Friday, June 14, 2013

The Golden Treasury by Francis Turner Palgrave

 #72, Elizabethan poem by Henry Wotton--

Character of a Happy Life

How happy is he born and taught
That serveth not another's will;
Whose armor is his honest thought
And simple truth his utmost skill;

Whose passions not his masters are;
Whose soul is still prepared for death,
Not tied unto the world with care
Of public fame, or private breath;

Who envies none that chance doth raise,
Or vice; who never understood
How deepest wounds are given by praise,
Nor rules of state, but rules of good;

Who hath his life from rumors freed,
Whose conscience is his strong retreat;
Whose state can neither flatterers feed,
Nor ruin make accusers great;

Who God doth late and early pray
More of his grace than gifts to lend;
And entertains the harmless day
With a well-chosen book or friend;

--This man is freed from servile bands
Of hope to rise, or fear to fall;
Lord of himself, though not of lands;
And having nothing, yet hath all.

Wikipedia tells us this about our author:
Sir Henry Wotton (30 March 1568 – December 1639) was an English author, diplomat and politician who sat in the House of Commons in 1614 and 1625. He is often quoted as saying, "An ambassador is an honest gentleman sent to lie abroad for the good of his country." (he is said to have stated this while on a mission in Augsburg, in 1604.)

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