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Short poem

Sir Edward Dyer (1543-1607)

My Mind to me a Kingdom Is

              1My mind to me a kingdom is;
              2      Such perfect joy therein I find
              3That it excels all other bliss
              4      Which God or nature hath assign'd.
              5Though much I want that most would have,
              6Yet still my mind forbids to crave.

              7No princely port, nor wealthy store,
              8      No force to win a victory,
              9No wily wit to salve a sore,
            10      No shape to win a loving eye;
            11To none of these I yield as thrall,--
            12For why? my mind despise them all.

            13I see that plenty surfeit oft,
            14      And hasty climbers soonest fall;
            15I see that such as are aloft
            16      Mishap doth threaten most of all.
            17These get with toil and keep with fear;
            18Such cares my mind can never bear.

            19I press to bear no haughty sway,
            20      I wish no more than may suffice,
            21I do no more than well I may,
            22      Look, what I want my mind supplies.
            23Lo ! thus I triumph like a king,
            24My mind content with anything.

            25I laugh not at another's loss,
            26      Nor grudge not at another's gain;
            27No worldly waves my mind can toss;
            28      I brook that is another's bane.
            29I fear no foe, nor fawn on friend,
            30I loathe not life, nor dread mine end.

            31My wealth is health and perfect ease,
            32      And conscience clear my chief defence;
            33I never seek by bribes to please,
            34      Nor by desert to give offence.
            35Thus do I live, thus will I die,--
            36Would all did so as well as I!


1] First published in W. Byrd's Psalms Sonnets and Songs, 1588; also issued as a broadside ballad. A manuscript version contains two additional stanzas.

Online text copyright © 2003, Ian Lancashire for the Department of English, University of Toronto.
Published by the Web Development Group, Information Technology Services, University of Toronto Libraries.

Original text: William Byrd, Psalmes, sonets, |&| and songs of sadnes and pietie, made into musicke of fiue parts (London: T. East, 1588). STC 4253.
First publication date: 1588
RPO poem editor: F. D. Hoeniger
RP edition: 3RP 1.147-48.
Recent editing: 2:2002/2/28

Rhyme: ababcc

Other poems by Sir Edward Dyer