March 30

HERE, while the tide of conquest rolls
Against the distant golden shore,
The starved and stunted human souls
Are with us more and more.

Vain is your science, vain your art,
Your triumphs and your glories vain
To feed the hunger of their heart
And famine of their brain.

Your savage deserts howling near,
Your wastes of ignorance, vice, and shame,
Is there no room for victories here,
No field for meeds of fame?
William Watson

IF you think that it is a more grand, a more beneficial, or a more wise policy, to invent subtle expedients for increasing the revenue, to multiply our naval and military force, to rival in craft the Ambassadors of foreign States, to form skilful treaties and alliances, than to administer unpolluted justice to the people, to redress the injured, and to succour the distressed, and speedily restore to every one his own, you are involved in a cloud of error; and too late will you perceive, when the illusion of those mighty benefits has vanished, that in neglecting these, which you now think inferior considerations, you have only been precipitating your own ruin and despair.
John Milton

THAT which is not for the interest of the whole swarm is not for the interest of a single bee.
Marcus Aurelius


February 13

OH, Day, if I squander a wavelet of thee,
A mite of my twelve hours’ treasure,
The least of thy gazes or glances,
(Be they grants thou art bound to or gifts above measure)
One of thy choices or one of thy chances,
(Be they tasks God imposed thee or freaks at thy pleasure)
—My Day, if I squander such labour or leisure,
Then shame fall on Asolo, mischief on me!
Robert Browning

DO not act as if you had ten thousand years to throw away. Death stands at your elbow. Be good for something, while you live and it is in your power.
Marcus Aurelius

THERE are no chagrins so venomous as the chagrins of the idle; there are no pangs so sickening as the satieties of pleasure. Nay, the bitterest and most enduring sorrow may be borne through the burden and heat of the day bravely to the due time of death by a true worker.
John Ruskin

January 16

DEAR Work! Art thou the curse of God?
What must His blessing be?
Elizabeth B. Browning

BE not uneasy, discouraged, or out of humour, because practice falls short of precept in some particulars. If you happen to be beaten, come on again, and be glad if most of your acts are worthy of human nature. Love that to which you return, and do not go like a schoolboy to his master, with an ill will.
Marcus Aurelius

LOVE Labour: For if thou dost not want it for Food, thou mayest for Physick. It is wholesome for thy Body, and good for thy Mind. It prevents the Fruits of Idleness, which many times comes of nothing to do, and leads too many to do what is worse than nothing.
William Penn

THE more we do, the more we can do; the more busy we are, the more leisure we have.
William Hazlitt

January 12

IF thou hast time
But for a line,
Make it sublime;
Not failure, but
Low aim is crime.
James Russell Lowell

ACCUSTOM yourself, therefore, to think upon nothing but what you could freely reveal, if the question were put to you; so that if your soul were thus laid open, there would nothing appear but what was sincere, good natured, and public spirited—not so much as one voluptuous or luxurious fancy, nothing of hatred, envy, or unreasonable suspicion, nor aught else which you could not bring to the light without blushing.
Marcus Aurelius

FOR, no man can write anything, who does not think that what he writes is for the time the history of the world; or do anything well, who does not esteem his work to be of importance. My work may be of none, but I must not think it of none, or I shall not do it with impunity.
Ralph Waldo Emerson

September 19

THERE’S not a man
That lives who hath not known his godlike hours,
And feels not what an empire we inherit
As natural beings in the strength of nature.
William Wordsworth

EVERY human being has not only the idea of Right; but he himself is capable of Rectitude. We are made not only to admire the Right; for the same faculty, that discerns it as a Universal Law, proclaims it to be our own Supreme Law. Right is not revealed to us as the glory of unapproachable beings, whom we must reverence at a hopeless distance. It is made known to us with the consciousness, that rectitude is bound up with our own lives.
William E. Channing

HOW can thy principles become dead, unless the thoughts which correspond to them are extinguished? But it is in thy power to fan these thoughts into a continuous flame.
Marcus Aurelius

