate into the inmost depth of being. It may be used with most telling effect in sermons to give point and pungency to the thought of the preacher. Alike in popular discourse and public testimony or in private meditation these gems of sentiment and thought will come into play with great advantage. The benefit which may be derived from them can scarcely be overestimated. President Eliot, of Harvard University, has said: "There are bits of poetry in my mind learned in infancy that have stood by me in keeping me true to my ideas of duty and life. Rather than lose these I would have missed all the sermons I have ever heard." Many another can say substantially the same, can trace his best deeds very largely to the influence of some little stanza or couplet early stored away in his memory and coming ever freshly to mind in after years as the embodiment of truest wisdom.

We cannot guarantee in all cases the absolute correctness of the forms of the poems given, though much pains have been taken to ensure accuracy; but authors themselves make changes in their productions at different times in different editions. Nor have we always been able to trace the poem to its source. Slips and errors of various kinds can hardly be avoided in such matters. Even so competent an editor as John G. Whittier, in his "Songs of Three Centuries," ascribes "Love divine, all love excelling" to that bitter Calvinist, Augustus M. Toplady, giving it as the sole specimen of his verse; when it was really written by the ardent Arminian, Charles Wesley, with whom Toplady was on anything but friendly terms. If Whittier could make a blunder of this magnitude we may be pardoned if possibly a keen-eyed critic spies something in our book almost as grossly incorrect. In some cases we have been obliged to change the titles of poems so as to avoid reduplication in our index, or to adapt them the better to the small extract taken from the much longer form in the original. In a few cases we have made (indicated) alterations in poems to fit them more fully to the purpose of the book.

The volume will be found not only a readable one, we think, but also an uncommonly useful one for presentation by those who would do good and give gratification to their serious-minded friends with a taste for religious poetry and a love for wandering in the "holy land of song." He who would put before another the essential elements of religion would do better to give him such a book as this than a treatise on theology. He who would himself get a clear idea of what the religious life really is will do better to pore over these pages than to dip into some philosophical discussion. Here the best life is expressed rather than analyzed, exhibited rather than explained. Mrs. Browning has well said, "Plant a poet's word deep enough in any man's breast, looking presently for offshoots, and you have done more for the man than if you dressed him in a broadcloth coat and warmed his Sunday pottage at your fire." We who, by preparing or circulating such volumes, aid the poets in finding a larger circle to whom to give their message, may claim a part of the blessing which comes to those who in any way aid humanity. George Herbert has said,

"A verse may find him who a sermon flies, And turn delight into a sacrifice."

He himself most excellently illustrated the sentiment by bequeathing to the world many beautiful verses that are sermons of the most picturesque sort.

One definition of poetry is "a record of the best thoughts and best moments of the best and happiest minds." This in itself would almost be sufficient to establish the connection between poetry and religion. It is certain that the two have very close and vital relations. Dr. Washington Gladden has admirably remarked, "Poetry is indebted to religion for its largest and loftiest inspirations, and religion is indebted to poetry for its subtlest and most luminous interpretations." No doubt a man may be truly, deeply religious who has little or no development on the aesthetic side, to whom poetry makes no special appeal. But it is certain that he whose soul is deaf to the "concord of sweet sounds" misses a mighty aid in the spiritual life. For a hymn is a wing by which the spirit soars above earthly cares and trials into a purer air and a clearer sunshine. Nothing can better scatter the devils of melancholy and gloom or doubt and fear. When praise and prayer, trust and love, faith and hope, and similar sentiments, have passed into and through some poet's passionate soul, until he has become so charged with them that he has been able to fix them in a form of expression where beauty is united to strength, where concentration and ornamentation are alike secured, then the deepest needs of great numbers are fully met. What was vague and dim is brought into light. What was only half conceived, and so but half felt, is made to grip the soul with power. Poetry is of the very highest value for the inspiration and guidance of life, for calling out the emotions and opening up spiritual visions. It carries truths not only into the understanding, but into the heart, where they are likely to have the most direct effect on conduct.

In the language of Robert Southey, I commit these pages to the Christian public, with a sincere belief that much benefit will result to all who shall read them:

"Go forth, little book, from this my solitude; I cast thee on the waters,—go thy ways; And if, as I believe, thy vein be good, The world will find thee after many days. Be it with thee according to thy worth; Go, little book! in faith I send thee forth."

JAMES MUDGE. Malden, Mass.




I like the man who faces what he must, With step triumphant and a heart of cheer; Who fights the daily battle without fear; Sees his hopes fail, yet keeps unfaltering trust That God is God; that somehow, true and just, His plans work out for mortals; not a tear Is shed when fortune, which the world holds dear, Falls from his grasp: better, with love, a crust Than living in dishonor: envies not, Nor loses faith in man; but does his best, Nor ever murmurs at his humbler lot, But, with a smile and words of hope, gives zest To every toiler: he alone is great Who by a life heroic conquers fate.

—Sarah Knowles Bolton.


They never fail who die In a great cause. The block may soak their gore; Their heads may sodden in the sun; their limbs Be strung to city gates and castle walls; But still their spirit walks abroad. Though years Elapse and others share as dark a doom, They but augment the deep and sweeping thoughts Which overpower all others and conduct The world, at last, to freedom.

—George Gordon Byron.


He has done the work of a true man— Crown him, honor him, love him; Weep over him, tears of woman, Stoop, manliest brows, above him!

For the warmest of hearts is frozen; The freest of hands is still; And the gap in our picked and chosen The long years may not fill.

No duty could overtask him, No need his will outrun: Or ever our lips could ask him, His hands the work had done.

He forgot his own life for others, Himself to his neighbor lending. Found the Lord in his suffering brothers, And not in the clouds descending.

And he saw, ere his eye was darkened, The sheaves of the harvest-bringing; And knew, while his ear yet hearkened, The voice of the reapers singing.

Never rode to the wrong's redressing A worthier paladin. He has heard the Master's blessing, "Good and faithful, enter in!"

—John Greenleaf Whittier.


They outtalked thee, hissed thee, tore thee? Better men fared thus before thee; Fired their ringing shot and pass'd, Hotly charged—and sank at last. Charge once more, then, and be dumb! Let the victors, when they come, When the forts of folly fall, Find thy body by the wall!

—Matthew Arnold.


Before the monstrous wrong he sets him down— One man against a stone-walled city of sin. For centuries those walls have been abuilding; Smooth porphyry, they slope and coldly glass The flying storm and wheeling sun. No chink, No crevice, lets the thinnest arrow in. He fights alone, and from the cloudy ramparts A thousand evil faces gibe and jeer him. Let him lie down and die: what is the right, And where is justice, in a world like this? But by and by earth shakes herself, impatient; And down, in one great roar of ruin, crash Watch-tower and citadel and battlements. When the red dust has cleared, the lonely soldier Stands with strange thoughts beneath the friendly stars.

—Edward Rowland Sill.


So he died for his faith. That is fine— More than most of us do. But, say, can you add to that line That he lived for it, too? In his death he bore witness at last As a martyr to truth. Did his life do the same in the past From the days of his youth? It is easy to die. Men have died For a wish or a whim— From bravado or passion or pride. Was it harder for him? But to live—every day to live out All the truth that he dreamt, While his friends met his conduct with doubt And the world with contempt. Was it thus that he plodded ahead, Never turning aside? Then we'll talk of the life that he lived. Never mind how he died.

—Ernest Crosby.


The star of the unconquered will, He rises in my breast, Serene, and resolute, and still, And calm, and self-possessed.

And thou, too, whosoe'er thou art, That readest this brief psalm, As one by one thy hopes depart, Be resolute and calm.

Oh, fear not in a world like this, And thou shalt know erelong,— Know how sublime a thing it is To suffer and be strong.

