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How Happy Are They

Representative Text

1 How happy are they, born or taught,
who do not serve another’s will;
whose armor is their honest thought,
and simple truth their highest skill;

2 Whose passions not their rulers are;
whose souls are still, and free from fear,
not tied unto the world with care
of public fame of private ear;

3 Who have their lives from rumors freed,
whose conscience is their strong retreat,
whose state no flattery can feed,
nor ruin make oppressors great.

4 All such are freed from servile bands
of hope to rise, or fear to fall;
they rule themselves, but rule not lands,
and, having nothing, yet have all.

Source: Singing the Living Tradition #135

Author: Sir Henry Wotton

Wotton, Sir Henry, M.A., born in Kent in 1568, and educated at New and at Queen's Colleges, Oxford. After spending nine years on the Continent, on his return he became secretary to Robert, Earl of Essex, with whom he continued until Essex was committed for high treason, when he retired to Florence. There he became known to the Grand Duke of Tuscany, and was sent by him, in the name of "Octavio Baldi," with letters to James VI., King of Scotland, in which the king was informed of a design against his life. On succeeding to the English throne James knighted Wotton and sent him as ambassador to the Republic of Venice. In 1623 he was made Provost of Eton (having previously taken Deacon's Orders). He died in 1639. His works include The Elements… Go to person page >

Text Information

First Line: How happy is he born or taught
Title: How Happy Are They
Author: Sir Henry Wotton
Language: English
Copyright: Public Domain


How happy is he born and taught. H. Wotton. [ Secret of Happiness.] From Izaak Walton's edition of Wotton's Poems, &c, published as Reliquae Wottonianae in 1651, p. 522, (p. 926, i.), into a few collections, and sometimes dated 1614.

--John Julian, Dictionary of Hymnology, New Supplement (1907)



William Knapp (b. Wareham, Dorsetshire, England, 1698; d. Poole, Dorsetshire, 1768) composed WAREHAM, so named for his birthplace. A glover by trade, Knapp served as the parish clerk at St. James's Church in Poole (1729-1768) and was organist in both Wareham and Poole. Known in his time as the "coun…

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ERNAN (Mason)



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Singing the Living Tradition #135

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