Hold Up Your Head

Thoroughly to believe in one's own self, so one's self were

thorough, were to do great things.


If there be a faith that can remove mountains, it is faith in

one's own power.


Let no one discourage self-reliance; it is, of all the rest,

the greatest quality of true manliness.


It needs a divine man to exhibit anything divine. * * * Trust

thyself; every breast vibrates to that iron string. Accept the

place that divine Providence has found for you, the society of

your contemporaries, the connection of events. Great men have

always done so. * * * Nothing is at last sacred but the

integrity of our own mind.


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.


"Yes," said a half-drunken man in a cellar to a parish visitor, a young

girl, "I am a tough and a drunkard, and am just out of jail, and my wife

is starving; but that doesn't give you the right to come into my house

without knocking to ask questions."

Another zealous girl declared in a reform club in New York City that she

always went to visit the poor in her carriage, with the crest on the

door and liveried servants. "It gives me authority," she said. "They

listen to my words with more respect."

The Fraeulein Barbara, who founded the home for degraded and drunken

sailors in London, used other means to gain influence over them. "I

too," she would say, taking the poor applicant by the hand when he came

to her door, "I, too, as well as you, am one of those for whom Christ

died. We are brother and sister, and will help each other."

An English artist, engaged in painting a scene in the London slums,

applied to the Board of Guardians of the poor in Chelsea for leave to

sketch into it, as types of want and wretchedness, certain picturesque

paupers then in the almshouse. The board refused permission on the

ground that "a man does not cease to have self-respect and rights

because he is a pauper, and that his misfortunes should not be paraded

before the world."

The incident helps to throw light on the vexed problem of the

intercourse of the rich with the poor. Kind but thoughtless people, who

take up the work of "slumming," intent upon elevating and reforming the

needy classes, are apt to forget that these unfortunates have

self-respect and rights and sensitive feelings.

"But I am not derided," said Diogenes, when some one told him he was

derided. "Only those are ridiculed who feel the ridicule and are

discomposed by it."

Dr. Franklin used to say that if a man makes a sheep of himself the

wolves will eat him. Not less true is it that if a man is supposed to be

a sheep, wolves will very likely try to eat him.

"O God, assist our side," prayed the Prince of Anhalt-Dessau, a general

in the Prussian service, before going into battle. "At least, avoid

assisting the enemy, and leave the result to me."

"If a man possesses the consciousness of what he is," said Schelling,

"he will soon also learn what he ought to be; let him have a theoretical

respect for himself, and a practical will soon follow." A person under

the firm persuasion that he can command resources virtually has them.

"Humility is the part of wisdom, and is most becoming in men," said

Kossuth; "but let no one discourage self-reliance; it is, of all the

rest, the greatest quality of true manliness." Froude wrote: "A tree

must be rooted in the soil before it can bear flowers or fruit. A man

must learn to stand upright upon his own feet, to respect himself, to be

independent of charity or accident. It is on this basis only that any

superstructure of intellectual cultivation worth having can possibly be


"I think he is a most extraordinary man," said John J. Ingalls,

speaking of Grover Cleveland. "While the Senate was in session to induct

Hendricks into office, I had an opportunity to study Cleveland, as he

sat there like a sphinx. He occupied a seat immediately in front of the

vice-president's stand, and from where I sat, I had an unobstructed view

of him.

"I wanted to fathom, if possible, what manner of a man it was who had

defeated us and taken the patronage of the government over to the

democracy. We had a new master, so to speak, and a democrat at that, and

I looked him over with a good deal of curiosity.

"There sat a man, the president of the United States, beginning his rule

over the destinies of sixty millions of people, who less than three

years before was an obscure lawyer, scarcely known outside of Erie

County, shut up in a dingy office over a livery stable. He had been

mayor of the city of Buffalo at a time when a crisis in its affairs

demanded a courageous head and a firm hand and he supplied them. The

little prestige thus gained made him the democratic nominee for

governor, and at a time (his luck still following him) when the

Republican party of the State was rent with dissensions. He was elected,

and (still more luck) by the unprecedented and unheard of majority of

nearly 200,000 votes. Two years later his party nominated him for

president and he was elected.

"There sat this man before me, wholly undisturbed by the pageantry of

the occasion, calmly waiting to perform his part in the drama, just as

an actor awaits his cue to appear on a stage. It was his first visit to

Washington. He had never before seen the Capitol and knew absolutely

nothing of the machinery of government. All was a mystery to him, but a

stranger not understanding the circumstances would have imagined that

the proceedings going on before him were a part of his daily life.

