Wednesday, January 31, 2007

"Character of a Happy Life"

One of my high school friend's father passed away this fall. I was very moved by his memorial service even though I'd not known him much at all. As I was cleaning up tonight, I found the program from the service and discovered a lovely poem on the back that I'm going to try to think about as I fall asleep tonight and whenever I need a little reminder about the important things in life. Here it is:

Character of a Happy Life

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,
Not tied unto the world with 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 rumors freed;
Whose conscience is his strong retreat;
Whose state can neither flatterers feed,
Nor ruin make his oppressors great;

Who G-d doth late and early pray
More of his grace than gifts to lend;
To crave for less, and more obey,
Nor dare with heaven's high will contend.

--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.

H. Wotton

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