Verse > Anthologies > T. H. Ward, ed. > The English Poets > Vol. I. Chaucer to Donne
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Thomas Humphry Ward, ed.  The English Poets.  1880–1918.
Vol. I. Early Poetry: Chaucer to Donne
 
My Mind to Me a Kingdom Is
By Sir Edward Dyer (1543–1607)
 
MY 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 which most would have,        5
Yet 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 to 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 pain;
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 cloaked 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!
 
 
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