Republics are created by the virtue, public spirit, and intelligence of the citizens. They fall, when the wise are banished from the public councils, because they dare to be honest, and the profligate are rewarded, because they flatter the people, in order to betray them.
— Joseph Story, Commentaries on the Constitution, 1833
You will succeed, because you have enough brute force. But you will not convince. In order to convince it is necessary to persuade, and to persuade you will need something that you lack: reason and right in the struggle. I see it is useless to ask you to think of Spain. I have spoken.
The Conqueror Worm, Final Verse
By Edgar Allen Poe
Out- out are the lights- out all!
And, over each quivering form,
The curtain, a funeral pall,
Comes down with the rush of a storm,
While the angels, all pallid and wan,
Uprising, unveiling, affirm
That the play is the tragedy, “Man,”
And its hero the Conqueror Worm.
How blessed is anyone who rejects the advice of the wicked and does not take a stand in the path that sinners tread, nor a seat in company with cynics.
— Psalms 1:1-2, 3, 4, 6
What have I gained, that I no longer immolate a bull to Jove, or to Neptune, or a mouse to Hecate… if I quake at opinion, the public opinion, as we call it; or at the threat of assault, or contumely, or bad neighbors, or poverty, or mutilation, or at the rumor of revolution, or of murder?
— Ralph Waldo Emerson, Essays and English
Ode to Liberty, verse 1
By Alexander Pushkin
Listless Cytherean princess, sing
No more! Begone out of my view!
But you, great scourge of prince and king,
Proud Muse of Freedom, where are you?
Come now, and rip my garland down,
And crush this coddled lyre. Let me
Sing to the world of Liberty
And strike the scum that wears a crown!
By William Ernest Henley
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.
In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed.
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.
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.
Hat tip commenter “Douglas Erley” from the No, by Erick Erickson.
Answer to Invictus
By Orson F. Whitney
Art thou in truth?
Then what of him who bought thee with his blood?
Who plunged into devouring seas
And snatched thee from the flood?
Who bore for all our fallen race
What none but him could bear-
The God who died that man might live
And endless glory share?
Of what avail thy vaunted strength
Apart from his vast might?
Pray that his light may pierce the gloom
That thou mayest see aright.
Men are as bubbles on the wave,
As leaves upon the tree,
Thou, captain of thy soul! Forsooth,
Who gave that place to thee?
Free will is thine-free agency,
To wield for right or wrong;
But thou must answer unto him
To whom all souls belong.
Bend to the dust that “head unbowed,”
Small part of life’s great whole,
And see in him and him alone,
The captain of thy soul.
Hat tip commenter “Ann_W” from the No, by Erick Erickson.
God of Battles
By George S. Patton 1943
From pride and foolish confidence,
From every waking creed,
From the dread fear of fearing,
Protect us, Lord, and lead.
Great God, who, through the ages,
Has braced the bloodstained hand,
As Saturn, Jove, or Woden
Has led our Warrior band.
Again we seek thy council,
But not in cringing guise,
We whine not for thy mercy,
To slay; God make us wise.
For slaves who shun the issue
Who do not ask thy aid,
To Thee we trust our spirits,
Our bodies, unafraid.
From doubt and fearsome bodings
Still Thou our spirits guard,
Make strong our souls to conquer.
Give us the victory, Lord.
The Concord Hymn
By Ralph Waldo Emerson
By the rude bridge that arched the flood,
Their flag to April’s breeze unfurled;
Here once the embattled farmers stood;
And fired the shot heard round the world.
The foe long since in silence slept;
Alike the conqueror silent sleeps,
And Time the ruined bridge has swept
Down the dark stream that seaward creeps.
On this green bank, by this soft stream,
We place with joy a votive stone,
That memory may their deeds redeem,
When, like our sires, our sons are gone.
O Thou who made those heroes dare
To die, and leave their children free, —
Bid Time and Nature gently spare
The shaft we raised to them and Thee.
by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
All are architects of Fate,
Working in these walls of Time;
Some with massive deeds and great,
Some with ornaments of rhyme.
Nothing useless is, or low;
Each thing in its place is best;
And what seems but idle show
Strengthens and supports the rest.
For the structure that we raise,
Time is with materials filled;
Our to-days and yesterdays
Are the blocks with which we build.
Truly shape and fashion these;
Leave no yawning gaps between;
Think not, because no man sees,
Such things will remain unseen.
In the elder days of Art,
Builders wrought with greatest care
Each minute and unseen part;
For the Gods see everywhere.
Let us do our work as well,
Both the unseen and the seen;
Make the house, where Gods may dwell,
Beautiful, entire, and clean.
Else our lives are incomplete,
Standing in these walls of Time,
Broken stairways, where the feet
Stumble as they seek to climb.
Build to-day, then, strong and sure,
With a firm and ample base;
And ascending and secure
Shall to-morrow find its place.
Thus alone can we attain
To those turrets, where the eye
Sees the world as one vast plain,
And one boundless reach of sky.
You tremble now, body? Just wait ’til you see where I take you next.
— Source TBD