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DUELING
[ Also see Challenge Contention Cowardice Cowards ]

Do not cherish that daring vice for which the whole age suffers--these private duels--which had their first original from the French and for which to this day we're justly censured, are banished from all civil government.
      - Francis Beaumont and John Fletcher

Ah me! what perils do environ
  The man that meddles with cold iron!
    What plaguy mischiefs and mishaps
      Do dog him still with after-claps.
      - Samuel Butler (1)

It has a strange, quick jar upon the ear,
  That cocking of a pistol, when you know
    A moment more will bring the sight to bear
      Upon your person, twelve yards off or so.
      - Lord Byron (George Gordon Noel Byron),
        Don Juan (canto IV, st. 41)

With respect to duels, indeed, I have my own ideas. Few things in this so surprising world strike me with more surprise. Two little visual spectra of men, hovering with insecure enough cohesion in the midst of the unfathomable, and to dissolve therein, at any rate, very soon, make pause at the distance of twelve paces asunder; whirl around, and simultaneously by the cunningest mechanism, explode one another into dissolution; and, offhand, become air, and non-extant--the little spitfires!
      - Thomas Carlyle

If all seconds were as averse to duels as their principals, very little blood would be shed in that way.
      - Charles Caleb Colton

Men engage in it compell'd by force,
  And fear, not courage, is its proper source,
    The fear of tyrant custom, and the fear
      Lest fops should censure us, and fools should sneer.
 * * * * *
Am I to set my life upon a throw
  Because a bear is rude and surly?
    A moral, sensible, and well-bred man
      Will not affront me, and no other can.
      - William Cowper

Some fiery fop, with new commission vain,
  Who sleeps on brambles till he kills his man;
    Some frolic drunkard, reeling from a feast,
      Provokes a broil, and stabs you for a jest.
      - Samuel Johnson (a/k/a Dr. Johnson) ("The Great Cham of Literature"),
        London (l. 226)

Since bodily strength is but a servant to the mind, it were very barbarous and preposterous that force should be made judge over reason.
      - Sir Philip Sidney (Sydney)

Duelling, though barbarous in civilized, is a highly civilized institution among barbarous people, and when compared to assassination, is a prodigious victory gained over human passions.
      - Sydney Smith


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