Verse > Anthologies > Harvard Classics > English Poetry I: From Chaucer to Gray
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   English Poetry I: From Chaucer to Gray.
The Harvard Classics.  1909–14.
 
148. Character of a Happy Life
 
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,
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 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 well-chosen 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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