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The golden stars are whirl'd amid their race,
And on the earth did laugh with twinkling light
When each thing rested in his nesting place,
Forgat day's pain with pleasure of the night,
The hare had not the greedy hounds in sight,
The fearful deer of death stood not in doubt,
The partridge dreamt not of the falcon's foot.

The ugly bear now mindeth not the stake,
Nor how the cruel mastiffs do him tear;
The stag lay still unrouséd from the brake,
The foaming boar fear'd not the hunter's spear.
All things were still in desert, bush, and brear;
With quiet heart now from their travails blest
Soundly they slept in midst of all their rest.


His face was lean, and some deal pined away,
And eke his hands consumed to the bone;
But what his body was I cannot say,

For on his carcase raiment had he none,
Save clouts and patches piecéd one by one;
With staff in hand, and scrip on shoulders cast,
His chief defence against the winter's blast.

His food for most was wild fruits of the tree,
Unless sometimes some crumbs fell to his share,
Which in his wallet long, God wot, kept he,

As on the which full daintily would he fare. His drink the running stream; his cup the bare Of his palm closed; his bed the hard cold ground. To this poor life was Misery ybound.


By him lay heavy sleep, the cousin of death,
Flat on the ground, and still as any stone,
A very corpse save yielding forth a breath.
Small kepe took he whom Fortune frownéd on,
Or whom she lifted up into the throne
Of high renown; but as a living death
So dead alive, of life he drew the breath.


And next in order sad old age we found,

His beard all hoar, his eyes hollow and blind, With drooping cheer still poring on the ground As on the place where nature him assigned

To rest, when that the sisters had untwined His vital thread. and ended with their knife The fleeting course of fast declining life.

Crook-backed he was, tooth-shaken, and blear-eyed,
Went on three feet, and sometives crept on four,
With old lame bones, that rattled by his side,
His scalp all piled, and he with elde forlore:
His withered fist still knocking at death's door,
Tumbling and drivelling as he draws his breath
For brief, the shape and messenger of death.


My mind to me a kingdom is;

Such perfect joy therein I find,

As far exceeds all earthly bliss,

That God or nature hath assign'd.

Though much I want that most would have,
Yet still my mind forbids to crave.

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.

This celebrated song is printed in several collections of Poems published to the sixteenth century. There are many variations in each of the copies. The following version is that given by Ritson in his English Songs:' with the exception of the last stanza, which is from a manuscript in the Bodleian Library at Oxford. In that manuscript the poem is ascribed to Sir Edward Dyer, a friend of Sir Philip Sydney.

I see how plenty surfeits oft,

And hasty climbers soonest fall; I see that such as sit aloft

Mishap doth threaten most of all:
These get with toil, and keep with fear;
Such cares my mind could never bear.

No princely pomp nor wealthy store,
No force to win a victory:

No wily wit to salve a sore,

No shape to win a lover's eye: o none of these I yield as thrall; For why? my mind despiseth all.

Some have too much, yet still they crave,
I little have, yet 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 lend; they pine, I live.
I laugh not at another's loss,

I grudge not at another's gain,
No worldly wave my mind can toss,

I brook that is another's bane:
I fear no foe, nor fawn on friend-
I loath not life, nor dread mine end.

My wealth is health and perfect ease,

My 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.

I joy not in no earthly bliss,

I weigh not Croesus' wealth a straw For care, I care not what it is

I fear not fortune's fatal law:

My mind is such, as may not move
For beauty bright, or force of love


I wish but what I have at will,
I wander not to seek for more;
I like the plain, I climb no hill;

In greatest storms I sit on shore,
And laugh at them that toil in vain
To get what must be lost again.

I kiss not where I wish to kill,

I feign not love where most I hate;
I break no sleep to win my will,

I wait not at the mighty's gate,
I scorn no poor, I fear no rich-
I feel no want, nor have too much.
Some weigh their pleasures by their lust:
Their wisdom by their 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.



LEIC. Be patient, good my Lord, cease to lament, Imagine Killingworth castle were your court, And that you lay for pleasure here a space, Not for compulsion or necessity.

ED. Leicester, if gentle words might comfort me, Thy speeches long ago had eas'd my sorrows; For kind and loving hast thou always been. The griefs of private men are soon allay'd, But not of kings. The forest deer, being struck, Runs to an herb that closeth up the wounds; But, when the imperial lion's flesh is gor'd, He rends and tears it with his wrathful paw, And highly scorning that the lowly earth Should drink his blood, mounts up into the air. And so it fares with me, whose dauntless mind Th' ambitious Mortimer would seek to curb, And that unnatural queen, false Isabel,

That thus hath pent and mew'd me in a prison:
For such outrageous passions cloy my soul,
As with the wings of rancour and disdain,
Full often am I soaring up t' high heav'n,
To plain me to the gods against them both.
But when I call to mind I am a king,
Methinks I should revenge me of the wrongs
That Mortimer and Isabel have done.
But what are kings, when regiment is gone,
But perfect shadows in a sun-shine day?
My nobles rule; I bear the name of king:
I wear the crown, but am controul'd by them,
By Mortimer and my unconstant queen,
Who spots my nuptial bed with infamy :
Whilst I am lodg'd within this cave of care,
Where sorrow at my elbow still attends,
To company my heart with sad laments,
That bleeds within me for this sad exchange.
But tell me, must I now resign my crown,
To make usurping Mortimer a king?

WIN. Your grace mistakes, it is for England's good,
And princely Edward's right, we crave the crown.
ED. No, 'tis for Mortimer not Edward's head;
For he's a lamb encompassed by wolves,
Which in a moment will abridge his life.
But, if proud Mortimer do wear this crow,
Heav'n turn it to a blaze of quenchless fire!
Or, like the snaky wreath of Tisiphone,
Engirt the temples of his hateful head;
So shall not England's vine be perished,

But Edward's name survive though Edward dies.


ED. Who's there? What light is that? Wherefore [com'st thou ? LIGHT. To comfort you, and bring you joyful news. ED. Small comfort finds poor Edward in thy looks. Villain, I know thou com'st to murder me.

LIGHT. To murder you, my most gracious lord! Far is it from my heart to do you harm.


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