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"Never give up, there are chances and changes,

Helping the hopeful, a hundred to one;

And, through the chaos, High Wisdom arranges

Ever success, if you'll only hold on.

Never give up; for the wisest is boldest,

Knowing that Providence mingles the cup,

And of all maxims, the best, as the oldest,

Is the stern watchword of 'Never give up!'"

Be firm; one constant element of luck

Is genuine, solid, old Teutonic pluck.


Success in most things depends on knowing how long it takes to succeed.--_Montesquieu_.

The power to hold on is characteristic of all men who have accomplished

anything great; they may lack in some other particular, have many

weaknesses or eccentricities, but the quality of persistence is never

absent from a successful man. No matter what opposition he meets or what

discouragement overtakes him, drudgery cannot disgust him, obstacles

cannot discourage him, labor cannot weary him; misfortune, sorrow, and

reverses cannot harm him. It is not so much brilliancy of intellect, or

fertility of resource, as persistency of effort, constancy of purpose,

that makes a great man. Those who succeed in life are the men and women

who keep everlastingly at it, who do not believe themselves geniuses,

but who know that if they ever accomplish anything they must do it by

determined and persistent industry.

Audubon after years of forest life had two hundred of his priceless drawings destroyed by mice.

"A poignant flame," he relates, "pierced my brain like an arrow of fire,

and for several weeks I was prostrated with fever. At length physical

and moral strength awoke within me. Again I took my gun, my game-bag, my

portfolio, and my pencils, and plunged once more into the depths of the


All are familiar with the misfortune of Carlyle while writing his

"History of the French Revolution." After the first volume was ready for

the press, he loaned the manuscript to a neighbor, who left it lying on

the floor, and the servant girl took it to kindle the fire. It was a

bitter disappointment, but Carlyle was not the man to give up. After

many months of poring Over hundreds of volumes of authorities and scores

of manuscripts, he reproduced that which had burned in a few minutes.


The slightest acquaintance with literary history would bring to light a

multitude of heroes of poverty or misfortune, of men and women perplexed

and disheartened, who have yet aroused themselves to new effort at every

new obstacle.

It is related by Arago that he found under the cover of a text book he was binding a short note from D'Alembert to a student:

"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," said Arago, "was my greatest master in mathematics."

Had Balzac been easily discouraged he would have hesitated at the words of warning given by his father:

"Do you know that in literature a man must be either a king or a


"Very well," was the reply, "_I will be a king_."

His parents left him to his fate in a garret. For ten years he fought

terrible battles with hardship and poverty, but won a great victory at

last. He won it after producing forty novels that did not win.

Zola's early manhood witnessed a bitter struggle against poverty and

deprivation. Until twenty he was a spoiled child; but, on his father's

death, he and his mother began the battle of life in Paris. Of his dark

time, Zola himself says:

"Often I went hungry for so long, that it seemed as if I must die. I scarcely tasted meat from one month's end to another, and for two days I

lived on three apples. Fire, even on the coldest nights, was an

undreamed-of luxury; and I was the happiest man in Paris when I could

get a candle, by the light of which I might study at night."

Samuel Johnson's bare feet at Oxford showed through the holes in his shoes, yet he threw out at his window the new pair that some one left at

his door. He lived for a time in London on nine cents a day. For

thirteen years he had a hard struggle with want. John Locke once lived

on bread and water in a Dutch garret, and Heyne slept many a night on a

barn floor with only a book for his pillow. It was to poverty as a thorn

urging the breast of Harriet Martineau that we owe her writings.

There are no more interesting pages in biography than those which record

how Emerson, as a child, was unable to read the second volume of a

certain book, because his widowed mother could not afford the amount

(five cents) necessary to obtain it from the circulating library.

"Poor fellow!" said Emerson, as he looked at his delicately-reared

little son, "how much he loses by not having to go through the hard

experiences I had in my youth."

