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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 man’s A man for A’ that

(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.

John Hay.


Man was not made for forms, but forms for man,
And there are times when law itself must bend
To that clear spirit always in the van,
Outspeeding human justice. In the end
Potentates, not humanity, must fall.
Water will find its level, fire will burn,
The winds must blow around the earthly ball,
The earthly ball by day and night must turn;
Freedom is typed in every element,
Man must be free, if not through law, why then
Above the law, until its force be spent
And justice brings a better. But, O, when,
Father of Light, when shall the reckoning come
To lift the weak, and strike the oppressor dumb.

Christopher Pearse Cranch.

What I am, what I am not, in the eye
Of the world, is what I never cared for much.

Robert Browning.


To keep my health;
To do my work;
To live;
To see to it that I grow and gain and give;
Never to look behind me for an hour;
To wait in meekness, and to walk in power;
But always fronting onward, to the light,
Always and always facing toward the right.
Robbed, starved, defeated, fallen, wide-astray
On, with what strength I have
Back to the way.

Charlotte Perkins Stetson.


I do not ask for any crown
But that which all may win;
Nor try to conquer any world
Except the one within.
Be thou my guide until I find
Led by a tender hand,
The happy kingdom in myself
And dare to take command.

Louisa May Alcott.


This is my creed,
This is my deed:
“Hide not thy heart!”
Soon we depart;
Mortals are all;
A breath, then the pall;
A flash on the dark
All’s done stiff and stark.
No time for a lie;
The truth, and then die.
Hide not thy heart!

Forth with thy thought!
Soon ’twill be naught,
And thou in thy tomb.
Now is air, now is room.
Down with false shame;
Reck not of fame;
Dread not man’s spite;
Quench not thy light.
This be thy creed,
This be thy deed:
“Hide not thy heart!”

If God is, he made
Sunshine and shade,
Heaven and hell;
This we know well.
Dost thou believe?
Do not deceive;
Scorn not thy faith
If ’tis a wraith
Soon it will fly.
Thou who must die,
Hide not thy heart!

This is my creed,
This be my deed:
Faith, or a doubt,
I shall speak out
And hide not my heart.

Richard Watson Gilder.


(Psa. XV.)

’Tis he whose every thought and deed
By rule of virtue moves;
Whose generous tongue disdains to speak
The thing his heart disproves.

Who never did a slander forge
His neighbor’s fame to wound;
Nor hearken to a false report
By malice whispered round.

Who vice in all its pomp and power
Can treat with just neglect;
And piety, though clothed in rags,
Religiously respect.

Who to his plighted word of truth
Has ever firmly stood;
And, though he promised to his loss,
Still makes his promise good.

Whose soul in usury disdains
His treasure to employ;
Whom no reward can ever bribe
The guiltless to destroy.

I hold it as a changeless law,
From which no soul can sway or swerve,
We have that in us which will draw
Whate’er we need or most deserve.


Thou must be true thyself
If thou the truth wouldst teach;
Thy soul must overflow if thou
Another’s soul wouldst reach.
It needs the overflow of heart
To give the lips full speech.

Think truly, and thy thoughts
Shall the world’s famine feed;
Speak truly, and each word of thine
Shall be a fruitful seed;
Live truly, and thy life shall be
A great and noble creed.

Horatius Bonar.

Keep pure thy soul!
Then shalt thou take the whole
Of delight;
Then, without a pang,
Thine shall be all of beauty whereof the poet sang
The perfume and the pageant, the melody, the mirth,
Of the golden day and the starry night;
Of heaven and of earth.
Oh, keep pure thy soul!

Richard Watson Gilder.

Somebody did a golden deed;
Somebody proved a friend in need;
Somebody sang a beautiful song;
Somebody smiled the whole daylong;
Somebody thought, “’Tis sweet to live.”
Somebody said, “I’m glad to give”;
Somebody fought a valiant fight;
Somebody lived to shield the right;
Was it you?

Then draw we nearer, day by day,
Each to his brethren, all to God;
Let the world take us as she may,
We must not change our road;
Not wondering, though in grief, to find
The martyr’s foe still keep her mind;
But fixed to hold Love’s banner fast,
And by submission win at last.

John Keble.

Knowing, what all experience serves to show,
No mud can soil us but the mud we throw.

James Russell Lowell.

Be no imitator; freshly act thy part;
Through this world be thou an independent ranger;
Better is the faith that springeth from thy heart
Than a better faith belonging to a stranger.

From the Persian.

None but one can harm you,
None but yourself who are your greatest foe,
He that respects himself is safe from others,
He wears a coat of mail that none can pierce.

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow.

And some innative weakness there must be
In him that condescends to victory
Such as the present gives, and cannot wait
Safe in himself as in a fate.

James Russell Lowell.

To be the thing we seem,
To do the thing we deem
Enjoined by duty;
To walk in faith, nor dream
Of questioning God’s scheme
Of truth and beauty.

To live by law, acting the law we live by without fear,
And, because right is right, to follow right,
Were wisdom, in the scorn of consequence.

Alfred Tennyson.

Though love repine, and reason chafe,
There came a voice without reply:
“’Tis man’s perdition to be safe,
When for the truth he ought to die.”

Ralph Waldo Emerson.

Whatever you are be that;
Whatever you say be true;
Straightforwardly act
Be honest in fact
Be nobody else but you.

If thou hast something, bring thy goods;
A fair exchange be thine!
If thou art something, bring thy soul,
And interchange with mine.

Schiller, tr. by Edward Bulwer Lytton.

However others act toward thee,
Act thou toward them as seemeth right;
And whatsoever others be,
Be thou the child of love and light.

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.

My time is short enough at best,
I push right onward while I may;
I open to the winds my breast,
And walk the way.

John Vance Cheney.

Not in the clamor of the crowded street,
Not in the shouts and plaudits of the throng,
But in ourselves are triumph and defeat.

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow.

It becomes no man to nurse despair,
But in the teeth of clenched antagonisms
To follow up the worthiest till he die.

Alfred Tennyson.