March 22

THEN life is—to wake not sleep,
Rise and not rest, but press
From earth’s level where blindly creep
Things perfected more or less,
To the heaven’s height, far and steep.
Robert Browning


AN aspiration is a joy for ever, a possession as solid as a landed estate, a fortune which we can never exhaust and which gives us year by year a revenue of pleasurable activity. To have many of these is to be spiritually rich.
Robert Louis Stevenson


GET knowledge all you can; and the more you get, the more you breathe upon its nearer heights their invigorating air and enjoy the widening prospect, the more you will know, and feel how small is the elevation you have reached in comparison with the immeasurable altitudes that yet remain unsealed. Be thorough in all you do, and remember that, though ignorance often may be innocent, pretension is always despicable. Quit you like men, be strong, and the exercise of your strength to-day will give you more strength tomorrow. Work onwards, and work upwards; and may the blessing of the Most High soothe your cares, clear your vision, and crown your labours with reward.
William E. Gladstone

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March 17

SMALL service is true service while it lasts:
Of humblest Friends, bright creature! Scorn not one;
The Daisy, by the shadow that it casts,
Protects the lingering dew-drop from the Sun.
William Wordsworth


IF there is any one point which, in six thousand years of thinking about right and wrong, wise and good men have agreed upon, or successively by experience discovered, it is that God dislikes idle and cruel people more than any others:—that His first order is, “Work while you have light;” and His second, “Be merciful while you have mercy.”
John Ruskin


TO be honest, to be kind—to earn a little and to spend a little less, to make upon the whole a family happier for his presence, to renounce when that shall be necessary and not to be embittered, to keep a few friends, but these without capitulation—above all, on the same grim conditions, to keep friends with himself—here is a task for all that a man has of fortitude and delicacy.
Robert Louis Stevenson

March 15

Aspire, break bounds! I say
Endeavour to be good, and better still,
And best! Success is nought, endeavour’s all.
Robert Browning


AS we dwell, we living things, in our isle of terror and under the imminent hand of death, God forbid it should be man the erected, the reasoner, the wise in his own eyes—God forbid it should be man that wearies in well-doing, that despairs of unrewarded efforts, or utters the language of complaint. Let it be enough for faith, that the whole creation groans in mortal frailty, strives with unconquerable constancy: surely not all in vain.
Robert Louis Stevenson


IS not a man’s walking in truth always this: “a succession of falls”? Man can do no other. In this wild element of a life, he has to struggle onwards; and ever, with tears, repentance, with bleeding heart, he has to rise again, struggle again still onwards. That his struggle be a faithful, unconquerable one: that is the question of questions.
Thomas Carlyle

March 14

BUT welcome fortitude, and patient cheer,
And frequent sights of what is to be borne!
Such sights, or worse, as are before me here—
Not without hope we suffer and we mourn.
William Wordsworth


THOSE who have not suffered are still wanting in depth; but a man who has not got happiness cannot impart it. We can only give what we have. Happiness, grief, gaiety, sadness, are by nature contagious. Bring your health and your strength to the weak and sickly, and so you will be of use to them. Give them, not your weakness, but your energy, so you will revive and lift them up. Life alone can rekindle life. What others claim from us is not our thirst and our hunger, but our bread and our gourd.
Henri F. Amiel


IN his own life, then, a man is not to expect happiness, only to profit by it gladly when it shall arise; he is on duty here; he knows not how or why, and does not need to know; he knows not for what hire, and must not ask. Somehow or other, though he does not know what goodness is, he must try to be good; somehow or other, though he cannot tell what will do it, he must try to give happiness to others.
Robert Louis Stevenson

March 7

LIE not; but let thy heart be true to God,
Thy mouth to it, thy actions to them both:
Cowards tell lies, and those that fear the rod;
The stormy-working soul spits lies and froth.
Dare to be true. Nothing can need a lie;
A fault, which needs it most, grows two thereby.
George Herbert


THE cruellest lies are often told in silence. A man may have sat in a room for hours and not opened his teeth, and yet, come out of that room a disloyal friend or a vile calumniator.
Robert Louis Stevenson


