Verse > Anthologies > Ralph Waldo Emerson, ed. > Parnassus: An Anthology of Poetry
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Ralph Waldo Emerson, comp. (1803–1882).  Parnassus: An Anthology of Poetry.  1880.
 
The Happy Life
By Sir Henry Wotton (1568–1639)
 
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;        5
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        10
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,        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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