Abraham Lincoln biographer Carl Sandburg, in an address to Congress, 1959:

Not often in the story of mankind does a man arrive on Earth who is both steel and velvet, who is as hard as rock and soft as drifting fog, who holds in his heart and mind the paradox of terrible storm and peace unspeakable and perfect.

It intrigues me as much because of its truth in Lincoln’s case as because such a character, whether male or female, would be a worthwhile challenge to create.