Verse > Anthologies > William Stanley Braithwaite, ed. > The Book of Elizabethan Verse
  PREVIOUSNEXT  
CONTENTS · GLOSSARY · BIBLIOGRAPHIC RECORD
William Stanley Braithwaite, ed.  The Book of Elizabethan Verse.  1907.
 
My Mind a Kingdom
By Sir Edward Dyer (1543–1607)
 
MY 1 mind to me a kingdom is;
  Such present joys therein I find,
That it excels all other bliss
  That earth affords or grows by kind:
Though much I want that most would have,        5
Yes still my mind forbids to crave.
 
No princely pomp, no wealthy store,
  No force to win the victory,
No wily wit to salve a sore,
  No shape to feed a loving eye;        10
To none of these I yield as thrall;
For why? my mind doth serve for all.
 
I see how plenty surfeits oft,
  And hasty climbers soon do fall;
I see that those which are aloft        15
  Mishap doth threaten most of all:
They get with toil, they keep with fear:
Such cares my mind could never bear.
 
Content I live, this is my stay;
  I seek no more than may suffice;        20
I press to bear no haughty sway;
  Look, what I lack my mind supplies.
Lo, thus I triumph like a king,
Content with that my mind doth bring.
 
Some have too much, yet still do crave;        25
  I little have, and seek no more.
They are but poor, though much they have,
  And I am rich with little store;
They poor, I rich; they beg, I give;
They lack, I leave; they pine, I live.        30
 
I laugh not at another’s loss,
  I grudge not at another’s gain;
No worldly waves my mind can toss;
  My state at one doth still remain:
I fear no foe, I fawn no friend;        35
I loathe not life, nor dread my end.
 
Some weigh their pleasure by their lust,
  Their wisdom by their rage of will;
Their treasure is their only trust,
  A cloakèd craft their store of skill        40
But all the pleasure that I find
Is to maintain a quiet mind.
 
My wealth is health and perfect ease,
  My conscience clear my chief defence;
I neither seek by bribes to please,        45
  Nor by deceit to breed offence:
Thus do I live; thus will I die;
Would all did so as well as I!
 
Note 1. Jonson alludes to this poem in his play, Every Man out of his Humour, acted 1599, act i. sc. 1. It was printed from Rawlinson MS. 85, p. 17, by Dr. Hannah in his Courtly Poets, 1870. Other copies, longer and anonymous, have been printed from various sources, including Percy. Sylvester, imitated it; Works, p. 651. [back]
 
 
CONTENTS · GLOSSARY · BIBLIOGRAPHIC RECORD
  PREVIOUSNEXT  
 
Loading
Click here to shop the Bartleby Bookstore.

Shakespeare · Bible · Strunk · Anatomy · Nonfiction · Quotations · Reference · Fiction · Poetry
© 1993–2014 Bartleby.com · [Top 150] · Subjects · Titles · Authors