—Henry Wadsworth Longfellow.


Not they alone who from the bitter strife Came forth victorious, yielding willingly That which they deem most precious, even life, Content to suffer all things, Christ, for Thee; Not they alone whose feet so firmly trod The pathway ending in rack, sword and flame, Foreseeing death, yet faithful to their Lord, Enduring for His sake the pain and shame; Not they alone have won the martyr's palm, Not only from their life proceeds the eternal psalm.

For earth hath martyrs now, a saintly throng; Each day unnoticed do we pass them by; 'Mid busy crowds they calmly move along, Bearing a hidden cross, how patiently! Not theirs the sudden anguish, swift and keen, Their hearts are worn and wasted with small cares, With daily griefs and thrusts from foes unseen; Troubles and trials that take them unawares; Theirs is a lingering, silent martyrdom; They weep through weary years, and long for rest to come.

They weep, but murmur not; it is God's will, And they have learned to bend their own to his; Simply enduring, knowing that each ill Is but the herald of some future bliss; Striving and suffering, yet so silently They know it least who seem to know them best. Faithful and true through long adversity They work and wait until God gives them rest; These surely share with those of bygone days The palm-branch and the crown, and swell their song of praise.


'Tis, finally, the man, who, lifted high, Conspicuous object in a nation's eye, Or left unthought of in obscurity, Who, with a toward or untoward lot, Prosperous or adverse, to his wish or not,— Plays, in the many games of life, that one Where what he most doth value must be won; Whom neither shape of danger can dismay, Nor thought of tender happiness betray; Who, not content that former work stand fast, Looks forward, persevering to the last, From well to better, daily self-surpast; Who, whether praise of him must walk the earth Forever, and to noble deeds give birth, Or he must fall, to sleep without his fame, And leave a dead, unprofitable name— Finds comfort in himself and in his cause, And, while the mortal mist is gathering, draws His breath in confidence of Heaven's applause: This is the happy warrior; this is he That every man in arms should wish to be.

—William Wordsworth.

Aground the man who seeks a noble end Not angels but divinities attend.

—Ralph Waldo Emerson.


Grow old along with me! The best is yet to be, The last of life, for which the first was made; Our times are in His hand Who saith, "A whole I planned, Youth shows but half; trust God: see all, nor be afraid!"

Poor vaunt of life indeed, Were man but formed to feed On joy, to solely seek and find and feast; Such feasting ended, then As sure an end to men: Irks care the crop-full bird? Frets doubt the maw-crammed beast?

Then welcome each rebuff That turns earth's smoothness rough, Each sting that bids nor sit nor stand, but go! Be our joys three parts pain! Strive, and hold cheap the strain; Learn, nor account the pang; dare, never grudge the throe!

For thence—a paradox Which comforts while it mocks— Shall life succeed in that it seems to fail: What I aspired to be, And was not, comforts me: A brute I might have been, but would not sink i' the scale.

* * * * *

Not on the vulgar mass Called "work" must sentence pass, Things done, that took the eye and had the price; O'er which, from level stand, The low world laid its hand, Found straightway to its mind, could value in a trice:

But all, the world's coarse thumb And finger failed to plumb, So passed in making up the main account; All instincts immature, All purposes unsure, That weighed not as his work, yet swelled the man's amount:

Thoughts hardly to be packed Into a narrow act, Fancies that broke through language and escaped; All I could never be, All, men ignored in me, This I was worth to God, whose wheel the pitcher shaped.

* * * * *

Fool! All that is, at all, Lasts ever, past recall; Earth changes, but thy soul and God stand sure: What entered into thee That was, is, and shall be: Time's wheel runs back or stops; Potter and clay endure.

—From "Rabbi Ben Ezra."


Once to every man and nation comes the moment to decide, In the strife of Truth with Falsehood, for the good or evil side; Some great cause, God's new Messiah, offering each the bloom or blight, Parts the goats upon the left hand, and the sheep upon the right, And the choice goes by forever 'twixt that darkness and that light.

Careless seems the great Avenger; history's pages but record One death-grapple in the darkness 'twixt old systems and the Word; Truth forever on the scaffold, Wrong forever on the throne— Yet that scaffold sways the future, and, behind the dim unknown, Standeth God within the shadow, keeping watch, above his own.

Then to side with Truth is noble when we share her wretched crust, Ere her cause bring fame and profit, and 'tis prosperous to be just; Then it is the brave man chooses, while the coward stands aside, Doubting in his abject spirit, till his Lord is crucified, And the multitude make virtue of the faith they had denied.

Count me o'er earth's chosen heroes—they were souls that stood alone While the men they agonized for hurled the contumelious stone; Stood serene, and down the future saw the golden beam incline To the side of perfect justice, mastered by their faith divine, By one man's plain truth to manhood and to God's supreme design.

By the light of burning heretics Christ's bleeding feet I track, Toiling up new Calvaries ever with the cross that turns not back, And these mounts of anguish number how each generation learned One new word of that grand Credo which in prophet-hearts hath burned Since the first man stood God-conquered with his face to heaven upturned.

For Humanity sweeps onward: where to-day the martyr stands, On the morrow crouches Judas with the silver in his hands; Far in front the cross stands ready and the crackling fagots burn, While the hooting mob of yesterday in silent awe return To glean up the scattered ashes into History's golden urn.

'Tis as easy to be heroes as to sit the idle slaves Of a legendary virtue carved upon our fathers' graves; Worshipers of light ancestral make the present light a crime;— Was the Mayflower launched by cowards, steered by men behind their time? Turn those tracks toward Past or Future that make Plymouth Rock sublime?

They have rights who dare maintain them; we are traitors to our sires, Smothering in their holy ashes Freedom's new-lit altar-fires; Shall we make their creed our jailer? shall we in our haste to slay, From the tombs of the old prophets steal the funeral lamps away To light up the martyr-fagots round the prophets of to-day?

New occasions teach new duties; Time makes ancient good uncouth; They must upward still, and onward, who would keep abreast of Truth; Lo, before us gleam her camp-fires! we ourselves must Pilgrims be, Launch our Mayflower, and steer boldly through the desperate winter sea, Nor attempt the Future's portal with the Past's blood-rusted key.

—James Russell Lowell.


Behind him lay the gray Azores, Behind the Gates of Hercules; Before him not the ghost of shores, Before him only shoreless seas. The good mate said: "Now, we must pray, For lo! the very stars are gone, Speak, Admiral, what shall I say?" "Why say, 'Sail on! sail on! and on!'"

"My men grow mutinous day by day; My men grow ghastly wan and weak." The stout mate thought of home; a spray Of salt wave washed his swarthy cheek. "What shall I say, brave Admiral, say, If we sight naught but seas at dawn?" "Why, you shall say at break of day, 'Sail on! sail on! sail on! and on!'"

They sailed and sailed, as winds might blow, Until at last the blanched mate said: "Why, now not even God would know Should I and all my men fall dead. These very winds forget their way, For God from these dread seas is gone. Now speak, brave Admiral, speak and say—" He said, "Sail on! sail on! and on!"

They sailed. They sailed. Then spoke the mate: "This mad sea shows its teeth to-night. He curls his lip, he lies in wait, With lifted teeth, as if to bite! Brave Admiral, say but one good word. What shall we do when hope is gone?" The words leapt as a leaping sword, "Sail on! sail on! sail on! and on!"

Then, pale and worn, he kept his deck, And peered through darkness. Ah, that night Of all dark nights! And then a speck— A light! A light! A light! It grew, a starlit flag unfurled! It grew to be Time's burst of dawn: He gained a world; he gave that world Its grandest lesson: "On, and on!"

—Joaquin Miller.