"The man positively did not move a limb, shut an eye or twitch a muscle

during the entire hour he sat in the Senate chamber. Nor did he betray

the faintest evidence of self-consciousness or emotion, and as I thought

of the dingy office over the livery stable but three years before he

struck me as a remarkable illustration of the possibilities of American


"But the most marvelous exhibition of the man's nerve and of the

absolute confidence he has in himself was yet to come. After the

proceedings in the Senate chamber Cleveland was conducted to the east

end of the Capitol to take the oath of office and deliver his inaugural

address. He wore a close buttoned Prince Albert coat, and between the

buttons he thrust his right hand, while his left he carried behind him.

In this position he stood until the applause which greeted him had

subsided, when he began his address.

"I looked for him to produce a manuscript, but he did not, and as he

progressed in clear and distinct tones, without hesitation, I was

amazed. With sixty millions of people, yes, with the entire civilized

world looking on, this man had the courage to deliver an inaugural

address making him President of the United States as coolly and as

unconcernedly as if he were addressing a ward meeting. It was the most

remarkable spectacle this or any other country has ever beheld."

Believe in yourself; you may succeed when others do not believe in you,

but never when you do not believe in yourself.

"Ah! John Hunter, still hard at work!" exclaimed a physician on finding

the old anatomist at the dissecting table. "Yes, doctor, and you'll find

it difficult to meet with another John Hunter when I am gone."

"Heaven takes a hundred years to form a great genius for the

regeneration of an empire and afterward rests a hundred years," said

Kaunitz, who had administered the affairs of his country with great

success for half a century. "This makes me tremble for the Austrian

monarchy after my death."

"Isn't it beautiful that I can sing so?" asked Jenny Lind, naively, of a


"My Lord," said William Pitt in 1757 to the Duke of Devonshire, "I am

sure that I can save this country and that nobody else can." He did

save it.

What seems to us disagreeable egotism in others is often but a strong

expression of confidence in their ability to attain. Great men have

usually had great confidence in themselves. Wordsworth felt sure of his

place in history and never hesitated to say so. Dante predicted his own

fame. Kepler said it did not matter whether his contemporaries read his

books or not. "I may well wait a century for a reader since God has

waited six thousand years for an observer like myself." "Fear not," said

Julius Caesar to his pilot frightened in a storm, "thou bearest Caesar and

his good fortunes."

When the Directory at Paris found that Napoleon had become in one month

the most famous man in Europe they determined to check his career, and

appointed Kellerman his associate in command. Napoleon promptly, but

respectfully, tendered his resignation, saying, "One bad general is

better than two good ones; war, like government, is mainly decided by

tact." This decision immediately brought the Directory to terms.

Emperor Francis was extremely anxious to prove the illustrious descent

of his prospective son-in-law. Napoleon refused to have the account

published, remarking, "I had rather be the descendant of an honest man

than of any petty tyrant of Italy. I wish my nobility to commence with

myself and derive all my titles from the French people. I am the Rudolph

of Hapsburg of my family. My patent of nobility dates from the battle of


When Napoleon was informed that the British Government had decreed that

he should be recognized only as general, he said, "They cannot prevent

me from being myself."

An Englishman asked Napoleon at Elba who was the greatest general of the

age, adding, "I think Wellington." To which the Emperor replied, "He has

not yet measured himself against me."

"Well matured and well disciplined talent is always sure of a market,"

said Washington Irving; "but it must not cower at home and expect to be

sought for. There is a good deal of cant, too, about the success of

forward and impudent men, while men of retiring worth are passed over

with neglect. But it usually happens that those forward men have that

valuable quality of promptness and activity, without which worth is a

mere inoperative property. A barking dog is often more useful than a

sleeping lion."

"Self-respect is the early form in which greatness appears."

"You may deceive all the people some of the time," said Lincoln, "some

of the people all the time, but not all the people all the time." We

cannot deceive ourselves any of the time, and the only way to enjoy our

own respect is to deserve it. What would you think of a man who would

neglect himself and treat his shadow with the greatest respect?

"Self-reliance is a grand element of character," says Michael Reynolds.

"It has won Olympic crowns and Isthmian laurels; it confers kinship with

men who have vindicated their divine right to be held in the world's


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