Magnanimity and contentment are very near allied; like brothers and sisters, they spring from the same parents but are of several features. Fortitude and Patience are kindred to this incomparable virtue. Moralists distinguish Magnanimity and Modesty by making the one the desire of greater, the other of less and inferior honours. But in my apprehension there is more in Magnanimity. It includes all that belongs to a Great Soul; a high and mighty courage, an invincible Patience, an immovable Grandeur which is above the reach of injuries, a contempt of all little and feeble enjoyments, and a certain kind of majesty that is conversant with great things; a high and lofty frame of spirit, allied with the sweetness of Courtesy and Respect; a infinite hope and a vast desire; a Divine, profound, uncontrollable sense of one’s own capacity; a generous confidence , and a great inclination to heroical deeds; all these conspire to complete it, with a severe and mighty expectation of Bliss incomprehensible.
It soars up to Heaven, and looks down upon all dominion of fortune with pity and disdain. It aims and designs are transcendent to all concerns of this little world. It objects and its ends are worthy of a soul that is like God in Nature; and nothing less than the Kingdom of God, his Life and Image; nothing beneath the friendship and communion with Him can be its satisfaction. The terrors, allurements and censures of men are the dust of its feet: their avarice and ambition are but feebleness before it. Their riches and contentions, and interests and honours, but insignificant and empty trifles. All the world is but a little bubble; Infinty and Eternity the only great and sovereign things wherewwith it converseth.
A Magnanimous Soul is always awake. The whole globe of the earth is but a nutshell in comparison of its enjoyments. The sun is its lamp, the sea its fishpond, the stars its jewels, men angels, its attendants, and God alone its sovereign Lord of all Worlds.
— Thomas Traherne