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Saturday, 1 May 2021

My Mind To Me A Kingdom Is by Sir Edward Dyer or somebody

 My mind to me a kingdom is was published in 1588, so we know it was written before that, even if people are still arguing about who wrote it. 

Until fairly recently it was thought to be the work of Sir Edward Dyer, but now there are those who claim it for Edward de Vere, Earl of Oxford (in which case it must have been dashed off in a spare moment snatched from writing the complete works of Shakespeare, sucking up to Queen Elizabeth I, and earling Oxford).

Still, whoever wrote it seems to have been a happy man - there was even a ballad version published of the poem, so if you'd wanted you could have sung your joy to the world. 

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!

 

Mind you, full of good sense as it is, the poet doesn't entirely escape the suspicion of being a bit of a smug git, does he.

 

Or perhaps even that is part of the fun.

 

Word To Use Today: surfeit. A surfeit is too much of something. It's said that King John died of a surfeit of lampreys and peaches.  The French surfaire means to overdo . The sur- bit means over, and the Latin facere means to do.


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