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Sir Henry Wotton 1568 - 1639

Wotton produced a small body of work and was mainly known for being a distinguished man of affairs. His best known works include; Elizabeth of Bohemia: or You Meaner Beauties of the Night, The Character of a Happy life and Upon the Sudden Restraint of the Earl of Somerset. Twelve years after his death, a collection of his works was published entitled Reliquiae Wollonianae. This collection was edited by the poet Izaak Walton.

Biography

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.

Available Poems
Character of a Happy Life
On His Mistress, the Queen of Bohemia

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