The Son of God goes forth to war, A kingly crown to gain; His blood-red banner streams afar; Who follows in his train.

Who best can drink His cup of woe, And triumph over pain, Who patient bears His cross below— He follows in His train.

A glorious band, the chosen few, On whom the Spirit came; Twelve valiant saints, their hope they knew, And mocked the cross and flame.

They climbed the dizzy steep to heaven Through peril, toil and pain; O God! to us may grace be given To follow in their train!

—Reginald Heber.


Did you tackle that trouble that came your way With a resolute heart and cheerful, Or hide your face from the light of day With a craven soul and fearful? O, a trouble is a ton, or a trouble is an ounce, Or a trouble is what you make it, And it isn't the fact that you're hurt that counts, But only—how did you take it?

You are beaten to earth? Well, well, what's that? Come up with a smiling face. It's nothing against you to fall down flat, But to lie there—that's disgrace. The harder you're thrown, why, the higher you bounce; Be proud of your blackened eye! It isn't the fact that you're licked that counts; It's how did you fight—and why?

And though you be done to the death, what then? If you battled the best you could. If you played your part in the world of men, Why, the Critic will call it good. Death comes with a crawl or comes with a pounce, And whether he's slow or spry, It isn't the fact that you're dead that counts, But only—how did you die?

—Edmund Vance Cooke.


That which he knew he uttered, Conviction made him strong; And with undaunted courage He faced and fought the wrong. No power on earth could silence him Whom love and faith made brave; And though four hundred years have gone Men strew with flowers his grave.

A frail child born to poverty, A German miner's son; A poor monk searching in his cell, What honors he has won! The nations crown him faithful, A man whom truth made free; God give us for these easier times More men as real as he!

—Marianne Farningham.


Flung to the heedless winds, Or on the waters cast, The martyrs' ashes, watched, Shall gathered be at last; And from that scattered dust, Around us and abroad, Shall spring a plenteous seed Of witnesses for God.

The Father hath received Their latest living breath; And vain is Satan's boast Of victory in their death; Still, still, though dead, they speak, And, trumpet-tongued, proclaim To many a wakening land, The one availing name.

—Martin Luther, tr. by John A. Messenger.

Stainless soldier on the walls, Knowing this—and knows no more— Whoever fights, whoever falls, Justice conquers evermore, Justice after as before; And he who battles on her side, God, though he were ten times slain, Crowns him victor glorified, Victor over death and pain.

—Ralph Waldo Emerson.


The man is thought a knave, or fool, Or bigot, plotting crime, Who, for the advancement of his kind, Is wiser than his time. For him the hemlock shall distil; For him the axe be bared; For him the gibbet shall be built; For him the stake prepared. Him shall the scorn and wrath of men Pursue with deadly aim; And malice, envy, spite, and lies, Shall desecrate his name. But Truth shall conquer at the last, For round and round we run; And ever the Right comes uppermost, And ever is Justice done.

Pace through thy cell, old Socrates, Cheerily to and fro; Trust to the impulse of thy soul, And let the poison flow. They may shatter to earth the lamp of clay That holds a light divine, But they cannot quench the fire of thought By any such deadly wine. They cannot blot thy spoken words From the memory of man By all the poison ever was brewed Since time its course began. To-day abhorred, to-morrow adored, For round and round we run, And ever the Truth comes uppermost, And ever is Justice done.

Plod in thy cave, gray anchorite; Be wiser than thy peers; Augment the range of human power, And trust to coming years. They may call thee wizard, and monk accursed, And load thee with dispraise; Thou wert born five hundred years too soon For the comfort of thy days; But not too soon for human kind. Time hath reward in store; And the demons of our sires become The saints that we adore. The blind can see, the slave is lord, So round and round we run; And ever the Wrong is proved to be wrong And ever is Justice done.

Keep, Galileo, to thy thought, And nerve thy soul to bear; They may gloat o'er the senseless words they wring From the pangs of thy despair; They may veil their eyes, but they cannot hide The sun's meridian glow; The heel of a priest may tread thee down And a tyrant work thee woe; But never a truth has been destroyed; They may curse it and call it crime; Pervert and betray, or slander and slay Its teachers for a time. But the sunshine aye shall light the sky, As round and round we run; And the Truth shall ever come uppermost, And Justice shall be done.

And live there now such men as these— With thoughts like the great of old? Many have died in their misery, And left their thought untold; And many live, and are ranked as mad, And are placed in the cold world's ban, For sending their bright, far-seeing souls Three centuries in the van. They toil in penury and grief, Unknown, if not maligned; Forlorn, forlorn, bearing the scorn Of the meanest of mankind! But yet the world goes round and round, And the genial seasons run; And ever the Truth comes uppermost, And ever is Justice done.

—Charles Mackay.

We cannot kindle when we will The fire which in the heart resides. The spirit bloweth and is still; In mystery our soul abides: But tasks in hours of insight willed Can be through hours of gloom fulfilled.

With aching hands and bleeding feet We dig and heap, lay stone on stone; We bear the burden and the heat Of the long day, and wish 'twere done. Not till the hours of light return, All we have built do we discern.

—Matthew Arnold.


What makes a hero?—not success, not fame, Inebriate merchants, and the loud acclaim Of glutted avarice—caps tossed up in air, Or pen of journalist with flourish fair; Bells pealed, stars, ribbons, and a titular name— These, though his rightful tribute, he can spare; His rightful tribute, not his end or aim, Or true reward; for never yet did these Refresh the soul, or set the heart at ease. What makes a hero?—An heroic mind, Expressed in action, in endurance proved. And if there be preeminence of right, Derived through pain well suffered, to the height Of rank heroic, 'tis to bear unmoved Not toil, not risk, not rage of sea or wind, Not the brute fury of barbarians blind, But worse—ingratitude and poisonous darts, Launched by the country he had served and loved. This, with a free, unclouded spirit pure, This, in the strength of silence to endure, A dignity to noble deeds imparts Beyond the gauds and trappings of renown; This is the hero's complement and crown; This missed, one struggle had been wanting still— One glorious triumph of the heroic will, One self-approval in his heart of hearts.

—Henry Taylor.

As the bird trims her to the gale I trim myself to the storm of time; I man the rudder, reef the sail, Obey the voice at eve obeyed at prime; "Lowly faithful banish fear, Right onward drive unharmed; The port, well worth the cruise, is near, And every wave is charmed."

—Ralph Waldo Emerson.


The world wants men—large-hearted, manly men; Men who shall join its chorus and prolong The psalm of labor, and the psalm of love. The times want scholars—scholars who shall shape The doubtful destinies of dubious years, And land the ark that bears our country's good Safe on some peaceful Ararat at last. The age wants heroes—heroes who shall dare To struggle in the solid ranks of truth; To clutch the monster error by the throat; To bear opinion to a loftier seat; To blot the era of oppression out, And lead a universal freedom on. And heaven wants souls—fresh and capacious souls; To taste its raptures, and expand, like flowers, Beneath the glory of its central sun. It wants fresh souls—not lean and shrivelled ones; It wants fresh souls, my brother, give it thine. If thou indeed wilt be what scholars should; If thou wilt be a hero, and wilt strive To help thy fellow and exalt thyself, Thy feet at last shall stand on jasper floors; Thy heart, at last, shall seem a thousand hearts— Each single heart with myriad raptures filled— While thou shalt sit with princes and with kings, Rich in the jewel of a ransomed soul.

Blessed are they who die for God, And earn the martyr's crown of light; Yet he who lives for God may be A greater conqueror in his sight.

Better to stem with heart and hand The roaring tide of life than lie, Unmindful, on its flowery strand, Of God's occasions drifting by!


Truth will prevail, though men abhor The glory of its light; And wage exterminating war And put all foes to flight.

