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Kingdom of the Mind

From the Omaha Daily Bee, March 30, 1914. By Sir Edward Dyer (1540-1607).

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 that most would have,
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;
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
    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;
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;
    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.

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;
I loathe not life, nor dread my end.

Some weigh their pleasure by their lust,
    Their wisdom by the rage of will;
Their treasure is their only trust,
    A cloaked craft their store of skill;
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 defense;
I neither seek by bribes to please,
    Nor by deceit to breed offense;
Thus do I live; thus will I die;
Would all did so as well as I!

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