George Herbert has been one of my favorite poets since 2005 or so. One of his longer poems, the Church Porch, contains an interesting few stanzas concerning the vigorous or strenuous life that would fit right into a book by Teddy Roosevelt. If you aren’t a fan of poetry, just read the bold lines:
Flie idlenesse, which yet thou canst not flie
By dressing, mistressing, and complement.
If those take up thy day, the sunne will crie
Against thee: for his light was onely lent.
God gave thy soul brave wings; put not those feathers
Into a bed, to sleep out all ill weathers.
Art thou a Magistrate? then be severe:
If studious; copie fair, what time hath blurr’d;
Redeem truth from his jawes: if souldier,
Chase brave employments with a naked sword
Throughout the world. Fool not: for all may have,
If they dare try, a glorious life, or grave.
O England! full of sinne, but most of sloth;
Spit out thy flegme, and fill thy brest with glorie:
Thy Gentrie bleats, as if thy native cloth
Transfus’d a sheepishnesse into thy storie:
Not that they all are so; but that the most
Are gone to grasse, and in the pasture lost.
This losse springs chiefly from our education.
Some till their ground, but let weeds choke their sonne:
Some mark a partridge, never their childes fashion:
Some ship them over, and the thing is done.
Studie this art, make it thy great designe;
And if Gods image move thee not, let thine.
This is very motivating reading. If God’s image in you, stir you not unto your child’s education, then let your own image! Remove all sloth from your life and do useful, soul enlarging things (fill thy breast with glorie!). Whatever your employment do it with such excellence that your life or at least your death will be glorious! Flee idleness, run not from the troubles of life by sitting about pouting. Aha! Great stuff.