Though trodden under foot of men, Truth from the dust will spring, And from the press—the lip—the pen— In tones of thunder ring.

Beware—beware, ye who resist The light that beams around, Lest, ere you look through error's mist, Truth strike you to the ground.

—D. C. Colesworthy.


Nay, now, if these things that you yearn to teach Bear wisdom, in your judgment, rich and strong, Give voice to them though no man heed your speech, Since right is right though all the world go wrong.

The proof that you believe what you declare Is that you still stand firm though throngs pass by; Rather cry truth a lifetime to void air Than flatter listening millions with one lie!

—Edgar Fawcett.


Teach me the truth, Lord, though it put to flight My cherished dreams and fondest fancy's play; Give me to know the darkness from the light, The night from day.

Teach me the truth, Lord, though my heart may break In casting out the falsehood for the true; Help me to take my shattered life and make Its actions new.

Teach me the truth, Lord, though my feet may fear The rocky path that opens out to me; Rough it may be, but let the way be clear That leads to thee.

Teach me the truth, Lord. When false creeds decay, When man-made dogmas vanish with the night, Then, Lord, on thee my darkened soul shall stay, Thou living Light.

—Frances Lockwood Green.


It takes great strength to train To modern service your ancestral brain; To lift the weight of the unnumbered years Of dead men's habits, methods, and ideas; To hold that back with one hand, and support With the other the weak steps of the new thought.

It takes great strength to bring your life up square With your accepted thought and hold it there; Resisting the inertia that drags back From new attempts to the old habit's track. It is so easy to drift back, to sink; So hard to live abreast of what you think.

It takes great strength to live where you belong When other people think that you are wrong; People you love, and who love you, and whose Approval is a pleasure you would choose. To bear this pressure and succeed at length In living your belief—well, it takes strength,

And courage, too. But what does courage mean Save strength to help you face a pain foreseen? Courage to undertake this lifelong strain Of setting yours against your grand-sire's brain; Dangerous risk of walking lone and free Out of the easy paths that used to be, And the fierce pain of hurting those we love When love meets truth, and truth must ride above.

But the best courage man has ever shown Is daring to cut loose and think alone. Dark are the unlit chambers of clear space Where light shines back from no reflecting face. Our sun's wide glare, our heaven's shining blue, We owe to fog and dust they fumble through; And our rich wisdom that we treasure so Shines from the thousand things that we don't know. But to think new—it takes a courage grim As led Columbus over the world's rim. To think it cost some courage. And to go— Try it. It takes every power you know.

It takes great love to stir the human heart To live beyond the others and apart. A love that is not shallow, is not small, Is not for one or two, but for them all. Love that can wound love for its higher need; Love that can leave love, though the heart may bleed; Love that can lose love, family and friend, Yet steadfastly live, loving, to the end. A love that asks no answer, that can live Moved by one burning, deathless force—to give. Love, strength, and courage; courage, strength, and love. The heroes of all time are built thereof.

—Charlotte Perkins Stetson.


O star of truth down shining Through clouds of doubt and fear, I ask but 'neath your guidance My pathway may appear. However long the journey How hard soe'er it be, Though I be lone and weary, Lead on, I'll follow thee.

I know thy blessed radiance Can never lead astray, However ancient custom May trend some other way. E'en if through untried deserts, Or over trackless sea, Though I be lone and weary, Lead on, I'll follow thee.

The bleeding feet of martyrs Thy toilsome road have trod. But fires of human passion May light the way to God. Then, though my feet should falter, While I thy beams can see, Though I be lone and weary, Lead on, I'll follow thee.

Though loving friends forsake me, Or plead with me in tears— Though angry foes may threaten To shake my soul with fears— Still to my high allegiance I must not faithless be. Through life or death, forever, Lead on, I'll follow thee.

—Minot J. Savage.


Not ours nobility of this world's giving Granted by monarchs of some earthly throne; Not this life only which is worth the living, Nor honor here worth striving for alone.

Princes are we, and of a line right royal; Heirs are we of a glorious realm above; Yet bound to service humble, true, and loyal, For thus constraineth us our Monarch's love.

And looking to the joy that lies before us, The crown held out to our once fallen race; Led by the light that ever shineth o'er us, Man is restored to nature's noblest place.

Noblesse oblige—(our very watchword be it!) To raise the fallen from this low estate, To boldly combat wrong whene'er we see it, To render good for evil, love for hate.

Noblesse oblige—to deeds of valiant daring In alien lands which other lords obey, And into farthest climes our standard bearing, To lead them captive 'neath our Master's sway.

Noblesse oblige—that, grudging not our treasure, Nor seeking any portion to withhold, We freely give it, without stint or measure, Whate'er it be—our talents, time, or gold.

Noblesse oblige—that, looking upward ever, We serve our King with courage, faith, and love, Till, through that grace which can from death deliver, We claim our noble heritage above!


The winds that once the Argo bore Have died by Neptune's ruined shrines, And her hull is the drift of the deep sea floor, Though shaped of Pelion's tallest pines. You may seek her crew in every isle, Fair in the foam of Aegean seas, But out of their sleep no charm can wile Jason and Orpheus and Hercules.

And Priam's voice is heard no more By windy Illium's sea-built walls; From the washing wave and the lonely shore No wail goes up as Hector falls. On Ida's mount is the shining snow, But Jove has gone from its brow away, And red on the plain the poppies grow Where Greek and Trojan fought that day.

Mother Earth! Are thy heroes dead? Do they thrill the soul of the years no more? Are the gleaming snows and the poppies red All that is left of the brave of yore? Are there none to fight as Theseus fought, Far in the young world's misty dawn? Or teach as the gray-haired Nestor taught? Mother Earth! Are thy heroes gone?

Gone?—in a nobler form they rise; Dead?—we may clasp their hands in ours, And catch the light of their glorious eyes, And wreathe their brows with immortal flowers. Whenever a noble deed is done, There are the souls of our heroes stirred; Whenever a field for truth is won, There are our heroes' voices heard.

Their armor rings in a fairer field Than Greek or Trojan ever trod, For Freedom's sword is the blade they wield, And the light above them the smile of God! So, in his Isle of calm delight, Jason may dream the years away, But the heroes live, and the skies are bright, And the world is a braver world to-day.

—Edna Dean Proctor.

The hero is not fed on sweets, Daily his own heart he eats; Chambers of the great are jails, And head winds right for royal sails.

—Ralph Waldo Emerson.


They seemed to die on battle-field, To die with justice, truth, and law; The bloody corpse, the broken shield, Were all that senseless folly saw. But, like Antaeus from the turf, They sprung refreshed, to strive again, Where'er the savage and the serf Rise to the rank of men.

They seemed to die by sword and fire, Their voices hushed in endless sleep; Well might the noblest cause expire Beneath that mangled, smouldering heap; Yet that wan band, unarmed, defied The legions of their pagan foes; And in the truths they testified, From out the ashes rose.


I pray thee, Lord, that when it comes to me To say if I will follow truth and Thee, Or choose instead to win, as better worth My pains, some cloying recompense of earth—

Grant me, great Father, from a hard-fought field, Forspent and bruised, upon a battered shield, Home to obscure endurance to be borne Rather than live my own mean gains to scorn.

—Edward Sandford Martin.


O, well for him whose will is strong! He suffers, but he will not suffer long; He suffers, but he cannot suffer wrong. For him nor moves the loud world's random mock, Nor all Calamity's hugest waves confound, Who seems a promontory of rock, That, compassed round with turbulent sound, In middle ocean meets the surging shock, Tempest-buffeted, citadel-crowned.

—Alfred Tennyson.


Whene'er a noble deed is wrought, Whene'er is spoken a noble thought, Our hearts in glad surprise, To higher levels rise.

