A Philosophical Poem of Four Centuries Ago
Sir Edward Dyer
An Editorial Note:
Sir Edward Dyer (1543-1607) was an
English courtier and poet whose reputation
- according to the “Encyclopaedia Britannica”
(1967) - “rests on a small number of certainly
ascribed lyrics of great dexterity and sweetness”.
It is said that Sir Edward was an alchemist.
In her book “The Rosicrucian Enlightenment”,
Chapter III, Ms. Frances Yates says he was a
disciple of Jon Dee’s. A well-known occultist, John
Dee is mentioned in “The Mahatma Letters”, Letter 1.
For four centuries now, “My Mind to Me a Kingdom Is”
has been the best known of Sir Edward Dyer’s poems.
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!
- Sir Edward Dyer
The above poem is reproduced from “A Book of English Poetry”, Collected by G.B. Harrison, Penguin Books, 1950, 416 pp., see pp. 53-54.
On the role of the esoteric movement in the ethical awakening of mankind during the 21st century, see the book “The Fire and Light of Theosophical Literature”, by Carlos Cardoso Aveline.
Published in 2013 by The Aquarian Theosophist, the volume has 255 pages and can be obtained through Amazon Books.