Sir Edward Dyer

(1540 - 1607 / England)

My Mind to me a Kingdom is


My mind to me a kingdom is;
Such perfect joy therein I find
That it excels all other bliss
Which God or nature hath assign'd.
Though much I want that most would have,
Yet still my mind forbids to crave.

No princely port, nor wealthy store,
No force to win a victory,
No wily wit to salve a sore,
No shape to win a loving eye;
To none of these I yield as thrall,--
For why? my mind despise them all.

I see that plenty surfeit oft,
And hasty climbers soonest fall;
I see that such as are aloft
Mishap doth threaten most of all.
These get with toil and keep with fear;
Such cares my mind can never bear.

I press to bear no haughty sway,
I wish no more than may suffice,
I do no more than well I may,
Look, what I want my mind supplies.
Lo ! thus I triumph like a king,
My mind content with anything.

I laugh not at another's loss,
Nor grudge not at another's gain;
No worldly waves my mind can toss;
I brook that is another's bane.
I fear no foe, nor fawn on friend,
I loathe not life, nor dread mine end.

My wealth is health and perfect ease,
And conscience clear my chief defence;
I never seek by bribes to please,
Nor by desert to give offence.
Thus do I live, thus will I die,--
Would all did so as well as I!

Submitted: Thursday, January 01, 2004

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  • Michael Cullinan (4/30/2010 5:20:00 AM)

    Others may enjoy an exquisite musical setting of this poem, sung by Emma Kirkby with accompaniment provided by the viol consort Fretwork. It can be heard on Spotify (search 'Fretwork'.) (Report) Reply

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