The tidal wave of deeper souls Into our inmost being rolls, And lifts us unawares Out of all meaner cares.

Honor to those whose words or deeds Thus help us in our daily needs, And by their overflow Raise us from what is low!

—Henry Wadsworth Longfellow.


Not on the gory field of fame Their noble deeds were done; Not in the sound of earth's acclaim Their fadeless crowns were won. Not from the palaces of kings, Nor fortune's sunny clime, Came the great souls, whose life-work flings Luster o'er earth and time.

For truth with tireless zeal they sought; In joyless paths they trod— Heedless of praise or blame they wrought, And left the rest to God. The lowliest sphere was not disdained; Where love could soothe or save, They went, by fearless faith sustained, Nor knew their deeds were brave.

The foes with which they waged their strife Were passion, self, and sin; The victories that laureled life Were fought and won within. Not names in gold emblazoned here, And great and good confessed, In Heaven's immortal scroll appear As noblest and as best.

No sculptured stone in stately temple Proclaims their rugged lot; Like Him who was their great example, This vain world knew them not. But though their names no poet wove In deathless song or story, Their record is inscribed above; Their wreaths are crowns of glory.

—Edward Hartley Dewart.


"Even in a palace, life may be led well!" So spoke the imperial sage, purest of men, Marcus Aurelius. But the stifling den Of common life, where, crowded up pell-mell, Our freedom for a little bread we sell, And drudge under some foolish master's ken, Who rates us if we peer outside our pen— Matched with a palace, is not this a hell? "Even in a palace!" On his truth sincere, Who spoke these words no shadow ever came; And when my ill-schooled spirit is aflame Some nobler, ampler stage of life to win, I'll stop and say: "There were no succor here! The aids to noble life are all within."

—Matthew Arnold.


To do the tasks of life, and be not lost; To mingle, yet dwell apart; To be by roughest seas how rudely tossed, Yet bate no jot of heart;

To hold thy course among the heavenly stars, Yet dwell upon the earth; To stand behind Fate's firm-laid prison bars, Yet win all Freedom's worth.

—Sydney Henry Morse.

'Twere sweet indeed to close our eyes with those we cherish near, And wafted upward by their sighs soar to some calmer sphere; But whether on the scaffold high or in the battle's van The fittest place where man can die is where he dies for man.

—Michael Joseph Barry.


(James Braidwood of the London Fire Brigade; died June, 1861.)

Not at the battle front, writ of in story, Not in the blazing wreck, steering to glory;

Not while in martyr-pangs soul and flesh sever, Died he—this Hero now; hero forever.

No pomp poetic crowned, no forms enchained him; No friends applauding watched, no foes arraigned him;

Death found him there, without grandeur or beauty. Only an honest man doing his duty;

Just a God-fearing man, simple and lowly, Constant at kirk and hearth, kindly as holy;

Death found—and touched him with finger in flying— Lo! he rose up complete—hero undying.

Now all men mourn for him, lovingly raise him, Up from his life obscure, chronicle, praise him;

Tell his last act; done 'midst peril appalling, And the last word of cheer from his lips falling;

Follow in multitudes to his grave's portal; Leave him there, buried in honor immortal.

So many a Hero walks unseen beside us, Till comes the supreme stroke sent to divide us.

Then the Lord calls his own—like this man, even, Carried, Elijah-like, fire-winged, to heaven.

—Dinah Maria Mulock Craik.

Unless above himself he can Erect himself, how poor a thing is man.

—Samuel Daniel.


Nay, not for place, but for the right, To make this fair world fairer still— Or lowly lily of the night, Or sun topped tower of a hill, Or high or low, or near or far, Or dull or keen, or bright or dim, Or blade of grass, or brightest star— All, all are but the same to him.

O pity of the strife for place! O pity of the strife for power! How scarred, how marred a mountain's face! How fair the face of a flower! The blade of grass beneath your feet The bravest sword—aye, braver far To do and die in mute defeat Than bravest conqueror of war!

When I am dead, say this, but this: "He grasped at no man's blade or shield. Or banner bore, but helmetless, Alone, unknown, he held the field; He held the field, with sabre drawn, Where God had set him in the fight; He held the field, fought on and on, And so fell, fighting for the right!"

—Joaquin Miller.

While thus to love he gave his days In loyal worship, scorning praise, How spread their lures for him in vain, Thieving Ambition and paltering Gain! He thought it happier to be dead, To die for Beauty than live for bread.

—Ralph Waldo Emerson.

Whether we climb, whether we plod, Space for one task the scant years lend, To choose some path that leads to God, And keep it to the end.

—Lizette Woodworth Reese.

Bravely to do whate'er the time demands, Whether with pen or sword, and not to flinch, This is the task that fits heroic hands; So are Truth's boundaries widened, inch by inch.

—James Russell Lowell.




Once this soft turf, this rivulet's sands, Were trampled by a hurrying crowd, And fiery hearts and armed hands Encountered in the battle cloud.

Ah! never shall the land forget How gushed the life-blood of her brave— Gushed, warm with life and courage yet, Upon the soil they fought to save.

Now all is calm and fresh and still, Alone the chirp of flitting bird, And talks of children on the hill, And bell of wandering kine are heard.

No solemn host goes trailing by The black-mouthed gun and staggering wain; Men start not at the battle-cry; Oh, be it never heard again!

Soon rested those who fought; but thou Who minglest in the harder strife For truths which men receive not now, Thy warfare only ends with life.

A friendless warfare! lingering long Through weary day and weary year; A wild and many-weaponed throng Hang on thy front, and flank, and rear.

Yet nerve thy spirit to the proof. And blench not at thy chosen lot; The timid good may stand aloof, The sage may frown—yet faint thou not.

Nor heed the shaft too surely cast, The foul and hissing bolt of scorn; For with thy side shall dwell at last The victory of endurance born.

Truth, crushed to earth, shall rise again; The eternal years of God are hers; But Error, wounded, writhes in pain, And dies among his worshipers.

Yea, though thou lie upon the dust, When they who helped thee flee in fear, Die full of hope and manly trust, Like those who fell in battle here.

Another hand thy sword shall wield, Another hand the standard wave, Till from the trumpet's mouth is pealed, The blast of triumph o'er thy grave.

—William Cullen Bryant.


Doubting Thomas and loving John, Behind the others walking on:

"Tell me now, John, dare you be One of the minority? To be lonely in your thought, Never visited nor sought, Shunned with secret shrug, to go Through the world esteemed its foe; To be singled out and hissed, Pointed at as one unblessed, Warned against in whispers faint, Lest the children catch a taint; To bear off your titles well,— Heretic and infidel? If you dare, come now with me, Fearless, confident and free."

"Thomas, do you dare to be Of the great majority? To be only, as the rest, With Heaven's common comforts blessed; To accept, in humble part, Truth that shines on every heart; Never to be set on high, Where the envious curses fly; Never name or fame to find, Still outstripped in soul and mind; To be hid, unless to God, As one grass-blade in the sod; Underfoot with millions trod? If you dare, come with us, be Lost in love's great unity."

—Edward Rowland Sill.


Time was I shrank from what was right, From fear of what was wrong; I would not brave the sacred fight Because the foe was strong.

But now I cast that finer sense And sorer shame aside; Such dread of sin was indolence, Such aim at heaven was pride.

So when my Saviour calls I rise, And calmly do my best; Leaving to Him, with silent eyes Of hope and fear, the rest.

I step, I mount, where He has led; Men count my haltings o'er; I know them; yet, though self I dread, I love His precept more.

—John Henry Newman.


