Sir Henry Wotton

(1568 - 1639 / England)

The Character Of A Happy Life - Poem by Sir Henry Wotton

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

Whose passions not his masters are;
Whose soul is still prepar'd for death
Untied unto the world with care
Of princes' grace or vulgar breath;

Who envies none whom chance doth raise,
Or vice; who never understood
The deepest wounds are given by praise,
By rule of state, but not of good;

Who hath his life from rumours freed;
Whose conscience is his strong retreat;
Whose state can neither flatterers feed,
Nor ruins make accusers great;

Who God doth late and early pray,
More of his grace than goods to send,
And entertains the harmless day
With a well-chosen book or friend.

This man is free from servile bands
Of hope to rise or fear to fall;
Lord of himself, though not of lands;
And having nothing, yet hath all.


Comments about The Character Of A Happy Life by Sir Henry Wotton

  • (2/21/2018 10:57:00 PM)


    I recited this poem at my high school graduation in 1956. (Report) Reply

    1 person liked.
    0 person did not like.
  • Sara Militello (9/29/2015 3:26:00 PM)


    Wow. I never knew this poem existed. And, of course, it's written so very better than I could have said it. I will now get better acquainted with the poems of Sir Henry Wotton. (Report) Reply

  • (11/16/2012 1:41:00 PM)


    THE RELIGIOUS BENT ASIDE, IS THERE A BETTER DESCRIPTION OF CHARACTER WORTHY OF EMULATION? ? (Report) Reply

  • Osama Waqar (4/13/2012 1:38:00 PM)


    just beautiful.......... (Report) Reply

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Read poems about / on: happy, truth, friend, fear, hope, death, god, world, life, passion, rose



Poem Submitted: Friday, January 3, 2003



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