Remember his constancy in every act which was conformable to reason, his evenness in all things, his piety, the serenity of his countenance, his sweetness, his disregard of empty fame and his efforts to understand things; how he would never let anything pass without having first most carefully examined it; how he bore with those who blamed him unjustly without blaming them in return; how he did nothing in a hurry; how he listened not to calumnies and how exact an examiner of manners and actions he was; not given to reproach people, nor timid, nor suspicious, nor a sophist; with how little he was satisfied, such as lodging, bed, dress, food, servant; how laborious and patient; how sparing he was in his diet; his firmness and uniformity in his friendships; how he tolerated freedom of speech in those who opposed his opinions; the pleasure he had when anyone showed him anything better; and how pious he was without superstition. Imitate all this that thou mayest have as good a conscience, when thy last hour comes as he had.
(Marcus Aurelius : on the character of Antoninus)
Here was a man to hold against the world
A man to match the mountains and the sea....
The colour of the ground was in him, the red earth
The smack and tang of elemental things;
The rectitude and patience of the cliff,
The goodwill of the rain that loves the leaves....
The pity of the snow that hides all scars.
(Edwin Markham : on Abraham Lincoln)
If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowances for their doubting too,
If you can wait and not be tired of waiting,
Or being lied about, don't deal in lies,
On being hated, don't give way to hating,
And yet don't look too good nor talk too wise.
If you can dream and not make dreams your master,
If you can think not make thoughts your aim,
If you can meet with triumph and disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same,
If you can bear to hear the truth you've spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life, be broken
And stoop and build, 'em up with worn out tools.
If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch and toss,
And lose and start again at your beginnings
And never breathe a word about your loss,
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinews
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the will which says to them: "Hold on!"
If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with kings, nor lose the common touch,
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
If all men count with you, but none toe much,
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds' worth of distance run,
Yours is earth and everything that's in it,
And, which is more, you will be a Man, my son!
(Rudyard Kipling : 1865-1936)