Verse > Anthologies > T. H. Ward, ed. > The English Poets > Vol. II. Ben Jonson to Dryden
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Thomas Humphry Ward, ed.  The English Poets.  1880–1918.
Vol. II. The Seventeenth Century: Ben Jonson to Dryden
 
The Character of a Happy Life
By Sir Henry Wotton (1568–1639)
 
HOW happy is he born and taught
  That serveth not another’s will;
Whose armour is his honest thought,
  And simple truth his utmost skill;
 
Whose passions not his masters are;        5
  Whose soul is still prepared for death,
Untied unto the world by care
  Of public fame or private breath;
 
Who envies none that chance doth raise,
  Nor vice; who never understood        10
How deepest wounds are given by 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 flatterers feed,        15
  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 religious book or friend.        20
 
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.
 
 
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