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The Character of a Happy Life

Henry Wotton

Henry Wotton

How happy is he born or taught
That serveth not another’s will;
Whos armour is his honest thought,
And simple truth his highest skill!

Whose passions not his masters are;
Whose soul is still prepared for death,
Untied unto the world with care
For princely love or vulgar breath;

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

Who hath his life from rumours freed;
Whose conscience is his strong retreat;
Whose state can neither flatters feed,
Nor ruin make oppressors great;

Who God doth late and early pray
More of His grace than gifts to lend;
And entertains the harmless day
With a good 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, he hath all.

– Sir Hentry Wotton (1568-1639)

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