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Columbus Day
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Columbus Day
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Table of Contents

Columbus

Columbus & the Mayflower
   

Where There's a
Will There's a Way

Courage
   

Can't 

On Quitting
   

The Few

How in All Wonder
   

Defeat
 



Columbus Day
a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma
(paraphrase of Winston Churchill's comment on Columbus)

 

Columbus
Joaquin Miller
(AKA Cincinnatus Hiner)


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.
Brave Admiral, speak, 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! 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 dead seas is gone.
Now speak, brave Admiral, speak and say" —
He said, "Sail on! sail on! and on!"

They sailed. They sailed. Then spake the mate:
"This mad sea shows his teeth tonight.
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 like 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! at last 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! sail on!"

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Columbus and the Mayflower
Richard Monckton Milnes


O LITTLE fleet! that on thy quest divine
Sailedst from Palos one bright autumn morn,
Say, has old Ocean's bosom ever borne
A freight of faith and hope to match with thine?

Say, too, has Heaven's high favor given again
Such consummation of desire as shone
About Columbus when he rested on
The new-found world and married it to Spain?

Answer, — thou refuge of the freeman's need, —
Thou for whose destinies no kings looked out,
Nor sages to resolve some mighty doubt, —
Thou simple Mayflower of the sald-sea mead!

When thou wert wafted to that distant shore,
Gay flowers, bright birds, rich odors met thee not;
Stern Nature hailed thee to a sterner lot, —
God gave free earth and air, and gave no more.

Thus to men cast in that heroic mould
Came empire such as Spaniard never knew,
Such empire as beseems the just and true;
And at last, almost unsought, came gold.

But He who rules both calm and stormy days,
Can guard that people's heart, that nation's health,
Safe on the perilous heights of power and wealth,
As in the straitness of the ancient ways.

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Where There's a Will There's a Way
Eliza Cook


WE have faith in old proverbs full surely,
For Wisdom has traced what they tell,
And Truth may be drawn up as purely
From them, as it may from "a well."
Let us question the thinkers and doers,
And hear what they honestly say;
And you'll find they believe, like bold wooers,
In "Where there's a will there's a way."

The hills have been high for man's mounting,
The woods have been dense for his axe,
The stars have been thick for his counting,
The sands have been wide for his tracks,
The sea has been deep for his diving,
The poles have been broad for his sway,
But bravely he's proved in his sriving,
That "Where there's a will there's a way."

Have ye vices that ask a destroyer?
Or passions that need your control?
Let Reason become your employer,
And your body be ruled by your soul.
Fight on, though ye bleed in the trial,
Resist with all strength that ye may;
Ye may conquer Sin's host by denial;
For "Where there's a will there's a way."

Have ye Poverty's pinching to cope with?
Does Suffering weigh down your might?
Only call up a spirit to hope with,
And dawn may come out of the night.
Oh! much may be done by defying
The ghosts of Despair and Dismay;
And much may be gained by relying
On "Where there's a will there's a way."

Should ye see, afar off, that worth winning,
Set out on the journey with trust;
And ne'er heed if your path at beginning
Should be among brambles and dust.
Though it is but by footsteps ye do it,
And hardships may hinder and stay;
Walk with faith, and be sure you'll get through it;
For "Where there's a will there's a way."

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Courage
Edgar Guest


Courage isn't a brilliant dash,
A daring deed in a moment's flash;
It isn't an instantaneous thing
Born of despair with a sudden spring
It isn't a creature of flickered hope
Or the final tug at a slipping rope;
But it's something deep in the soul of man
That is working always to serve some plan.

Courage isn't the last resort
In the work of life or the game of sport;
It isn't a thing that a man can call
At some future time when he's apt to fall;
If he hasn't it now, he will have it not
When the strain is great and the pace is hot.
For who would strive for a distant goal
Must always have courage within his soul.

Courage isn't a dazzling light
That flashes and passes away from sight;
It's a slow, unwavering, ingrained trait
With the patience to work and the strength to wait.
It's part of a man when his skies are blue,
It's part of him when he has work to do.
The brave man never is freed of it.
He has it when there is no need of it.

Courage was never designed for show;
It isn't a thing that can come and go;
It's written in victory and defeat
And every trial a man may meet.
It's part of his hours, his days and his years,
Back of his smiles and behind his tears.
Courage is more than a daring deed:
It's the breath of life and a strong man's creed.

