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Poems and Sayings


By Rudyard Kipling

If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too;
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
Or being hated, don’t give way to hating,
And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise:

If you can dream—and not make dreams your master;
If you can think—and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build ’em up with worn-out tools:

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breathe a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: ‘Hold on!’

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with Kings—nor lose the common touch,
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
If all men count with you, but none too much;
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,
And—which is more—you’ll be a Man, my son!

Source: A Choice of Kipling’s Verse (1943)

The Honor Men

The University of Virginia writes her highest degree on the souls of her
sons. The parchment page of scholarship—the colored ribbon of a society—
the jeweled emblem of a fraternity—the orange symbol of athletic prowess—
all these, a year hence, will be at the best the mementos of happy hours—
like the withered flower a woman presses between the pages of a book for
sentiment’s sake.
If you live a long, long time, and hold honesty of conscience
above honesty of purse;
And turn aside without ostentation to aid the weak;
And treasure ideals more than raw ambition;
And track no man to his undeserved hurt;
And pursue no woman to her tears;
And love the beauty of noble music and mist-veiled mountains
and blossoming valley and great monuments-
If you live a long time and, keeping the faith in all these things
hours by hour, still see that the sun gilds your path with real
gold and that the moon floats in dream silver;
Remembering the purple shadows of the lawn, the majesty of
the colonnades, and the dream of your youth, you may say
in your reverence and thankfulness:
“I have worn the honors of Honors.
I graduated from Virginia.”

-James Hay, Jr., ‘03


Former Presidents

“I have never been hurt by anything I didn’t say”  Calvin Coolidge

“One with courage is a majority” Thomas Jefferson

“Above all tell the truth” Grover Cleveland

“A pessimist is one who makes difficulties of his opportunities and an optimist  is one who makes opportunities of his difficulties” Harry Truman

“If you want a friend in Washington, buy a dog” Harry Truman

“To those to whom much is given, much is expected” John F. Kennedy

“A success has 100 fathers and a failure is an orphan” John F. Kennedy

“Things may come to those who wait…but only the things left by those who hustle” Abraham Lincoln

“The supreme quality for leadership is unquestionably integrity.  Without it, no real success is possible, no matter when it is on a section  gang, a football field, in an army, or in business” Dwight D. Eisenhower

“Plans are nothing, planning is everything.” Dwight D. Eisenhower

“A man is not finished when he is defeated. He is finished when he quits” Richard Nixon

“Any definition of a successful life must include serving others” George H.W. Bush


Notable authors

Mark Twain

“The secret to getting ahead is getting started”

“If you tell the truth, you don’t have to remember anything”

It is not the size of the dog in the fight, it’s the size of the fight in the dog”

“Where would men be without women? Scarce sir.. mighty scarce”

Jane Howard

“Call it a clan, call it a network, call it a tribe, call it a family. Whoever you are, you need one”


Notable people/leaders

“The time is always right to do what is right” Martin Luther King

“People who worry about their hair all the time ,frankly are boring” Barbara Bush

“Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world” Nelson Mandela

“A word is not a crystal, transparent and unchanged; it is the skin of a living thought and may vary greatly in color and content according to the circumstances and time in which it is used”  Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes

“Whom the gods wish to destroy, they first call promising”  Cyril Connolly , Enemies of Promise



Grandfatherly advise

“Marry the mother of your children, not your Saturday night girl” W.K. Parker


“Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak . Courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen”  Winston Churchill

“ Wise men speak because they have something to say. Fools because they have to say something” Plato


“How do you find a lady ?? Be a gentleman”   unknown

“Being male is a matter of birth

Being a man is a matter of age

Being a gentleman is a matter of choice” unknown


“ I choose not to be in the company of men who choose not to be gentlemen” unknown


Winston Churchill

His government asked the ultimate sacrifice of a generation of 18 to 25 year old women and men in 1940. They conducted the successful air defense of Britain in her darkest hour, when over 40,000 civilians were killed by German bombings. Churchill possessed  a remarkable ability to use the English language. He summed the sacrifice of this generation of aviators and radar operators with a succinct quote, in a speech of gratitude.

“Never in the field of human conflict was so much owed by so many to so few.”

After General Montgomery’s hard won victory in North Africa over the General Rommel,  the famed German “Desert Fox”, Churchill stated “Now is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end. But is  perhaps the end of the beginning”

The wit of Winston Churchill

Nancy Longhorne a  Danville, Virginia native who  married an Astor of English society, became  Lady Nancy Astor. She was the first woman to win a seat in the British House of Commons .She  famously joisted with Winston Churchill, who she loved to tease.

Lady Astor to Winston “if you were my husband, I’d poison your tea” Churchill’s celebrated retort  “Nancy ,”If you were my wife, I’d gladly drink it”

Churchill a prolific writer of memoirs, never felt inclined to write an  autobiography. Given his long lifespan and great achievements, he was queried why.  He response was that ,my autobiography has already been written for me by Rudyard Kipling with the poem “If”