The best chess-player in Christendom may be little more than the best player of chess; but proficiency in whist implies capacity for success in all these more important undertakings where mind struggles with mind.
(Edgar Allan Poe (1809-1845), U.S. poet, critic, short-story writer. The Murders in the Rue Morgue (1841).)
We live in a system of approximations. Every end is prospective of some other end, which is also temporary; a round and final success nowhere. We are encamped in nature, not domesticated.
(Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882), U.S. essayist, poet, philosopher. "Nature," Essays, Second Series (1844).
Emerson anticipates John Dewey's version of the pragmatic mode of knowing as a continuous, endless and ever-blossoming investigation.)
Twenty-two years ago Judge [then-Senator Stephen] Douglas and I first became acquainted. We were both young then; he a trifle younger than I. Even then, we were both ambitious; I, perhaps, quite as much so as he. With me, the race of ambition has been a failurea flat failure; with him it has been one of splendid success.
(Abraham Lincoln (1809-1865), U.S. president. fragment on Stephen A. Douglas, Dec. 1856? Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln, vol. 2, p. 382, Rutgers University Press (1953, 1990).)
After many centuries, those crescents yet unwaning shine, and count a devotee for every worshiper of yonder crosses. Truth and Merit have other symbols than success.
(Herman Melville (1819-1891), U.S. author. Mardi (1849), ch. 168, The Writings of Herman Melville, vol. 3, eds. Harrison Hayford, Hershel Parker, and G. Thomas Tanselle (1970).
Spoken by Babbalanja, the philosopher, about the Christian and Muslim faiths.)
Yet poetry, though the last and finest result, is a natural fruit. As naturally as the oak bears an acorn, and the vine a gourd, man bears a poem, either spoken or done. It is the chief and most memorable success, for history is but a prose narrative of poetic deeds.
(Henry David Thoreau (1817-1862), U.S. philosopher, author, naturalist. A Week on the Concord and Merrimack Rivers (1849), in The Writings of Henry David Thoreau, vol. 1, p. 94, Houghton Mifflin (1906).)
I have heard, in such a way as to believe it, of your recently saying that both the Army and the Government needed a Dictator. Of course it was not for this, but in spite of it, that I have given you the command. Only those generals who gain success, can set up dictators.
(Abraham Lincoln (1809-1865), U.S. president. letter to Joseph Hooker, Jan. 26, 1863. Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln, vol. 6, p. 78, Rutgers University Press (1955, 1990).)