Sir Henry Wotton

(1568 - 1639 / England)

Biography of Sir Henry Wotton

Sir Henry Wotton poet

Wotton was born in Kent, England and was educated at Winchester and New and Queens Colleges, Oxford. Whilst studying at Oxford he met John Donne, the first and greatest of the metaphysical poets, who later became a close friend. In 1595, Wotton became secretary to the Earl of Essex, collecting foreign intelligence. He became the ambassador to the court of Venice, and in later years, provost of Eton College. Whilst on a visit to Augsburg in 1604 he wrote a definition of an Ambassador which is now one of his most famous phrases; "An Ambassador is an honest man, sent to lie abroad for the good of his country." Although his works are small in number they are known for having great poise and polish and his enthusiasm for classical architecture and proportion can be seen to have a large influence on his poetry.

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Elizabeth of Bohemia

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

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