Saturday, January 5, 2013

Honor and Enemies

Beyond a readiness to defend it, does honor assume an eagerness to fight? Charles Mackay (1814-1887) seemed to think so, as revealed in a popular poem he wrote.
You Have No Enemies, You Say?

You have no enemies, you say?
Alas, my friend, the boast is poor.
He who has mingled in the fray
Of duty, that the brave endure,
Must have made foes.
If you have none,
Small is the work that you have done.
You’ve hit no traitor on the hip,
You’ve dashed no cup from perjured lip,
You’ve never turned the wrong to right,
You’ve been a coward in the fight.
Mackay was the author of Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds, which contains an excellent chapter on dueling.

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