Because I hold it sinful to despond, And will not let the bitterness of life Blind me with burning tears, but look beyond Its tumult and its strife;

Because I lift my head above the mist, Where the sun shines and the broad breezes blow, By every ray and every raindrop kissed That God's love doth bestow;

Think you I find no bitterness at all? No burden to be borne, like Christian's pack? Think you there are no ready tears to fall Because I keep them back?

Why should I hug life's ills with cold reserve, To curse myself and all who love me? Nay! A thousand times more good than I deserve God gives me every day.

And in each one of these rebellious tears Kept bravely back He makes a rainbow shine; Gratefully I take His slightest gift, no fears Nor any doubts are mine.

Dark skies must clear, and when the clouds are past One golden day redeems a weary year; Patient I listen, sure that sweet at last Will sound his voice of cheer.

Then vex me not with chiding. Let me be. I must be glad and grateful to the end. I grudge you not your cold and darkness,—me The powers of light befriend.

—Celia Thaxter.


Dare to think, though others frown; Dare in words your thoughts express; Dare to rise, though oft cast down; Dare the wronged and scorned to bless.

Dare from custom to depart; Dare the priceless pearl possess; Dare to wear it next your heart; Dare, when others curse, to bless.

Dare forsake what you deem wrong; Dare to walk in wisdom's way, Dare to give where gifts belong, Dare God's precepts to obey.

Do what conscience says is right, Do what reason says is best, Do with all your mind and might; Do your duty and be blest.


O tired worker, faltering on life's rugged way, With faithful hands so full they may not rest, Forget not that the weak of earth have one sure stay, And humblest ones by God himself are blest, Who work for Him!

Then courage take, faint heart! and though the path be long God's simple rule thy steps will safely guide:— "Love Him, thy neighbor as thyself, and do no wrong"; In calm content they all shall surely bide Who walk with Him!

So banish every fear, each daily task take up, God's grace thy failing strength shall build anew; His mercy, in thy sorrows, stay the flowing cup: And His great love keep for thy spirit true A place with him!

—J. D. Seabury.


A mighty fortress is our God, A bulwark never failing: Our Helper, he, amid the flood Of mortal ills prevailing. For still our ancient foe Doth seek to work us woe; His craft and power are great, And, armed with cruel hate, On earth is not his equal.

Did we in our own strength confide, Our striving would be losing; Were not the right man on our side, The man of God's own choosing. Dost ask who that may be? Christ Jesus, it is he; Lord Sabaoth is his name, From age to age the same, And he must win the battle.

And though this world, with devils filled, Should threaten to undo us; We will not fear, for God hath willed His truth to triumph through us. The Prince of darkness grim— We tremble not for him; His rage we can endure, For lo! his doom is sure, One little word shall fell him.

That word above all earthly powers— No thanks to them—abideth; The Spirit and the gifts are ours Through him who with us sideth. Let goods and kindred go, This mortal life also; The body they may kill: God's truth abideth still, His kingdom is forever.

—Martin Luther, tr. by Frederick H. Hedge.


Be strong to hope, O heart! Though day is bright, The stars can only shine In the dark night. Be strong, O heart of mine, Look toward the light.

Be strong to bear, O heart! Nothing is vain: Strive not, for life is care, And God sends pain. Heaven is above, and there Rest will remain.

Be strong to love, O heart! Love knows not wrong; Didst thou love creatures even, Life were not long; Didst thou love God in heaven Thou wouldst be strong.

Why comes temptation but for man to meet And master and make crouch beneath his foot, And so be pedestaled in triumph? Pray, "Lead us into no such temptation, Lord!" Yea, but, O thou whose servants are the bold, Lead such temptations by the head and hair, Reluctant dragons, up to who dares fight, That so he may do battle and have praise.

—Robert Browning.


Speak thou the truth. Let others fence, And trim their words for pay: In pleasant sunshine of pretense Let others bask their day.

Guard thou the fact; though clouds of night Down on thy watch tower stoop: Though thou shouldst see thine heart's delight Borne from thee by their swoop.

Face thou the wind. Though safer seem In shelter to abide: We were not made to sit and dream: The safe must first be tried.

Where God hath set His thorns about, Cry not, "The way is plain": His path within for those without Is paved with toil and pain.

One fragment of His blessed Word, Into thy spirit burned, Is better than the whole half-heard And by thine interest turned.

Show thou thy light. If conscience gleam, Set not thy bushel down; The smallest spark may send his beam O'er hamlet, tower, and town.

Woe, woe to him, on safety bent, Who creeps to age from youth, Failing to grasp his life's intent Because he fears the truth.

Be true to every inmost thought, And as thy thought, thy speech: What thou hast not by suffering bought, Presume thou not to teach.

Hold on, hold on—thou hast the rock, The foes are on the sand: The first world tempest's ruthless shock Scatters their drifting strand:

While each wild gust the mist shall clear We now see darkly through, And justified at last appear The true, in Him that's True.

—Henry Alford.


The brave man is not he who feels no fear, For that were stupid and irrational; But he whose noble soul its fear subdues, And bravely dares the danger nature shrinks from. As for your youth whom blood and blows delight, Away with them! there is not in their crew One valiant spirit.

—Joanna Baillie.


Thy life's a warfare, thou a soldier art; Satan's thy foeman, and a faithful heart Thy two-edged weapon; patience is thy shield, Heaven is thy chieftain, and the world thy field. To be afraid to die, or wish for death, Are words and passions of despairing breath. Who doth the first the day doth faintly yield; And who the second basely flies the field.

—Francis Quarles.

When falls the hour of evil chance— And hours of evil chance will fall— Strike, though with but a broken lance! Strike, though you have no lance at all!

Shrink not, however great the odds; Shrink not, however dark the hour— The barest possibility of good Demands your utmost power.

They are slaves who fear to speak For the fallen and the weak; They are slaves who will not choose Hatred, scoffing and abuse, Rather than in silence shrink From the truth they needs must think; They are slaves who dare not be In the right with two or three.

—James Russell Lowell.


Courage, brother, do not stumble, Though thy path be dark as night; There's a star to guide the humble— Trust in God and do the right. Though the road be long and dreary, And the end be out of sight; Foot it bravely, strong or weary— Trust in God and do the right.

Perish "policy" and cunning, Perish all that fears the light; Whether losing, whether winning, Trust in God and do the right. Shun all forms of guilty passion, Fiends can look like angels bright; Heed no custom, school, or fashion— Trust in God and do the right.

Some will hate thee, some will love thee, Some will flatter, some will slight; Cease from man and look above thee, Trust in God and do the right. Simple rule and safest guiding— Inward peace and shining light— Star upon our path abiding— TRUST IN GOD AND DO THE RIGHT.

—Norman Macleod.


We are living, we are dwelling, in a grand and awful time. In an age on ages telling to be living is sublime. Hark! the waking up of nations; Gog and Magog to the fray. Hark! what soundeth? 'Tis creation groaning for its latter day.

Will ye play, then, will ye dally, with your music and your wine? Up! it is Jehovah's rally; God's own arm hath need of thine; Hark! the onset! will ye fold your faith-clad arms in lazy lock? Up! O up, thou drowsy soldier! Worlds are charging to the shock.

Worlds are charging—heaven beholding; thou hast but an hour to fight; Now the blazoned cross unfolding, on, right onward for the right! On! let all the soul within you for the truth's sake go abroad! Strike! let every nerve and sinew tell on ages; tell for God!

—Arthur Cleveland Coxe.


We will speak on; we will be heard; Though all earth's systems crack, We will not bate a single word, Nor take a letter back.

We speak the truth; and what care we For hissing and for scorn While some faint gleaming we can see Of Freedom's coming morn!

Let liars fear; let cowards shrink; Let traitors turn away; Whatever we have dared to think, That dare we also say.

—James Russell Lowell.


