Boasting and bravado may exist in the breast even of the coward, if he is successful through a mere lucky hit; but a just contempt of an enemy can alone arise in those who feel that they are superior to their opponent by the prudence of their measures.
Lord Bacon told Sir Edward Coke when he boasted, The less you speak of your greatness, the more I shall think of it. Mirrors are the accompaniments of dandies, not heroes. The men of history were not perpetually looking in the glass to make sure of their own size. Absorbed in their work they did it, and did it so well that the wondering world saw them to be great, and labeled them accordingly.
One man affirms that he has rode post a hundred miles in six hours: probably it is a lie; but supposing it to be true, what then? Why, he is a very good post-boy; that is all. Another asserts, and probably not without oaths, that he has drunk six or eight bottles of wine at a sitting; out of charity I will believe him a liar; for, if I do not, I must think him a beast.