September 1

THOU and God exist.—
So think! for certain: think the mass-mankind
Disparts, disperses,—leaves thyself alone!
Ask thy lone soul what laws are plain to thee,
Thee and no other! stand or fall by them!
That is the part for thee.
Robert Browning

HE spirit ought to be brought up for examination daily. It was the custom of Sextius when the day was over, and he had betaken himself to rest, to inquire of his spirit: “What bad habit of yours have you cured to-day? What vice have you checked? In what respect are you better?” Anger will cease, and become more gentle, if it knows that every day it will have to appear before the judgment seat. What can be more admirable than this fashion of discussing the whole of the day’s events? How sweet is the sleep which follows this self-examination.
Lucius A. Seneca

WHAT use do I put my soul to? It is a serviceable question this, and should frequently be put to one’s self. How does my ruling part stand affected? And whose soul have I now? That of a child, or a young man, or a feeble woman, or of a tyrant, of cattle or wild beasts.
Marcus Aurelius

July 25

NOT labour kills us, no nor joy:
The incredulity and frown,
The interference and annoy
The small attritions wear us down.
F. B. Money-Coutts

WHO has not observed how wonderfully the mere insect cares, that are ever on the wing in the noonday heat of life, have power to sting and to annoy even the giant minds around which they sport, and to provoke them into the most unseemly war? The finest sense, the profoundest knowledge, the most unquestionable taste, often prove an unequal match for insignificant irritations; and a man whose philosophy subdues nature, and whose force of thought and purpose gives him ascendency over men, may keep, in his own temper, an unvanquished enemy at home.
James Martineau

BE on thy guard, not only in the matter of steady judgment and action, but also in the flatter of gentleness towards those who try to binder or otherwise trouble thee.
Marcus Aurelius

July 23

AND so the shadows fall apart,
And so the west winds play;
And all the windows of my heart I open to the day.
John G. Whittier

HAPPINESS, at least, is not solitary; it joys to communicate; it loves others, for it depends on them for its existence; it sanctions and encourages to all delights that are not unkind in themselves; if it lived to a thousand it would not make excision of a single humorous passage; and while the self-improver dwindles towards the prig, and, if he be not of an excellent constitution, may even grow deformed into an Obermann, the very name and appearance of a happy man breathe of good nature, and help the rest of us to live.
Robert Louis Stevenson

LOOK inwards, for you have a lasting fountain of happiness at home that will always bubble up if you will but dig for it.
Marcus Aurelius

June 26

AH yet, tho’ all the world forsake,
Tho’ fortune clip my wings,
I will not cramp my heart, nor take
Half-views of men and things.
Alfred Tennyson

IT is necessary to have a corner of the mind always open and free, to leave a place there for the opinions of one’s friends, and to entertain them as they pass by. It becomes really intolerable to talk to men in whose brains the divisions are filled up, and into which nothing from without can enter. Let us strive after hospitable hearts and minds.
Joseph Joubert

IF any one can convince me of an error, I shall be very glad to change my opinion, for truth is my business, and nobody was ever yet hurt by it. No; he that continues in ignorance and mistake, it is he that receives the mischief.
Marcus Aurelius

June 19

GOD bends from out the deep and says,
“I gave thee the great gift of life;
Wast thou not called in many ways?
Are not My earth and heaven at strife?

“I gave thee of My seed to sow,
Bringest thou Me My hundred-fold? ”
Can I look up with face aglow,
And answer, “Father, here is gold.”
James Russell Lowell

THE duty of Christ’s minister is, generally speaking, to take the other side—that is to say, to resist the verdicts passed by the world upon men and things. Preaching mere abstractions, too, is not by itself of much use. What we are bound to do is not only to preserve the eternal standard, but to measure actual human being and human deeds by it. I sometimes think, too, it is of more importance to say, “This is right,” than to say, “This is wrong;” to save that which is true than to assist into perdition that which is false. Especially ought we to defend character unjustly assailed. A character is something alive, a soul; to rescue it is the salvation of the soul!
Mark Rutherford

OMISSIONS no less than commissions are oftentimes part of injustice.
Marcus Aurelius

CHRIST would never hear of negative morality: thou shalt, was ever His word.
Robert Louis Stevenson