Quit yourselves like men.

--1 SAMUEL iv. 9.

Cowards have no luck.


He has not learned the lesson of life who does not every day

surmount a fear.


To dare is better than to doubt,

For doubt is always grieving;

'Tis faith that finds the riddles out;

The prize is for believing.



Boldly and wisely in that light thou hast;

There is a hand above will help thee on.


"Have hope! Though clouds environ now,

And gladness hides her face in scorn,

Put thou the shadow from thy brow--

No night but hath its morn."

"Our enemies are before us," exclaimed the Spartans at Thermopylae. "And

we are before them," was the cool reply of Leonidas. "Deliver your

arms," came the message from Xerxes. "Come and take them," was the

answer Leonidas sent back. A Persian soldier said: "You will not be able

to see the sun for flying javelins and arrows." "Then we will fight in

the shade," replied a Lacedemonian. What wonder that a handful of such

men checked the march of the greatest host that ever trod the earth.

"The hero," says Emerson, "is the man who is immovably centred."

Darius the Great sent ambassadors to the Athenians, to demand earth and

water, which denoted submission. The Athenians threw them into a ditch

and told them, there was earth and water enough.

"Bring back the colors," shouted a captain at the battle of the Alma,

when an ensign maintained his ground in front, although the men were

retreating. "No," cried the ensign, "bring up the men to the colors."

"To dare, and again to dare, and without end to dare," was Danton's

noble defiance to the enemies of France.

Shakespeare says: "He is not worthy of the honeycomb that shuns the

hives because the bees have stings."

"It is a bad omen," said Eric the Red, when his horse slipped and fell

on the way to his ship, moored on the coast of Greenland, in readiness

for a voyage of discovery. "Ill-fortune would be mine should I dare

venture now upon the sea." So he returned to his house; but his young

son Leif decided to go, and with a crew of thirty-five men, sailed

southward in search of the unknown shore upon which Captain Biarni had

been driven by a storm, while sailing in another Viking ship two or

three years before. The first land that they saw was probably Labrador,

a barren, rugged plain. Leif called this country Heluland, or the land

of flat stones. Sailing onward many days, he came to a low, level coast

thickly covered with woods, on account of which he called the country

Markland, probably the modern Nova Scotia. Sailing onward, they came to

an island which they named Vinland, on account of the abundance of

delicious wild grapes in the woods. This was in the year 1000. Here

where the city of Newport, R. I., stands, they spent many months, and

then returned to Greenland with their vessel loaded with grapes and

strange kinds of wood. The voyage was successful, and no doubt Eric was

sorry he had been frightened by the bad omen.

"Not every vessel that sails from Tarshish will bring back the Gold of

Ophir. But shall it therefore rot in the harbor? No! Give its sails to

the wind!"

Men who have dared have moved the world, often before reaching the prime

of life. It is astonishing what daring to begin and perseverance have

enabled even youths to achieve. Alexander, who ascended the throne at

twenty, had conquered the whole known world before dying at

thirty-three. Julius Caesar captured eight hundred cities, conquered

three hundred nations, and defeated three million men, became a great

orator and one of the greatest statesmen known, and still was a young

man. Washington was appointed adjutant-general at nineteen, was sent at

twenty-one as an ambassador to treat with the French, and won his first

battle as a colonel at twenty-two. Lafayette was made general of the

whole French army at twenty. Charlemagne was master of France and

Germany at thirty. Conde was only twenty-two when he conquered at

Rocroi. Galileo was but eighteen when he saw the principle of the

pendulum in the swinging lamp in the cathedral at Pisa. Peel was in

Parliament at twenty-one. Gladstone was in Parliament before he was

twenty-two, and at twenty-four he was a Lord of the Treasury. Elizabeth

Barrett Browning was proficient in Greek and Latin at twelve; De Quincey

at eleven. Robert Browning wrote at eleven poetry of no mean order.

