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Sir Henry Wotton
1568 - 1639
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. Later became a favorite of James I, who knighted him and appointed him ambassador to Venice. 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." He was provost of Eton College from 1624 until his death. His poetic fame rests largely on two poems, “Character of a Happy Life” and his tribute to Elizabeth, queen of Bohemia, beginning, “You meaner beauties of the night,” which was first printed with music in East’s Sixth Set of Books (1624). Wotton also wrote a number of prose tracts. 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. His biography (1651) was written by his friend Izaak Walton.
Upon the death of Sir Albert Morton's Wife
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