Then out spake brave Horatius,
The Captain of the Gate:
To every man upon this earth
Death cometh soon or late.
And how can man die better
Than facing fearful odds,
For the ashes of his fathers,
And the temples of his Gods.
—Thomas Babington Macaulay, 1st Baron Macaulay (1800–59) English Historian, Essayist, Philanthropist
It’s true that heroes are inspiring, but mustn’t they also do some rescuing if they are to be worthy of their name? Would Wonder Woman matter if she only sent commiserating telegrams to the distressed?
—Jeanette Winterson (b.1959) English Novelist, Journalist
I do not like heroes; they make too much noise in the world. The more radiant their glory, the more odious they are.
—Voltaire (1694–1778) French Philosopher, Author
What is our task? To make Britain a fit country for heroes to live in.
—David Lloyd George (1863–1945) British Liberal Statesman
To be a hero or a heroine, one must give an order to oneself.
—Simone Weil (1909–1943) French Philosopher, Political Activist
The hero draws inspiration from the virtue of his ancestors.
—Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749–1832) German Poet
The legacy of heroes is the memory of a great name and the inheritance of a great example.
—Benjamin Franklin (1706–90) American Political Leader, Inventor, Diplomat
True heroism is remarkably sober, very undramatic. It is not the urge to surpass all others at whatever cost, but the urge to serve others at whatever cost.
—Arthur Ashe (1943–93) American Tennis Player
I think of a hero as someone who understands the degree of responsibility that comes with their freedom.
—Bob Dylan (b.1941) American Singer-songwriter
True courage is not the brutal force of vulgar heroes, but the firm resolve of virtue and reason.
—Alfred North Whitehead (1861–1947) English Mathematician, Philosopher
The ordinary man is involved in action, the hero acts. An immense difference.
—Henry Miller (1891–1980) American Novelist
It is better to be the widow of a hero than the wife of a coward.
—Dolores Ibarruri (1895–1989) Spanish Communist Leader
How many famous and high-spirited heroes have lived a day too long?
—Jean-Jacques Rousseau (1712–78) Swiss-born French Philosopher
Heroism is not only in the man, but in the occasion.
—Calvin Coolidge (1872–1933) American Head of State, Lawyer
The idol of today pushes the hero of yesterday out of our recollection; and will, in turn, be supplanted by his successor of tomorrow.
—Washington Irving (1783–1859) American Essayist, Biographer, Historian
Our tendency to create heroes rarely jibes with the reality that most nontrivial problems require collective solutions.
—Warren Bennis (1925–2014) American Business Academic, Author
As you get older it is harder to have heroes, but it is sort of necessary.
—Ernest Hemingway (1899–1961) American Author, Journalist, Short Story Writer
Being a hero is about the shortest lived profession on earth.
—Will Rogers (1879–1935) American Actor, Rancher, Humorist
Martyrdom does not end something, it only a beginning.
—Indira Gandhi (1917–84) Indian Head of State
A hero cannot be a hero unless in an heroic world.
—Nathaniel Hawthorne (1804–64) American Novelist, Short Story Writer
If you do it right 51 percent of the time you will end up a hero.
—Alfred P. Sloan, Jr. (1875–1966) American Businessman, Philanthropist
Mankind’s common instinct for reality has always held the world to be essentially a theatre for heroism. In heroism, we feel, life’s supreme mystery is hidden. We tolerate no one who has no capacity whatever for it in any direction. On the other hand, no matter what a man’s frailties otherwise may be, if he be willing to risk death, and still more if he suffer it heroically, in the service he has chosen, the fact consecrates him forever.
—William James (1842–1910) American Philosopher, Psychologist, Physician
The characteristic of genuine heroism is its persistency. All men have wandering impulses, fits and starts of generosity. But when you have resolved to be great, abide by yourself, and do not weakly try to reconcile yourself with the world. The heroic cannot be the common, nor the common the heroic.
—Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803–82) American Philosopher
Not the glittering weapon fights the fight, but rather the hero’s heart.
A boy doesn’t have to go to war to be a hero; he can say he doesn’t like pie when he sees there isn’t enough to go around.
—E. W. Howe (1853–1937) American Novelist, Editor
A hero is born among a hundred, a wise man is found among a thousand, but an accomplished one might not be found even among a hundred thousand men.
—Plato (428 BCE–347 BCE) Ancient Greek Philosopher, Mathematician, Educator
Now stiff on a pillar with a phallic air nelson stylites in Trafalgar square reminds the British what once they were.
—Lawrence Durrell (1912–90) British Biographer, Poet, Playwright, Novelist
My heroes are and were my parents. I can’t see having anyone else as my heroes.
—Michael Jordan (b.1963) American Sportsperson, Businessperson
A scholar’s ink lasts longer than a martyr’s blood.
Ultimately a hero is a man who would argue with the gods, and so awakens devils to contest his vision. The more a man can achieve, the more he may be certain that the devil will inhabit a part of his creation.
—Norman Mailer (1923–2007) American Novelist Essayist