Cowley, who sleeps in Westminster Abbey, published a volume of poems at

fifteen. N. P. Willis won lasting fame as a poet before leaving college.

Macaulay was a celebrated author before he was twenty-three. Luther was

but twenty-nine when he nailed his famous thesis to the door of the

bishop and defied the pope. Nelson was a lieutenant in the British navy

before he was twenty. He was but forty-seven when he received his death

wound at Trafalgar. Charles the Twelfth was only nineteen when he gained

the battle of Narva; at thirty-six Cortes was the conqueror of Mexico;

at thirty-two Clive had established the British power in India.

Hannibal, the greatest of military commanders, was only thirty when, at

Cannae, he dealt an almost annihilating blow at the Republic of Rome; and

Napoleon was only twenty-seven when, on the plains of Italy, he

out-generaled and defeated, one after another, the veteran marshals of


Equal courage and resolution are often shown by men who have passed the

allotted limit of life. Victor Hugo and Wellington were both in their

prime after they had reached the age of threescore years and ten. George

Bancroft wrote some of his best historical work when he was eighty-five.

Gladstone ruled England with a strong hand at eighty-four, and was a

marvel of literary and scholarly ability.

"Your Grace has not the organ of animal courage largely developed," said

a phrenologist, who was examining Wellington's head. "You are right,"

replied the Iron Duke, "and but for my sense of duty I should have

retreated in my first fight." That first fight, on an Indian field, was

one of the most terrible on record.

Grant never knew when he was beaten. When told that he was surrounded by

the enemy at Belmont, he quietly replied: "Well, then, we must cut our

way out."

When General Jackson was a judge and was holding court in a small

settlement, a border ruffian, a murderer and desperado, came into the

court-room with brutal violence and interrupted the court. The judge

ordered him to be arrested. The officer did not dare approach him. "Call

a posse," said the judge, "and arrest him." But they also shrank with

fear from the ruffian. "Call me, then," said Jackson; "this court is

adjourned for five minutes." He left the bench, walked straight up to

the man, and with his eagle eye actually cowed the ruffian, who dropped

his weapons, afterward saying: "There was something in his eye I could

not resist."

Lincoln never shrank from espousing an unpopular cause when he believed

it to be right. At the time when it almost cost a young lawyer his bread

and butter to defend the fugitive slave, and when other lawyers had

refused, Lincoln would always plead the cause of the unfortunate

whenever an opportunity presented. "Go to Lincoln," people would say,

when these bounded fugitives were seeking protection; "he's not afraid

of any cause, if it's right."

Abraham Lincoln's boyhood was one long struggle with poverty, with

little education and no influential friends. When at last he had begun

the practice of law it required no little daring to cast his fortune

with the weaker side in politics, and thus imperil what small reputation

he had gained. Only the most sublime moral courage could have sustained

him as President to hold his ground against hostile criticism and a long

train of disaster; to issue the Emancipation Proclamation; to support

Grant and Stanton against the clamor of the politicians and the press;

and through it all to do the right as God gave him to see the right.

"Doubt indulged becomes doubt realized." To determine to do anything is

half the battle. "To think a thing is impossible is to make it so."

"Courage is victory, timidity is defeat."

Don't waste time dreaming of obstacles you may never encounter, or in

crossing bridges you have not reached. Don't fool with a nettle! Grasp

with firmness if you would rob it of its sting. To half will and to hang

forever in the balance is to lose your grip on life.

Execute your resolutions immediately. Thoughts are but dreams till their

effects be tried. Does competition trouble you? work away; what is your

competitor but a man? _Conquer your place in the world_, for all things

serve a brave soul. Combat difficulty manfully; sustain misfortune

bravely; endure poverty nobly; encounter disappointment courageously.

The influence of the brave man is a magnetism which creates an epidemic

of noble zeal in all about him. Every day sends to the grave obscure

men, who have only remained in obscurity because their timidity has

prevented them from making a first effort; and who, if they could have

been induced to begin, would in all probability have gone great lengths

in the career of usefulness and fame. "No great deed is done," says

George Eliot, "by falterers who ask for certainty."