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Can't
Edgar Guest


Can't is the worst word that's written or spoken;
Doing more harm here than slander and lies;
On it is many a strong spirit broken,
And with it many a good purpose dies.
It springs from the lips of the thoughtless each morning
And robs us of courage we need through the day:
It rings in our ears like a timely-sent warning
And laughs when we falter and fall by the way.

Can't is the father of feeble endeavor,
The parent of terror and half-hearted work;
It weakens the efforts of artisans clever,
And makes of the toiler an indolent shirk.
It poisons the soul of the man with a vision,
It stifles in infancy many a plan;
It greets honest toiling with open derision
And mocks at the hopes and the dreams of a man.

Can't is a word none should speak without blushing;
To utter it should be a symbol of shame;
Ambition and courage it daily is crushing;
It blights a man's purpose and shortens his aim.
Despise it with all of your hatred of error;
Refuse it the lodgment it seeks in your brain;
Arm against it as a creature of terror,
And all that you dream of you some day shall gain.

Can't is the word that is foe to ambition,
An enemy ambushed to shatter your will;
Its prey is forever the man with a mission
And bows but to courage and patience and skill.
Hate it, with hatred that's deep and undying,
For once it is welcomed 'twill break any man;
Whatever the goal you are seeking, keep trying
And answer this demon by saying: "I can."

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On Quitting
Edgar Guest


How much grit do you think you've got?
Can you quit a thing that you like a lot?
You may talk of pluck; it's an easy word,
And where'er you go it is often heard;
But can you tell to a jot or guess
Just how much courage you now possess?

You may stand to trouble and keep your grin,
But have you tackled self-discipline?
Have you ever issued commands to you
To quit the things that you like to do,
And then, when tempted and sorely swayed,
Those rigid orders have you obeyed?

Don't boast of your grit till you've tried it out,
Nor prate to men of your courage stout,
For it's easy enough to retain a grin
In the face of a fight there's a chance to win,
But the sort of grit that is good to own
Is the stuff you need when you're all alone.

How much grit do you think you've got?
Can you turn from joys that you like a lot?
Have you ever tested yourself to know
How far with yourself your will can go?
If you want to know if you have grit,
Just pick out a joy that you like, and quit.

It's bully sport and it's open fight;
It will keep you busy both day and night;
For the toughest kind of a game you'll find
Is to make your body obey your mind.
And you never will know what is meant by grit
Unless there's something you've tried to quit.

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The Few
Edgar Guest


The easy roads are crowded
And the level roads are jammed;
The pleasant little rivers
With the drifting folks are crammed.
But off yonder where it's rocky,
Where you get a better view,
You will find the ranks are thinning
And the travelers are few.

Where the going's smooth and pleasant
You will always find the throng,
For the many, more's the pity,
Seem to like to drift along.
But the steeps that call for courage,
And the task that's hard to do
In the end result in glory
For the never-wavering few.

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How in All Wonder
Arthur Hugh Clough


HOW in all wonder Columbus got over,
That is a marvel to me, I protest,
Cabot, and Raleigh too, that well-read rover,
Frobisher, Dampier, Drake and the rest.
Bad enough all the same,
For them that after came,
But, in great Heaven's name,
How he should ever think
That on the other brink
Of this huge waste terra firma should be,
Is a pure wonder, I must say, to me.

How a man ever should hope to get thither,
E'e'n if he knew of there being another side;
But to suppose he should come any whither,
Sailing right on into chaos untried,
Across the whole ocean,
In spite of the motion,
To stick to the notion
That in some nook or bend
Of a sea without end
He should find North and South Amerikee,
Was a pure madness as it seems to me.

What if wise men had, as far back as Ptolemy,
Judged that the earth like an orange was round,
None of them ever said, 'Come along, follow,
Sail to the West, and the East will be found.'
Many a day before
Ever they'd touched the shore
Of the San Salvador,
Sadder and wiser men
They'd have turned back again;
And that he did not, but did cross the sea,
Is a pure wonder, I must say, to me.
And that he crossed and that we cross the sea
Is a pure wonder, I must say, to me.

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Defeat
Edgar Guest


No one is beat till he quits,
No one is through till he stops,
No matter how hard Failure hits,
No matter how often he drops,
A fellow's not down till he lies
In the dust and refuses to rise.

Fate can slam him and bang him around,
And batter his frame till he's sore,
But she never can say that he's downed
While he bobs up serenely for more.
A fellow's not dead till he dies.

 

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