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John Bartlett (1820–1905). Familiar Quotations, 10th ed. 1919.

Sir Henry Wotton 1568-1639 John Bartlett

    How happy is he born or taught,
  That serveth not another’s will;
Whose armour is his honest thought,
  And simple truth his utmost skill!
          The Character of a Happy Life.
    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.
          The Character of a Happy Life.
    Lord of himself, though not of lands;
  And having nothing, yet hath all. 1
          The Character of a Happy Life.
    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 2 shall rise?
          On his Mistress, the Queen of Bohemia. 3
    He first deceased; she for a little tried
To live without him, liked it not, and died.
          Upon the Death of Sir Albert Morton’s Wife.
    I am but a gatherer and disposer of other men’s stuff.
          Preface to the Elements of Architecture.
    Hanging was the worst use a man could be put to.
          The Disparity between Buckingham and Essex.
    An ambassador is an honest man sent to lie abroad for the commonwealth. 4
          Reliquiæ Wottonianæ
    The itch of disputing will prove the scab of churches. 5
          A Panegyric to King Charles.
Note 1.
As having nothing, and yet possessing all things.—2 Corinth. vi. 10. [back]
Note 2.
”Sun” in Reliquiæ Wottonianæ (eds. 1651, 1654, 1672, 1685). [back]
Note 3.
This was printed with music as early as 1624, in Est’s “Sixth Set of Books,” etc., and is found in many MSS.—Hannah: The Courtly Poets. [back]
Note 4.
In a letter to Velserus, 1612, Wotton says, “This merry definition of an ambassador I had chanced to set down at my friend’s, Mr. Christopher Fleckamore, in his Album.” [back]
Note 5.
He directed the stone over his grave to be inscribed:—

Hic jacet hujus sententiæ primus author:


Nomen alias quære

(Here lies the author of this phrase: “The itch for disputing is the sore of churches.” Seek his name elsewhere).
Izaak Walton: Life of Wotton. [back]