A mouse that dwelt near the abode of a great magician was kept in such

constant distress by its fear of a cat that the magician, taking pity on

it, turned it into a cat itself. Immediately it began to suffer from its

fear of a dog, so the magician turned it into a dog. Then it began to

suffer from fear of a tiger, and the magician turned it into a tiger.

Then it began to suffer from its fear of huntsmen, and the magician, in

disgust, said, "Be a mouse again. As you have only the heart of a mouse

it is impossible to help you by giving you the body of a nobler animal."

And the poor creature again became a mouse.

Young Commodore Oliver H. Perry, not twenty-eight years old, was

intrusted with the plan to gain control of Lake Erie. With great energy

Perry directed the construction of nine ships, carrying fifty-four guns,

and conquered Commodore Barclay, a veteran of European navies, with six

vessels, carrying sixty-three guns. Perry had no experience in naval

battles before this.

To believe a business impossible is the way to make it so. Feasible

projects often miscarry through despondency, and are strangled at birth

by a cowardly imagination. A ship on a lee shore stands out to sea to

escape shipwreck. Shrink and you will be despised.

One of Napoleon's drummer boys won the battle of Arcola. Napoleon's

little army of fourteen thousand men had fought fifty thousand Austrians

for seventy-two hours; the Austrians' position enabled them to sweep the

bridge of Arcola, which the French had gained and which they must hold

to win the battle. The drummer boy, on the shoulders of his sergeant

(who swam across the river with him), beat the drum all the way across

the river, and when on the opposite end of the bridge he beat his drum

so vigorously that the Austrians, remembering the terrible French

onslaught of the day before, fled in terror, thinking the French army

was advancing upon them. Napoleon dated his great confidence in himself

from this drum. This boy's heroic act was represented in stone on the

front of the Pantheon of Paris.

Two days before the battle of Jena Napoleon said: "My lads, you must not

fear death: when soldiers brave death they drive him into the enemy's


Arago says, in his autobiography, that when he was puzzled and

discouraged with difficulties he met with in his early studies in

mathematics some words he found on the waste leaf of his text-book

caught his attention and interested him. He found it to be a short

letter from D'Alembert to a young person, disheartened like himself, and

read: "Go on, sir, go on. The difficulties you meet with will resolve

themselves as you advance. Proceed and light will dawn and shine with

increasing clearness on your path." "That maxim," he said, "was my

greatest master in mathematics."

Overtaken near a rocky coast by a sudden storm of great violence, the

captain of a French brig gave orders to put out to sea; but in spite of

all the efforts of the crew they could not steer clear of the rocks, and

alter struggling for a whole day they felt a violent shock, accompanied

by a horrible crash. The boats were lowered, but only to be swept away

by the waves. As a last resort the captain proposed that some sailors

should swim ashore with a rope, but not a man would volunteer.

"Captain," said the little twelve-year-old cabin boy, Jacques, timidly,

"You don't wish to expose the lives of good sailors like these; it does

not matter what becomes of a little cabin boy. Give me a ball of strong

string, which will unroll as I go on; fasten one end around my body, and

I promise you that within an hour the rope shall be well fastened to the

shore or I will perish in the attempt."

Before anyone could stop him he leaped overboard. His head was soon seen

like a black point rising above the waves and then it disappeared in

the distance and mist, and but for the occasional pull upon the ball of

cord all would have thought him dead. At length it fell as if slackened

and the sailors looked at one another in silence, when a quick, violent

pull, followed by a second and a third, told that Jacques had reached

the shore. A strong rope was fastened to the cord and pulled to the

shore, and by its aid many of the sailors were rescued.

