From The International Library of Masterpieces, Literature, Art, and Rare Manuscripts, Volume XXX, Editor-in-Chief: Harry Thurston Peck; The International Bibliophile Society, New York; 1901; pp. 11215-11216.
WOTTON, SIR HENRY, an English diplomat, poet, and miscellaneous writer; born at Bocton or Boughton, Malherbe, Kent, in 1568; died at Eton, in December, 1639. He was educated at Winchester and Oxord, and afterward spent several years on the Continent. Upon his return he attached himself to the Earl of Essex, the favorite of Queen Elizabeth. Upon the accession, in 1603, of James I., Wotton was made Ambassador to Venice, where he wrote a tractate on “The State of Christendom,” which, however, was not printed during his lifetime. About 1618 he took holy orders, in order to render himself eligible for the position of Provost of Eton College, which he filled until his death. In 1624 he put forth a very creditable work on “The Elements of Architecture.” He was also a friend of Izaak Walton, with whom he sometimes went a-fishing, and who wrote his “Life” and edited the scanty “Reliquiæ Wottonianæ” (1651.)
YOU meaner beauties of the night,
That poorly satisfy our eyes
More by your number than your light;
You common people of the skies,
What are you when the moon shall rise?
You curious chanters of the wood,
That warble forth Dame Nature’s lays,
Thinking your passions understood
By your weak accents! What ’s your praise
When Philomel her voice shall raise?
You violets that first appear,
By your purple mantles known,
Like the proud virgins of the year,
As if the spring were all your own!
What are you when the rose is blown?
So, when my Mistress shall be seen
In form and beauty of her mind —
By virtue first, then choice, a Queen!
Tell me, if she were not designed
Th’ eclipse an glory of her kind?
HOW happy is he born and taught
That serveth not another’s will;
Whose armor 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; hath ever understood
How deepest wounds are given by praise;
Nor rules of State, but rules of good:
Who hath his life from rumors 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.