Of a poem

Poems. Few words conveying a galore of thoughts in a way that only few would appreciate and connect with. I feel, to understand a poem, rather, to understand the poet’s thinking while he was penning those lines, one needs to read the lines not as a mere statements but something more than that.

One of the few poems that has stayed with me since a long time is ‘ The Character of a Happy life’ by Sir H C Wotton

It goes like this :

How happy is he born or taught,
That serveth not another’s will;
Whose armour is his honest thought,
And simple truth his highest skill;

Whose passions not his masters are;
Whose soul is still prepar’d for death
Untied unto the world with care
Of princes’ grace or vulgar breath;

Who envies none whom chance doth raise,
Or vice; who never understood
The deepest wounds are given by praise,
By rule of state, but not of good;

Who hath his life from rumours freed;
Whose conscience is his strong retreat;
Whose state can neither flatterers feed,
Nor ruins make accusers great;

Who God doth late and early pray,
More of his grace than goods to send,
And entertains the harmless day
With a well-chosen book or friend.

This man is free from servile bands
Of hope to rise or fear to fall;
Lord of himself, though not of lands;
And having nothing, yet hath all.

The most influential lines of these poem are the last two lines of the first paragraph;

Whose armour is his honest thought,
And simple truth his highest skill;

What they convey can only be understood when one is able to comprehend what the phrases ‘honest thought’ and ‘simple truth’ mean. Am sure we all have our own ways of defining or explaining these phrases but essentially they should lead us to the essence of these phrases all the same.

Anyway, just thought I should make an entry about the poem that has been my inspiration for such a long time. Hence, this post. Would may be that I might come back one day and speak more about these two phrases. But, for now, this is this.


One thought on “Of a poem

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