He has no enemies, you say? My friend, your boast is poor; He who hath mingled in the fray Of duty, that the brave endure, Must have made foes. If he has none Small is the work that he has done. He has hit no traitor on the hip; He has cast no cup from tempted lip; He has never turned the wrong to right; He has been a coward in the fight.

One deed may mar a life, And one can make it. Hold firm thy will for strife, Lest a quick blow break it! Even now from far, on viewless wing, Hither speeds the nameless thing Shall put thy spirit to the test. Haply or e'er yon sinking sun Shall drop behind the purple West All shall be lost—or won!

—Richard Watson Gilder.

In spite of sorrow, loss, and pain, Our course be onward still; We sow on Burmah's barren plain, We reap on Zion's hill.

—Adoniram Judson.

I find no foeman in the road but Fear. To doubt is failure and to dare success.

—Frederic Lawrence Knowles.


Dare to do right! dare to be true! You have a work that no other can do, Do it so bravely, so kindly, so well, Angels will hasten the story to tell.

Dare to do right! dare to be true! Other men's failures can never save you; Stand by your conscience, your honor, your faith; Stand like a hero, and battle till death.

Dare to do right! dare to be true! God, who created you, cares for you too; Treasures the tears that his striving ones shed, Counts and protects every hair of your head.

Dare to do right! dare to be true! Keep the great judgment-seat always in view; Look at your work as you'll look at it then— Scanned by Jehovah, and angels, and men.

Dare to do right! dare to be true! Cannot Omnipotence carry you through? City, and mansion, and throne all in sight— Can you not dare to be true and do right?

Dare to do right! dare to be true! Prayerfully, lovingly, firmly pursue The path by apostles and martyrs once trod, The path of the just to the city of God.

—George Lansing Taylor.


Pluck wins! It always wins! though days be slow, And nights be dark 'twixt days that come and go, Still pluck will win; its average is sure, He gains the prize who will the most endure; Who faces issues; he who never shirks; Who waits and watches, and who always works.


Be never discouraged! Look up and look on; When the prospect is darkest The cloud is withdrawn. The shadows that blacken The earth and the sky, Speak to the strong-hearted, Salvation is nigh.

Be never discouraged! If you would secure The earth's richest blessings, And make heaven sure, Yield not in the battle, Nor quail in the blast; The brave and unyielding Win nobly at last.

Be never discouraged! By day and by night Have glory in prospect And wisdom in sight; Undaunted and faithful, You never will fail, Though kingdoms oppose you And devils assail.

—D. C. Colesworthy.


Keep pushing—'tis wiser than sitting aside And dreaming and sighing and waiting the tide. In life's earnest battle they only prevail Who daily march onward, and never say fail.

With an eye ever open, a tongue that's not dumb, And a heart that will never to sorrow succumb, You'll battle—and conquer, though thousands assail; How strong and how mighty, who never say fail.

In life's rosy morning, in manhood's firm pride, Let this be the motto your footsteps to guide: In storm and in sunshine, whatever assail, We'll onward and conquer, and never say fail.


However the battle is ended, Though proudly the victor comes, With fluttering flags and prancing nags And echoing roll of drums, Still truth proclaims this motto, In letters of living light: No question is ever settled Until it is settled right.

Though the heel of the strong oppressor May grind the weak in the dust, And the voices of fame with one acclaim May call him great and just, Let those who applaud take warning, And keep this motto in sight: No question is ever settled Until it is settled right.

Let those who have failed take courage; Though the enemy seemed to have won, Though his ranks are strong, if in the wrong The battle is not yet done. For, sure as the morning follows The darkest hour of the night, No question is ever settled Until it is settled right.


O, never from thy tempted heart Let thine integrity depart! When Disappointment fills thy cup, Undaunted, nobly drink it up; Truth will prevail and Justice show Her tardy honors, sure, though slow. Bear on—bear bravely on!

Bear on! Our life is not a dream, Though often such its mazes seem; We were not born for lives of ease, Ourselves alone to aid and please. To each a daily task is given, A labor which shall fit for Heaven; When Duty calls, let Love grow warm; Amid the sunshine and the storm, With Faith life's trials boldly breast, And come a conqueror to thy rest. Bear on—bear bravely on!

He that feeds men serveth few; He serves all who dares be true.

—Ralph Waldo Emerson.


Be firm. One constant element in luck Is genuine, solid, old Teutonic pluck. See yon tall shaft? It felt the earthquake's thrill, Clung to its base, and greets the sunlight still.

Stick to your aim; the mongrel's hold will slip, But only crow-bars loose the bulldog's grip; Small as he looks, the jaw that never yields Drags down the bellowing monarch of the fields.

Yet, in opinions look not always back; Your wake is nothing,—mind the coming track; Leave what you've done for what you have to do, Don't be "consistent," but be simply true.

—Oliver Wendell Holmes.

Do thy little; do it well; Do what right and reason tell; Do what wrong and sorrow claim: Conquer sin and cover shame. Do thy little, though it be Dreariness and drudgery; They whom Christ apostles made Gathered fragments when he bade.

Is the work difficult? Jesus directs thee. Is the path dangerous? Jesus protects thee.

Fear not and falter not; Let the word cheer thee: All through the coming year He will be near thee.

Well to suffer is divine. Pass the watchword down the line Pass the countersign, Endure! Not to him who rashly dares, But to him who nobly bears, Is the victor's garland sure.

—John Greenleaf Whittier.

If thou canst plan a noble deed And never flag till thou succeed, Though in the strife thy heart shall bleed, Whatever obstacles control, Thine hour will come; go on, true soul! Thou'lt win the prize; thou'lt reach the goal.

I honor the man who is willing to sink Half his present repute for freedom to think; And when he has that, be his cause strong or weak, Will risk t'other half for freedom to speak.

—James Russell Lowell.

The word is great, and no deed is greater When both are of God, to follow or lead; But alas! for the truth when the word comes later, With questioned steps, to sustain the deed.

—John Boyle O'Reilly.

Stand upright, speak thy thought, declare The truth thou hast that all may share; Be bold, proclaim it everywhere; They only live who dare.

—Lewis Morris.

There is no duty patent in the world Like daring try be good and true myself, Leaving the shows of things to the Lord of show And Prince o' the power of the air.

—Robert Browning.

Tender-handed stroke a nettle, And it stings you for your pains; Grasp it like a man of mettle, And it soft as silk remains.

—Aaron Hill (1685-1750).

On the red rampart's slippery swell, With heart that beat a charge, he fell Foeward, as fits a man; But the high soul burns on to light men's feet Where death for noble ends makes dying sweet.

—James Russell Lowell.

I do not ask that Thou shalt front the fray. And drive the warring foeman from my sight: I only ask, O Lord, by night, by day, Strength for the fight!

No coward soul is mine, No trembler in the world's storm-troubled sphere; I see Heaven's glories shine, And faith shines equal, arming me from fear.

—Emily Bronte.

You will find that luck Is only pluck To try things over and over; Patience and skill, Courage and will, Are the four leaves of luck's clover.

The chivalry That dares the right and disregards alike The yea and nay o' the world.

—Robert Browning.

God has his best things for the few Who dare to stand the test; He has his second choice for those Who will not have his best.

Dare to be true; nothing can need a lie; A fault which needs it most grows two thereby.

—George Herbert.




God give us men! A time like this demands Strong minds, great hearts, true faith, and ready hands; Men whom the lust of office does not kill; Men whom the spoils of office cannot buy; Men who possess opinions and a will; Men who have honor—men who will not lie. Men who can stand before a demagogue And damn his treacherous flatteries without winking; Tall men, sun-crowned, who live above the fog In public duty and in private thinking; For while the rabble, with their thumb-worn creeds, Their large professions and their little deeds, Mingle in selfish strife, lo! Freedom weeps, Wrong rules the land, and waiting Justice sleeps.