In 1833 Miss Prudence Crandall, a Quaker schoolmistress of Canterbury,

Conn., opened her school to negro children as well as to whites. The

whole place was thrown into uproar; town meetings were called to

denounce her; the most vindictive and inhuman measures were taken to

isolate the school from the support of the townspeople; stores and

churches were closed against teacher and pupils; public conveyances were

denied them; physicians would not attend them; Miss Crandall's own

friends dared not visit her; the house was assailed with rotten eggs and

stones and finally set on fire. Yet the cause was righteous and the

opposition proved vain and fruitless. Public opinion is often radically


Staunch old Admiral Farragut--he of the true heart and the iron

will--said to another officer of the navy, "Dupont, do you know why you

didn't get into Charleston with your ironclads?" "Oh, it was because

the channel was so crooked." "No, Dupont, it was not that." "Well, the

rebel fire was perfectly horrible." "Yes, but it wasn't that." "What was

it, then?" "_It was because you didn't believe you could go in._"

"I have tried Lord Howe on most important occasions. He never asked me

_how_ he was to execute any service entrusted to his charge, but always

went straight forward and _did it_." So answered Sir Edward Hawke, when

his appointment of Howe for some peculiarly responsible duty was

criticized on the ground that Howe was the junior admiral in the fleet.

There is a tradition among the Indians that Manitou was traveling in the

invisible world and came upon a hedge of thorns, then saw wild beasts

glare upon him from the thicket, and after awhile stood before an

impassable river. As he determined to proceed, the thorns turned out

phantoms, the wild beasts powerless ghosts, and the river only a shadow.

When we march on obstacles disappear. Many distinguished foreign and

American statesmen were present at a fashionable dinner party where wine

was freely poured, but Schuyler Colfax, then Vice-President of the

United States, declined to drink from a proffered cup. "Colfax does not

drink," sneered a Senator who had already taken too much. "You are

right," said the Vice-President, "I dare not."

A Western party recently invited the surviving Union and Confederate

officers to give an account of the bravest act observed by each during

the Civil War. Colonel Thomas W. Higginson said that at a dinner at

Beaufort, S. C., where wine flowed freely and ribald jests were bandied,

Dr. Miner, a slight, boyish fellow who did not drink, was told that he

could not go until he had drunk a toast, told a story, or sung a song.

He replied: "I cannot sing, but I will give a toast, although I must

drink it in water. It is 'Our Mothers.'" The men were so affected and

ashamed that some took him by the hand and thanked him for displaying

courage greater than that required to walk up to the mouth of a cannon.

When Grant was in Houston several years ago, he was given a rousing

reception. Naturally hospitable, and naturally inclined to like a man of

Grant's make-up, the Houstonites determined to go beyond any other

Southern city in the way of a banquet and other manifestations of their

good-will and hospitality. They made great preparations for the dinner,

the committee taking great pains to have the finest wines that could be

procured for the table at night. When the time came to serve the wine,

the head-waiter went first to Grant. Without a word the general quietly

turned down all the glasses at his plate. This movement was a great

surprise to the Texans, but they were equal to the occasion. Without a

single word being spoken, every man along the line of the long tables

turned his glasses down, and there was not a drop of wine taken that


Don't be like Uriah Heep, begging everybody's pardon for taking the

liberty of being in the world. There is nothing attractive in timidity,

nothing lovable in fear. Both are deformities and are repulsive. Manly

courage is dignified and graceful. The worst manners in the world are

those of persons conscious "of being beneath their position, and trying

to conceal it or make up for it by style." It takes courage for a young

man to stand firmly erect while others are bowing and fawning for praise

and power. It takes courage to wear threadbare clothes while your

comrades dress in broadcloth. It takes courage to remain in honest

poverty when others grow rich by fraud. It takes courage to say "No"

squarely when those around you say "Yes." It takes courage to do your

duty in silence and obscurity while others prosper and grow famous

although neglecting sacred obligations. It takes courage to unmask your

true self, to show your blemishes to a condemning world, and to pass for

what you really are.