Politics: not mine you will be pleased to note; the spelling, I am glad to
note, is not mine: it is auld….

Sir Henry Wootton (1568-1639) wrote some clever words. How much politics has changed :(

Politics these days reminds me more of ancient Greek ampitheatre more than what happened at the Athenian Acropolis. Socratic method is dead. :( Although the man himself never wrote: discourse reveals truth , error and and true policy in itself. Plato wrote his words....

Back to Henry Wootton then....


His more famous words, although I cannot find them printed anywhere.


‘An ambassador is a good man sent abroad to lie for his country.’


A letter he wrote in 1638 to John Milton.

When John Milton was going to visit Italy in the 1630s, Sir Henry Wootton, who had been ambassador to Venice, told him his motto should be 'i pensieri stretti & il viso sciolto' transcribed as 'closed thoughts and an open face'. Wootton added 'smile at everyone, and don't tell them what you're thinking.'

  The Copy of a Letter Writt'n
    By Sir Henry Wootton,
      To the Author, upon the
        following Poem
    From the Colledge, this 13. of April, 1638.

It was a special favour, when you lately bestowed upon me here, the first taste of your acquaintance, though no longer then to make me know that I wanted more time to value it, and to enjoy it rightly; and in truth, if I could then have imagined your farther stay in these parts, which I understood afterwards by Mr. H., I would have been bold in our vulgar phrase to mend my draught (for you left me with an extreme thirst) and to have begged your conversation again, joyntly with your said learned Friend, at a poor meal or two, that we might have banded together som good Authors of the antient time: Among which, I observed you to have been familiar.

      Since your going, you have charg'd me with new Obligations, both for a very kind
    Letter from you dated the sixth of this Month, and for a dainty peece of entertainment which came therwith. Wherin I should much commend the Tragical part, if the Lyrical did not ravish me with a certain Dorique delicacy in your Songs and Odes, wherunto I must plainly confess to have seen yet nothing parallel in our Language: Ipsa mollities. But I must not omit to tell you, that I now onely owe you thanks for intimating unto me (how modestly soever) the true Artificer. For the work it self, I had view'd som good while before, with singular delight, having receiv'd it from our common Friend Mr. R. in the very close of the late R's Poems, Printed at Oxford, wherunto it was added (as I now suppose) that the Accessory might help out the Principal, according to the Art of Stationers, and to leave the Reader Con la bocca dolce.
      Now Sir, concerning your travels, wherin I may chalenge a little more priviledge
    of Discours with you; I suppose you will not blanch Paris in your way; therfore I have been bold to trouble you with a few lines to Mr. M. B. whom you shall easily find attending the young Lord S. as his Governour, and you may surely receive from him good directions for the shaping of your farther journey into Italy, where he did reside by my choice som time for the King, after my own recess from Venice.
      I should think that your best Line will be thorow the whole length of France to
    Marseilles, and thence by Sea to Genoa, whence the passage into Tuscany is as Diurnal as a Graveshend Barge: I hasten as you do to Florence, or Siena, the rather to tell you a short story from the interest you have given me in your safety.
      At Siena I was tabled in the House of one Alberto Scipioni an old Roman
    Courtier in dangerous times, having bin Steward to the Duca di Pagiano, who with all his Family were strangled, save this onely man that escap'd by foresight of the Tempest: With him I had often much chat of those affairs; Into which he often took pleasure to look back from his Native Harbour; and at my departure toward Rome (which had been the center of his experience) I had wonn confidence enough to beg his advice, how I might carry my self securely there, without offence of others, or of mine own conscience. Signor Arrigo mio (sayes he) I pensieri stretti, & il viso sciolto will go safely over the whole World: Of which Delphian Oracle (for so I have found it) your judgement doth need no commentary; and therfore (Sir) I will commit you with it to the best of all securities, Gods dear love, remaining
      Your Friend as much at command
        as any of longer date
          Henry Wootton.

Milton's script....