Henry Wotton (1568 - 1639)

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;
  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 rumours 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.


First printed in early 1600s, these timeless words from the well known poem of Henry Wotton have a remarkable power to cut through a cluttered mind.

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