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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; 
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 
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 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;
—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.

This poem is in the public domain.

This poem is in the public domain.

Sir Henry Wotton