Verse > Anthologies > Arthur Quiller-Couch, ed. > The Oxford Book of English Verse
Arthur Quiller-Couch, ed. 1919. The Oxford Book of English Verse: 1250–1900.
Sir Henry Wotton. 1568–1639
179. The Character of a Happy Life
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, 
Untied unto the world by care 
Of public fame or private breath; 
Who envies none that chance doth raise, 
Nor 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 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. 
Check out our other writing samples, like our resources on Death of a Salesman Essay, Welfare Essay, Holocaust Essay.

Shakespeare · Bible · Strunk · Anatomy · Nonfiction · Quotations · Reference · Fiction · Poetry
© 1993–2015 · [Top 150] · Subjects · Titles · Authors · World Lit.