It was through the necessity laid upon him to earn that Emerson made his

first great success in life as a teacher. "I know," he said, "no such

unquestionable badge and ensign of a sovereign mind as that tenacity of

purpose, which, through all change of companions or parties or fortunes,

changes never, bates no jot of heart or hope, but wearies out opposition

and arrives at its port."


Louisa Alcott earned two hundred thousand dollars by her pen. Yet, when

she was first dreaming of her power, her father handed her a manuscript

one day that had been rejected by Mr. Fields, editor of the "Atlantic,"

with the message:

"Tell Louisa to stick to her teaching; she can never succeed as a


"Tell him I _will_ succeed as a writer, and some day I shall write for

the 'Atlantic.'"

Not long after she wrote for the "Atlantic" a poem that Longfellow attributed to Emerson. And there came a time when she wrote in her


"Twenty years ago I resolved to make the family independent if I could.

At forty, that is done. Debts all paid, even the outlawed ones, and we

have enough to be comfortable. It has cost me my health, perhaps."


So it was said by Lord Chatham. "Why," asked Mirabeau, "should we call ourselves men, unless it be to succeed in everything everywhere?"

"It is all very well," said Charles J. Fox, "to tell me that a young man

has distinguished himself by a brilliant first speech. He may go on satisfied with his first triumph; but show me a young man who has not succeeded at first, and has then gone on, and I will back that man to do better than those who succeeded at the first trial." Cobden broke down completely the first time he appeared on a platform in Manchester, and

the chairman apologized for him; but he did not give up speaking until every poor man in England had a larger, better, and cheaper loaf. Young

Disraeli sprung from a hated and persecuted race, pushed his way up through the middle classes and upper classes, until he stood self-poised

upon the topmost round of political and social power. At first he was scoffed at, ridiculed, rebuffed, hissed from the House of Commons; he simply said, "The time will come when you will hear me." The time did come, and he swayed the sceptre of England for a quarter of a century.

How massive was the incalculable reserve power of Lincoln as a youth; or of President Garfield, wood-chopper, bell-ringer, and sweeper-general in



We hear a great deal of talk about genius, talent, luck, chance,

cleverness, and fine manners playing a large part in one's success.

Leaving out luck and chance, all these elements are important factors.

Yet the possession of any or all of them, unaccompanied by a definite

aim, a determined purpose, will not insure success. Men drift into

business. They drift into society. They drift into politics. They drift

into what they fondly and but vainly imagine is religion. If winds and

tides are favorable, all is well; if not, all is wrong. Stalker says:

"Most men merely drift through life, and the work they do is determined

by a hundred different circumstances; they might as well be doing

anything else, or they would prefer to be doing nothing at all." Yet

whatever else may have been lacking in the giants of the race, the men

who have been conspicuously successful have all had one characteristic

in common--doggedness and persistence of purpose.

It does not matter how clever a youth may be, whether he leads his class

in college or outshines all the other boys in his community, he will

never succeed if he lacks this essential of determined persistence. Many

men who might have made brilliant musicians, artists, teachers, lawyers,

able physicians or surgeons, in spite of predictions to the contrary,

have fallen short of success because deficient in this quality.

Persistency of purpose is a power. It creates confidence in others.

Everybody believes in the determined man. When he undertakes anything

his battle is half won, because not only he himself, but every one who

knows him, believes that he will accomplish whatever he sets out to do.

People know that it is useless to oppose a man who uses his

stumbling-blocks as stepping-stones; who is not afraid of defeat; who

never, in spite of calumny or criticism, shrinks from his task; who

never shirks responsibility; who always keeps his compass pointed to the

north star of his purpose, no matter what storms may rage about him.

The persistent man never stops to consider whether he is succeeding or not. The only question with him is how to push ahead, to get a little

farther along, a little nearer his goal. Whether it lead over mountains,

rivers, or morasses, he must reach it. Every other consideration is

sacrificed to this one dominant purpose.

The success of a dull or average youth and the failure of a brilliant

one is a constant surprise in American history. But if the different

cases are closely analyzed we shall find that the explanation lies in

the staying power of the seemingly dull boy, the ability to stand firm

as a rock under all circumstances, to allow nothing to divert him from

his purpose.