—Josiah Gilbert Holland.


By thine own soul's law learn to live, And if men thwart thee take no heed; And if men hate thee have no care; Sing thou thy song, and do thy deed; Hope thou thy hope, and pray thy prayer, And claim no crown they will not give, Nor bays they grudge thee for thy hair.

Keep thou thy soul-won, steadfast oath, And to thy heart be true thy heart; What thy soul teaches learn to know, And play out thine appointed part, And thou shalt reap as thou shalt sow, Nor helped nor hardened in thy growth, To thy full stature thou shalt grow.

Fix on the future's goal thy face, And let thy feet be lured to stray Nowhither, but be swift to run, And nowhere tarry by the way, Until at last the end is won, And thou mayst look back from thy place And see thy long day's journey done.

—Pakenham Beatty.


How happy is he born and taught That serveth not another's will; Whose armor is his honest thought, And simple truth his utmost skill.

Whose passions not his masters are, Whose soul is still prepared for death; Not tied unto the world with care Of public fame or private breath.

Who envies none that chance doth raise, Or vice; who never understood How deepest wounds are given by praise, Nor rules of state but rules of good.

Who hath his life from rumors freed, Whose conscience is his strong retreat; Whose state can neither flatterers feed, Nor ruin make accusers great.

Who God doth late and early pray More of his grace than gifts to lend; And entertains the harmless day With a well-chosen book or friend.

This man is freed from servile bands, Of hope to rise or fear to fall; Lord of himself, though not of lands, And having nothing, yet hath all.

—Henry Wotton.

High above hate I dwell; O storms, farewell!


Out of the night that covers me, Black as the pit from pole to pole, I thank whatever gods may be For my unconquerable soul.

Beyond this place of wrath and tears Looms but the horror of the shade, And yet the menace of the years Finds and shall find me unafraid.

In the fell clutch of circumstance I have not winced nor cried aloud; Under the bludgeonings of chance My head is bloody, but unbowed.

It matters not how strait the gate, How charged with punishments the scroll; I am the master of my fate, I am the captain of my soul.

—William Ernest Henley.


He stood before the Sanhedrim: The scowling rabbis gazed at him. He recked not of their praise or blame; There was no fear, there was no shame, For one upon whose dazzled eyes The whole world poured its vast surprise. The open heaven was far too near His first day's light too sweet and clear, To let him waste his new-gained ken On the hate-clouded face of men.

But still they questioned, Who art thou? What hast thou been? What art thou now? Thou art not he who yesterday Sat here and begged beside the way, For he was blind. "And I am he; For I was blind, but now I see."

He told the story o'er and o'er; It was his full heart's only lore; A prophet on the Sabbath day Had touched his sightless eyes with clay, And made him see who had been blind, Their words passed by him like the wind Which raves and howls, but cannot shock The hundred-fathom-rooted rock.

Their threats and fury all went wide; They could not touch his Hebrew pride. Their sneers at Jesus and his band, Nameless and homeless in the land, Their boasts of Moses and his Lord, All could not change him by one word.

"I know not what this man may be, Sinner or saint; but as for me One thing I know: that I am he Who once was blind, and now I see."

They were all doctors of renown, The great men of a famous town With deep brows, wrinkled, broad, and wise Beneath their wide phylacteries; The wisdom of the East was theirs, And honor crowned their silvery hairs. The man they jeered, and laughed to scorn Was unlearned, poor, and humbly born; But he knew better far than they What came to him that Sabbath day; And what the Christ had done for him He knew, and not the Sanhedrim.

—John Hay.


Riches I hold in light esteem, And Love I laugh to scorn; And lust of fame was but a dream, That vanished with the morn.

And, if I pray, the only prayer That moves my lips for me Is, "Leave the heart that now I bear, And give me liberty!"

Yes, as my swift days near their goal, 'Tis all that I implore, In life and death a chainless soul And courage to endure.

—Emily Bronte.

Keep to the right, within and without, With stranger and pilgrim and friend; Keep to the right and you need have no doubt That all will be well in the end. Keep to the right in whatever you do, Nor claim but your own on the way; Keep to the right, and hold on to the true, From the morn to the close of life's day!


Is there for honest poverty That hangs his head, and a' that? The coward slave, we pass him by, We dare be poor for a' that; For a' that and a' that; Our toils obscure and a' that; The rank is but the guinea-stamp, The man's the gowd for a' that.

What though on hamely fare we dine, Wear hodden gray, and a' that: Gie fools their silks and knaves their wine, A man's a man for a' that; For a' that and a' that, Their tinsel show, and a' that, The honest man, though e'er sae poor, Is king o' men, for a' that.

You see yon birkie ca'd a lord, Wha struts and stares, and a' that: Though hundreds worship at his word He's but a coof for a' that. For a' that and a' that, His riband, star, and a' that, The man of independent mind, He looks and laughs at a' that.

A prince can mak a belted knight, A marquis, duke, and a' that; But an honest man's aboon his might, Guid faith, he mauna fa' that, For a' that and a' that, Their dignities, and a' that, The pith of sense and pride o' worth, Are higher ranks than a' that.

Then let us pray that come it may, As come it will, for a' that, That sense and worth o'er a' the earth, May bear the gree and a' that; For a' that and a' that, It's comin' yet for a' that, That man to man, the warld o'er, Shall brothers be, for a' that.

—Robert Burns.

Stone walls do not a prison make, Nor iron bars a cage; Minds innocent and quiet take That for a hermitage; If I have freedom in my love, And in my soul am free, Angels alone, that soar above, Enjoy such liberty.

—Richard Lovelace.


(A new song to an old tune.)

"A man's a man," says Robert Burns, "For a' that and a' that"; But though the song be clear and strong It lacks a note for a' that. The lout who'd shirk his daily work, Yet claim his wage and a' that, Or beg when he might earn his bread, Is not a man for a' that.

If all who "dine on homely fare" Were true and brave and a' that, And none whose garb is "hodden gray" Was fool or knave and a' that, The vice and crime that shame our time Would disappear and a' that, And plowmen be as great as kings, And churls as earls for a' that.

But 'tis not so; yon brawny fool, Who swaggers, swears, and a' that, And thinks because his strong right arm Might fell an ox, and a' that, That he's as noble, man for man, As duke or lord, and a' that, Is but an animal at best But not a man for a' that.

A man may own a large estate, Have palace, park, and a' that, And not for birth, but honest worth, Be thrice a man for a' that. And Sawnie, herding on the moor, Who beats his wife and a' that, Is nothing but a brutal boor, Nor half a man for a' that.

It comes to this, dear Robert Burns, The truth is old, and a' that, The rank is but the guinea's stamp, The man's the gowd for a' that. And though you'd put the self-same mark On copper, brass, and a' that, The lie is gross, the cheat is plain, And will not pass for a' that.

"For a' that and a' that" 'Tis soul and heart and a' that That makes a king a gentleman, And not his crown for a' that. And whether he be rich or poor The best is he, for a' that, Who stands erect in self-respect, And acts the man for a' that.

—Charles Mackay.


The knightly legend on thy shield betrays The moral of thy life; a forecast wise, And that large honor that deceit defies, Inspired thy fathers in the elder days, Who decked thy scutcheon with that sturdy phrase, To be, rather than seem. As eve's red skies Surpass the morning's rosy prophecies, Thy life to that proud boast its answer pays, Scorning thy faith and purpose to defend. The ever-mutable multitude at last Will hail the power they did not comprehend— Thy fame will broaden through the centuries; As, storm and billowy tumult overpast, The moon rules calmly o'er the conquered seas.

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