Percy's Reliques - The Character of a Happy Life.

The Character of a Happy Life.

            This little moral poem was writ by Sir Henry Wotton, who died Provost of Eton in 1639. At. 72. It is printed from a little collection of his pieces, intitled, Reliquię Wottonianę, 1631, 12mo.; compared with one or two other copies.

How happy is he born or taught,
That serveth not anothers 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;
Not ty'd unto the world with care
Of princes ear, or vulgar breath:

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

Who envies none, whom chance doth raise,
Or vice: who never understood
How deepest wounds are given with praise;
Nor rules of state, but rules of good:

Who God doth late and early pray
More of his grace than gifts to lend;
And entertaines 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 himselfe, though not of lands;
And having nothing, yet hath all.


Prev Next

Back to Introduction