The following text, from the drama by Robert Bolt, A Man For All Seasons, is the conversation between St. Thomas More and his daughter, Margaret, shortly before his beheading by King Henry VIII for refusing to renounce a doctrine of the Catholic Faith.
MARGARET: In any State that was half good, you would be raised up high, not here, for what you’ve done already. It’s not your fault the State’s three-quarters bad. Then if you elect to suffer for it, you elect yourself a hero.
MORE: That’s very neat. But look now . . . If we lived in a State where virtue was profitable, common sense would make us good, and greed would make us saintly. And we’d live like animals or angels in the happy land that needs no heroes. But since in fact we see that avarice, anger, envy, pride, sloth, lust and stupidity commonly profit far beyond humility, chastity, fortitude, justice and thought, and have to choose, to be human at all . . . why then perhaps we must stand fast a little – even at the risk of being heroes.
MARGARET (Emotionally): But in reason! Haven’t you done as much as God can reasonably want?
MORE: Well . . . finally . . . it isn’t a matter of reason; finally it’s a matter of love.