in American Senator

Chapter 58 – The Two Old Ladies

duty above personal desire

Reginald Morton say that he does not want to become the squire should John Morton die, but that he will because it is his duty.  The willingness to place duty over desire is a quintessentially Roman characteristic.  The Classicality of the idea of “duty before self” is made even more plain when Reginald uses Latin later in the novel to articulate his moral code.  One of the best-known Roman exemplars of this ideal is Cincinnatus, who did not desire the power of dictator but took it up when called to do so while plowing a field on his farm.  [CMC 2012]

Source:  OCD.