Once I said to a scarecrow, “You must be tired of standing in this lonely field,”
And he said, “The joy of scaring is a deep and lasting one, and I never tire of it.”
Said I, after a minute of thought, “It is true; for I too have known that joy.”
Said he, “Only those who are stuffed with straw can know it.”
Then I left him, not knowing whether he had complimented or belittled me.
A year passed, during which the scarecrow turned philosopher.
And when I passed by him again I saw two crows building a nest under his hat.
The Madman: His Parables and Poems by Kahlil Gibran
Book 3, VII (1/3)
If thou shalt find anything in this mortal life better than
righteousness, than truth, temperance, fortitude, and in general better than a mind contented both with those things which according to right and reason she doth, and in those, which without her will and knowledge happen unto thee by the providence; if I say, thou canst find out anything better than this, apply thyself unto it with thy whole heart, and that which is best wheresoever thou dost find it, enjoy freely.
Meditations by Marcus Aurelius
Come then, my soul, now learn to wield
The weight of thine immortal shield;
Put on the armour from above
Of heavenly truth and heavenly love.
Anna Laetitia Barbauld