"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."
~Shakespeare from Hamlet
(quoted to me by my Father when i graduated high school)
"Oh, what a tangled web we weave
when first we practice to deceive!"
~Sir Walter Scott
"He who laughs, lasts."
~Mary Pettibone Poole
"Not that which goeth into the mouth defileth a man;
but that which cometh out of the mouth, this defileth a man"
(contributed by my Aunt Laura Jean McDonald)
"Now some people say that you shouldn't tempt fate,
and to them i would not disagree,
but i never learned nothin' from playing it safe,
i say fate should not tempt me!"
~Mary Chapin Carpenter from I Take My Chances
"When I was a child, I spake as a child,
I understood as a child, I thought as a child:
but when I became a man, I put away childish things."
~1 Cor. 13:11
If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you;
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too;
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or, being lied about, don't deal in lies,
Or being hated don't give way to hating,
And yet don't look too good, nor talk too wise;
If you can dream-and not make dreams your master;
If you can think-and not make thoughts your aim,
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you've spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build 'em up with worn-out tools;
If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings,
And never breathe a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: "Hold On!"
If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with Kings-nor lose the common touch,
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
If all men count with you, but none too much;
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds' worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that's in it,
And-which is more-you'll be a Man, my son!
written by Rudyard Kipling
"Quit! Give up! You're beaten!"
They shout at me and plead.
"There's just too much against you now;
This time you can't succeed!"
And as I start to hang my head
In front of failure's face,
My downward fall is broken by
The memory of a race.
And hope refills my weakened will
As I recall that scene;
For just the thought of that short race
Rejuvenates my being.
A children's race- young boys, young men,
How I remember well.
Excitement, sure! But also fear;
It wasn't hard to tell.
They all lined up so full of hope
Each thought to win that race.
Or tie for first, or if not that,
At least take second place.
And fathers watched from off the side
Each cheering for his son.
And each boy hoped to show his dad
That he would be the one.
The whistle blew and off they went
Young hearts and hopes afire.
To win and be the hero there
Was each young boy's desire.
And one boy in particular,
Whose dad was in the crowd,
Was running near the lead and thought,
"My dad will be so proud!"
But as he speeded down the field
Across a shallow dip.
The little boy who thought to win
Lost his step and slipped.
Trying hard to catch himself
His hands flew out to brace,
And 'mid the laughter of the crowd
He fell flat on his face.
So down he fell and with him hope
-He couldn't win it now-
Embarrassed, sad, he only wished
To disappear somehow.
But as he fell his dad stood up
And showed his anxious face,
Which to the boy so clearly said:
"Get up and win the race!"
He quickly rose, no damage done
-Behind a bit, that's all-
And ran with all his mind and might
To make up for his fall.
So anxious to restore himself
-To catch up and to win-
His mind went faster than his legs;
He slipped and fell again!
He wished then he had quit before
With only one disgrace
"I'm hopeless as a runner now;
I shouldn't try to race."
But in the laughing crowd he searched
And found his father's face;
That steady look which said again:
"Get up and win the race!"
So he jumped up to try again
-Ten yards behind the last-
"If I'm to gain those yards," he thought,
"I've got to move real fast."
Exerting everything he had
He gained eight or ten,
But trying so hard to catch the lead
He slipped and fell again!
Defeat! He lied there silently
-A tear dropped from his eye-
"There's no sense in running anymore:
Three strikes: I'm out! Why try?"
The will to rise had disappeared;
All hope had fled away;
So far behind, so error-prone:
A loser all the way.
"I've lost, so what's the use," he thought
"I'll live with my disgrace."
But then he thought about his dad
Who soon he'd have to face.
"Get up," an echo sounded low.
"Get up and take your place;
You were not meant for failure here.
Get up and win the race."
"With borrowed will get up," it said,
You haven't lost at all.
For winning is no more than this:
To rise each time you fall."
So up he rose to run once more,
And with new commit
He resolved that win or lose
At least he wouldn't quit!
So far behind the others now,
-The most he'd ever been-
Still he gave it all he had
And ran as though to win.
Three times he'd fallen, stumbling;
Three times he rose again:
Too far behind to hope to win
He still ran to the end.
They cheered the winning runner
As he crossed the line first place.
Head high, and proud, and happy;
No falling, no disgrace.
But when the fallen youngster
Crossed the line last place,
The crowd gave him the greater cheer,
For finishing the race.
And even though he came in last
With head bowed low, un-proud,
You would have thought he'd won the race
To listen to the crowd.
And to his dad he sadly said,
"I didn't do too well."
"To me, you won," his father said.
"You rose each time you fell."
And when things seem dark and hard
And difficult to face,
The memory of that little boy
Helps me in my race.
For all of life is like that race.
With ups and downs and all.
And all you have to do to win,
Is rise each time you fall.
"Quit! Give up, you're beaten!"
They still shout in my face.
But another voice within me says,
"GET UP and WIN the RACE!"
Oh, I have slipped the surly bonds of earth
And danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings;
Sunward I've climbed, and joined the tumbling mirth
Of sun-split clouds-and done a hundred things
You have not dreamed of-wheeled and soared and swung
High in the sunlit silence. Hov'ring there,
I've chased the shouting wind along, and flung
My eager craft through footless halls of air.
Up, up the long, delirious, burning blue
I've topped the windswept heights with easy grace
Where never lark, or even eagle flew.
And, while with silent, lifting mind I've trod
The high untrespassed sanctity of space,
Put out my hand, and touched the face of God.
~John Gillespie Magee, Jr.
(My Father's favorite poem)
Now it is not wise for the Christian white
To hustle the Asian brown.
For the Christian wiles, and the Asian smiles,
And he weareth the Christian down.
And the end of the fight
Is a tombstone white,
With the name of the late deceased,
And the epitaph drear, "A fool lies here,
Who tried to hustle the East."
(also contributed by my Father)
Submit your own Wise Words: email@RobertWeeks.net