"Three things are necessary," said Charles Sumner, "first, backbone; second, backbone; third, backbone."

A good chance alone is nothing. Education is nothing without strong and

vigorous resolution and stamina to make one accomplish something in the

world. An encouraging start is nothing without backbone. A man who

cannot stand erect, who wabbles first one way and then the other, who

has no opinion of his own, or courage to think his own thought, is of

very little use in this world. It is grit, it is perseverance, it is

moral stamina and courage that govern the world.

At the trial of the seven bishops of the Church of England for refusing to aid the king to overthrow the Protestant faith, it was necessary to

watch the officers at the doors, lest they send food to some juryman,

and aid him to starve the others into an agreement. Nothing was allowed

to be sent in but water for the jurymen to wash in, and they were so

thirsty they drank it up. At first nine were for acquitting, and three

for convicting. Two of the minority soon gave way; the third, Arnold,

was obstinate. He declined to argue. Austin said to him, "Look at me. I

am the largest and the strongest of the twelve; and before I will find

such a petition as this libel, here will I stay till I am no bigger than

a tobacco pipe." Arnold yielded at six in the morning.


Yes, to this thought I hold with firm persistence;

The last result of wisdom stamps it true:

He only earns his freedom and existence

Who daily conquers them anew.


"It is interesting to notice how some minds seem almost to create

themselves," says Irving, "springing up under every disadvantage, and

working their solitary but irresistible way through a thousand

obstacles." Opposing circumstances create strength. Opposition gives us

greater power of resistance. To overcome one barrier gives us greater

ability to overcome the next. History is full of examples of men and

women who have redeemed themselves from disgrace, poverty, and

misfortune, by the firm resolution of an iron will.

Success is not measured by what a man accomplishes, but by the

opposition he has encountered, and the courage with which he has

maintained the struggle against overwhelming odds. Not the distance we

have run, but the obstacles we have overcome, the disadvantages under

which we have made the race, will decide the prizes.

"It is defeat," says Henry Ward Beecher, "that turns bone to flint, and

gristle to muscle, and makes men invincible, and formed those heroic

natures that are now in ascendency in the world. Do not, then, be afraid

of defeat. You are never so near to victory as when defeated in a good


Governor Seymour of New York, a man of great force and character, said,

in reviewing his life: "If I were to wipe out twenty acts, what should

they be? Should it be my business mistakes, my foolish acts (for I

suppose all do foolish acts occasionally), my grievances? No; for, after

all, these are the very things by which I have profited. So I finally

concluded I should expunge, instead of my mistakes, my triumphs. I could

not afford to dismiss the tonic of mortification, the refinement of

sorrow; I needed them every one."

"Every condition, be it what it may," says Channing, "has hardships, hazards, pains. We try to escape them; we pine for a sheltered lot, for

a smooth path, for cheering friends, and unbroken success. But

Providence ordains storms, disasters, hostilities, sufferings; and the

great question whether we shall live to any purpose or not, whether we

shall grow strong in mind and heart, or be weak and pitiable, depends on

nothing so much as on our use of the adverse circumstances. Outward

evils are designed to school our passions, and to rouse our faculties

and virtues into intenser action. Sometimes they seem to create new

powers. Difficulty is the element, and resistance the true work of man.

Self-culture never goes on so fast as when embarrassed circumstances,

the opposition of men or the elements, unexpected changes of the times,

or other forms of suffering, instead of disheartening, throw us on our

inward resources, turn us for strength to God, clear up to us the great

purpose of life, and inspire calm resolution. No greatness or goodness

is worth much, unless tried in these fires."


(Earl of Beaconsfield),

English Statesman and Novelist.

_b. London, 1804; d. London, 1881_.]

Better to stem with heart and hand

The roaring tide of life, than lie,

Unmindful, on its flowery strand,

Of God's occasions drifting by!

Better with naked nerve to bear

The needles of this goading air,

Than in the lap of sensual ease forego

The godlike power to do, the godlike aim to know.



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