Sir Henry Wotton served as English ambassador to Venice during the reign of James I. He had declined the offer of Paris – then as now a coveted diplomatic appointment – on the grounds that it would be ruinously expensive. He famously defined an ambassador as an “honest man sent abroad to lie for the good of his country” (Legatus est vir bonus peregre missus ad mentiendum rei publicae causa). He was one of the most cultured and well-travelled men of the age. Like many of his peers he often turned his hand to poetry. Here is an inspiring if optimistic example.