Courage, the highest gift, that scorns to bend
To mean devices for a sordid end.
Courage—an independent spark from heaven’s bright throne,
By which the soul stands raised, triumphant, high, alone.
Great in itself, not praises of the crowd,
Above all vice, it stoops not to be proud.
Courage, the mighty attribute of powers above,
By which those great in war are great in love.
The spring of all brave acts is seated here,
As falsehoods draw their sordid birth from fear.
– Farquhar, “Love and a Bottle”
Courage is rarely the grandiose gesture in the face of insurmountable odds. It more often the simple willingness to push oneself just a little bit beyond what was previously thought to be possible.
Courage, in this sense, is the stuff of incremental growth. It is that which propels a man from the known to the unknown, as he enlarges the borders of his tent.