The Old Stoic
RICHES I hold in light esteem;
And Love I laugh to scorn;
And lust of fame was but a dream
That vanished with the morn:
And if I pray, the only prayer
That moves my lips for me
Is, " Leave the heart that now I bear,
And give me liberty !"
Yes, as my swift days near their goal,
'Tis all that I implore;
In life and death, a chainless soul,
With courage to endure.
"To endure calmly" might be one brief, adequate way to summarize stoicism in general, although Stoic philosophy as elaborated upon by (first) the Greeks (Zeno) and then Romans such as Epictitus and Seneca, had a lot of parts to it. These fellows seemed to believe in a supreme being, but a rather indifferent one, and, like Buddhists, believed that such emotions as fear and dread were the result of false perception or false attachment. Nonetheless, Stoicism still seems to come down to the individual's having the ability to "gut it out," whereas I guess the Epicurean outlook was to fill the gut and otherwise enjoy life as you were gutting it out.
But what a wonderfully concise and musical way Bronte has of expressing a Stoic's outlook.
It's possible that following poem may reveal a hint of Stoicism. It concerns a heat stroke. I hadn't heard the term until after I had suffered what it describes.
One day in July,
(sun unblocked, high, blazing)
--I was splitting and
stacking tamarack rounds
in town. Heat
through my body to my head.
went blind, was seventeen,
had learned by then to be
by affliction. I saw
just well enough
to stagger down to the general store,
into an old man, who laughed. I found
eyesight to clear.
Somebody got water. I went
back to the wood pile
This has been
a pattern of sorts in my
work hard until I go blind or fall over,
recover, go back to
Tamarack sap smells sweet, and a person’s brain
can get too hot--
from The Coast Starlight: Collected Poems 1976-2006, Hans Ostrom
Actually, "tamarack" is a misnomer. It's what most local people called the softwood conifer whose appropriate name is Lodgepole Pine. I think the real tamarack tree lives back East. Nonetheless, that was the local name, and that's what I thought I was splitting.