The lines given for explanation are an extract from the poem entitled The Man of Life Upright, written by Thomas Campion.
About the poet
Thomas Campion was a poet who led English poetry and music to supreme heights. He used the normal forms of simultaneous verses with spectacular skill and modesty. The most admirable pieces of his poetry are those sonnets, which he set to his own music.
About the Poem
The Man of Life Upright is a sermonic piece of writing that sheds lights on the prominent visages of the character of a person who leads a life of honour, nobility and righteousness. He possesses a pure heart clear from sinful thoughts and wicked ideas. He never deviates from the path of honesty and never falls prey to the false pride. He is self-sufficient and does not fall into the trap of deceptive hopes. He is courageous and confident enough to encounter all the miseries.
The man of life upright ——— Or thought of vanity
In this stanza the poet says that an upright man leads an honourable and honest life. His mind is free from evil thoughts and his heart is free from ill-feelings and false hopes. He is an humble person and has no thought of vanity. He has peace of mind and peace of heart. He is not a discontented person because
“Discontent is the want of self-reliance; it is infirmity of will.”
An upright man never lacks in self-reliance. Therefore, he leads a bappy and contented life. His life is simple because he is not an ambitious person. That is why he leads a pious life and never thinks of committing crimes and sins.
In other words the poet wants to convince us that honesty is the best policy and if we want to lead a pleasant and contented life, we must not deviate from the path of honesty. No doubt honesty gives us real and spiritual pleasure.
The man whose silent days ——— Nor sorrow discontent:
An honest man leads a peaceful and contented life and does not harm anyone. He is not an ambitious person. Therefore, he does not cherish false hopes and that is why false hopes can’t deceive him. As he has got no high expectation in life, so sorrow and grief cannot discontent or dishearten him. He does not give pain to others; he does not torture and agonize others. He remains happy because of the fact that he leads a life free from dishonest deeds and free from sins.
In other words, the poet wants to convince us that we must not cherish false hopes and must not torture others if we want to spend a peaceful, contented and care-free life.
The man needs neither towers——–From thunder’s violence
An upright man leads a pious life. So, he is not afraid of anyone. Honesty makes a person bold and courageous. That is why he neither needs any fortress or any armour to defend him. He does not feel the need of secret vaults to protect himself from any kind of danger. Thus an honest man leads a carefree and peaceful life.
In other words, the poet wants to say that if we follow the path of honesty, we need not to be afraid of any one because of honesty is the best weapon which can provide us protection against all kinds of evils.
He only can behold ————– And terrors of skies
In these lines, the poet says that only an upright man can face the difficulties and hardships of life, boldly and courageously. It is rightly said:
“An honest man possesses a stout heart.”
He is not afraid of anyone and is prepared to face all kinds of dangers. He can face the horrors and terrors of the skies fearlessly because of the fact that such a person is not afraid of death. Fear of death makes a person coward and he cannot face any one and he cannot tackle any difficult situation with confidence.
In this thought-provoking stanza the poet wants to say that honesty makes a person brave and bold. He has peace of mind and peace of heart. Therefore, he can deliberate and plan to tackle any difficult situation. He does not tremble and shiver in the face of hardships and clematis. No doubt honesty gives spiritual confidence and strength to an honest and upright man. So, for the attainment of spiritual confidence and strength it is imperative that we must follow the path of honesty.
Thus, scorning all the cares —————– His wisdom heavenly things,
An honest man is spiritually happy. So, he hates all those cares and worries which the fate or fortune brings. Difficulties and hardships there in the life of an honest man but he does not care as he believes that these difficulties and hardships will come to an end with the passage of time. He bears the troubles and misfortunes patiently. He looks upon the heaven for guidance help. He makes the heaven his book and learns the lesson of wisdom from heavenly things. Thus an honest man spend his time in useful activities.
In other words the poet wants to convince us that only an hones man can adopt a positive and optimistic attitude towards life. As he possesses spiritual confidence and strength. He knows that cares and worries are the parts of life and one must not be disappointed and disheartened by them. Beyond any shadow of doubt the life of an honest man is enviable and we must endeavour to lead an honest life.
Good thoughts his only friends ——– And quite pilgrimage.
An honest man looks upon the world as an inn where he has come into the world for a brief sojourn and to spend a life free from sins. His pious and sinless life is his wealth. He strongly believes that he has come into this world for the adoration of God Almighty and to lead a sinless life. He believes that this world is a Vanity Fair. Therefore, he is never deceived by the glamour of the world and he never deviates from the path of honesty, integrity, and righteousness.
In this stanza the poet stresses moral values and has drawn the attention of the people to the realities of the world. By the describing the qualities of an honest man he wants to convince the people that honesty is the best policy and those who are honest and upright have peace of mind and peace of heart. There is no vacuum in the life an honest man. He has spiritual pleasure, which is the asset of life.