Verse > Anthologies > William Stanley Braithwaite, ed. > The Book of Elizabethan Verse
William Stanley Braithwaite, ed.  The Book of Elizabethan Verse.  1907.
Integer Vitae
By Thomas Campion (1567–1620)
THE MAN 1 of life upright,
  Whose guiltless heart is free
From all dishonest deeds,
  Or thought of vanity;
The man whose silent days        5
  In harmless joys are spent,
Whom hopes cannot delude,
  Nor sorrow discontent;
That man needs neither towers
  Nor armour for defence,        10
Nor secret vaults to fly
  From thunder’s violence:
He only can behold
  With affrighted eyes
The horrors of the deep        15
  And terrors of the skies.
Thus, scorning all the cares
  That fate or fortune brings,
He makes the heaven his book,
  His wisdom heavenly things;        20
Good thoughts his only friends,
  His wealth a well-spent age,
The earth his sober inn
  And quiet pilgrimage.
Note 1. From Campion and Rosseter’s Book of Airs, 1601. “Campion’s classical interest,” says Mr. Erskine (The Elizabethan Lyric), “is seen also in translations and paraphrases from the Latin…. More characteristic of his classical mood, however, are the Horatian lines, suggestive of Integer Vitæ, The Man of life, etc. Whenever Campion moralizes he is likely to take this tune, and his theme is almost sure to be praise of the golden mean. This motive had appeared … in the miscellanies, and Campion at times merely carries on the miscellany mood at a higher poetic level.” This poem has been attributed to Lord Bacon, but the claim is valueless. It was reprinted in Campion’s Two Books of Airs, 1613, with textual alterations. [back]

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