HALF truths are often more calumnious than whole falsehoods. It is not even necessary that a word should be distinctly uttered; a dropped lip, an arched eyebrow; a shrugged shoulder, a significant look, an incredulous expression of countenance, nay, even an emphatic silence, may do the work.
Frederick W. Robertson


IT is false piety to keep peace at the expense of truth; and it is also false zeal to keep truth while wounding charity.
Blaise Pascal

February 29

WHAT I aspired to be
And was not, comforts me.
Robert Browning


THE problem of education is twofold: first to know, and then to utter. Every one who lives any semblance of an inner life thinks more nobly and profoundly than he speaks; and the best teachers can impart only broken images of the truth which they perceive.
Robert Louis Stevenson


THAT man, I think, has had a liberal education who has been so trained in youth that his body is the ready servant of his will, and does with ease and pleasure all the work that as a mechanism it is capable of; whose intellect is a clear, cold logic engine, with all its parts of equal strength and in smooth working order; ready, like a steam engine, to be turned to any kind of work, and spin the gossamers as well as forge the anchors of the mind; whose mind is stored with a knowledge of the great and fundamental truths of nature and of the laws of her operations; one who, no stunted ascetic, is full of life and fire, but whose passions are trained to come to heel by a vigorous will, the servant of a tender conscience; who has learned to love all beauty, whether of nature or of art, to hate all vileness, and to respect others as himself.
Thomas H. Huxley

February 21

GOD’S gift was that man should conceive of truth
And yearn to gain it, catching at mistake,
As midway help till he reach fact indeed.
Robert Browning


ALL opinions, properly so called, are stages on the road to truth. It does not follow that a man will travel any further; but if he has really considered the world and drawn a conclusion, he has travelled so far. This does not apply to formulæ got by rote, which are stages on the road to nowhere but second childhood and the grave. To have a catch-word in your mouth is not the same thing as to hold an opinion; still less is it the same thing as to have made one for yourself.
Robert Louis Stevenson


CLEAR, impartial insight requires, not that we have no preference, but that we have right preferences; not that we shut ourselves up with one faculty, but that we be free through the harmony of all.
James Martineau

February 17

DROP Thy still dews of quietness,
Till all our strivings cease:
Take from our souls the strain and stress;
And let our ordered lives confess
The beauty of Thy peace.
John G. Whittier


AN imperturbable demeanour comes from perfect patience. Quiet minds cannot be perplexed or frightened, but go on in fortune or misfortune at their own private pace, like a clock during a thunderstorm.
Robert Louis Stevenson


CERTAINLY at present, and perhaps through all your life, your teachers are wisest when they make you content in quiet virtue, and that literature and art are best for you which point out, in common life, and in familiar things, the objects for hopeful labour, and for humble love.
John Ruskin

February 11

WHOSO hath felt the Spirit of the Highest
Cannot confound nor doubt Him nor deny:
Yea with one voice, O world, tho’ thou deniest,
Stand thou on that side, for on this am I.
F. W. H. Myers


IT is much more important to do right than not to do wrong; further, the one is possible, the other has always been and will ever be impossible.
Robert Louis Stevenson


WHERE I chooser, a dram of well-doing should be preferred before many times as much forcible hindrance of evil doing. For God, sure, esteems the growth and completion of one virtuous person more than the restraint of ten vicious.
John Milton


One, on God’s side, is a majority.
Wendell Phillips

February 7

THERE are in this loud stunning tide
Of human care and crime,
With whom the melodies abide
Of th’ everlasting chime;
Who carry music in their heart
Through dusky lane and wrangling mart,
Plying their daily task with busier feet,
Because their secret souls a holy strain repeat.
John Keble


A HAPPY man or woman is a better thing to find than a five-pound note. He or she is a radiating focus of goodwill; and their entrance into a room is as though another candle had been lighted. We need not care whether they could prove the forty-seventh proposition; they do a better thing than that, they practically demonstrate the great theorem of the Liveableness of Life.
Robert Louis Stevenson


NEVER is it so hard to follow and trust a higher inspiration, as amid the crowd of customary things.
James Martineau


THOSE who bring sunshine to the lives of others cannot keep it from themselves.
James M. Barrie