If any one imagines that this law is lax, let him keep its commandment one day. All things real are so by so much virtue as they contain.
A boy is in the parlour what the pit is in the playhouse; independent, irresponsible, looking out from his corner on such people and facts as pass by, he tries and sentences them on their merits, in the swift, summary way of boys, as good, bad, interesting, silly, eloquent, troublesome.
Although they had been defeated in three great battles, and had seen Italy ravaged from the Alps to Calabria by their seemingly invincible foe, they nevertheless had such confidence in their strength as a nation that they scorned to think: of coming to terms, and Hannibal to his Surprise, heard that the very ground on which his camp was pitched had been bought for a good price at a Roman auction.
Let us affront and reprimand the smooth mediocrity and squalid contentment of the times, and hurl in the face of custom, and trade, and office, the fact which is the upshot of all history, that there is a great responsible Thinker and Actor working wherever a man works; that a true man belongs to no other time or place, but is the centre of things.
He has a fine Geneva watch, but he fails of the skill to tell the hour by the sun. Let a man then know his worth, and keep things under his feet. That which they call a holy office is not so much as brave and manly.
Its presence or its absence is all we can affirm.
Why all this deference to Alfred, and Scanderbeg, and Gustavus? He would utter opinions on all passing affairs, which being seen to be not private, but necessary, would sink like darts into the ear of men, and put them in fear. But the man in the street, finding no worth in himself which corresponds to the force which built a tower or sculptured a marble god, feels poor when he looks on these.