Charles Mackay

(1814-1889 / Scotland)

Said I To Myself, Said I - Poem by Charles Mackay

I'm poor and quite unknown,
I have neither fame nor rank;
My labour is all I own,
I have no gold at the bank;
I'm one of the common crowd,
Despised of the passers-by,
Contemn'd of the rich and proud
Said I to myself, said I.

I want, and I cannot obtain,
The luxuries of the earth;
My raiment is scant and plain,
And I live in the fear of dearth;
While others can laugh or sing,
I have ever some cause to sigh;
I'm a weary wanderling
Said I to myself, said I.

But is this grieving just?
Is it wise to fret and wail?
Is it right, thou speck of dust,
Thine envy should prevail?
Is it fitting thou shouldst close
Thy sight to the sunny sky,
And an utter dark suppose?
Said I to myself, said I.

If poor, thou hast thy health;
If humble, thou art strong;
And the lark, that knows not wealth,
Ever sings a happy song.
The flowers rejoice in the air,
And give thy needs the lie;
Thou'rt a fool to foster cave,
Said I to myself, said I.

If the wants of thy pride be great,
The needs of thy health are small,
And the world is the man's estate
Who can wisely enjoy it all.
For him is the landscape spread,
For him do the breezes ply,
For him is the day-beam shed
Said I to myself, said I.

For him are the oceans roll'd,
For him do the rivers run,
For him doth the year unfold
Her bounties to the sun;
For him, if his heart be pure,
Shall common things supply
All pleasures that endure
Said I to myself, said I.

For him each blade of grass
Waves pleasure as it grows;
For him, as the light clouds pass,
A spirit of beauty flows;
For him, as the streamlets leap,
Or the winds on the tree-tops sigh,
Comes a music sweet and deep
Said I to myself, said I.

Nor of earth are his joys alone,
How mean soever his state-
On him from the starry zone
His ministering angels wait;
With him in voiceless thought
They hold communion high;
By them are his fancies fraught
Said I to myself, said I.

I will mould my life afresh,
I will circumscribe desire;
Farewell to ye, griefs of flesh!
And let my soul aspire.
I will make my wishes few,
That my joys may multiply;
Adieu, false wants, adieu!
Said I to myself, said I.


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Poem Submitted: Friday, October 19, 2012



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