I started reading these poems several weeks ago and came across a poem that startled me, not because of the poetry, but because of the similarity this poem, written by Sir Edward Dyer, England 1545 (?)-1607, was to a poem my Grandfather, James Frazer Sr. wrote in 1948.
I found it quite amazing that these poems were so similarly written by men who lived worlds that are time and distance apart.
For me, it is an encouragement because it means that no matter what trials we go through as a human race, and how bad it gets, there are still men and women who cherish the simple things a simple life gives.
Thank you Grandpa Frazer, thank you Sir Edward Dyer, and thank you, Edwin Markham.
If I Were King
James Frazer Sr. 1948
If I had a little Kingdom,
And the walls of it were gold,
All my subjects nice and handsome,
And my knights were brave and bold;
If I had a small domain
Where the rivers gently flow,
And the vales and hilltops wonder
As in thoughts we'd like to know,
I would stand and dream forever
Of a life of content,
Of eternal joy and happiness
Of a life as King well spent.
But I have a little Kingdom
And I am in life a King,
I have my knights and subjects,
And I have most anything.
And my small empire has wonders
As of rivers and of hills,
And my servants' joy as subjects
Fill the air with love and thrills.
They forever have their freedom
And the share of what they bring,
In the little tiny Kingdom
In the land of which I'm King.
There're no taxes to be gathered
And no tribute to be paid,
There're no dungeons to be feared of
There's no death to be afraid.
There're no intrigues in my Realm
To conspire on anything,
No reprisals to be given
No attempt to down their King.
King and Queen and subjects gather
'Round the table as in court,
They discuss their plans together
And to battle they go forth.
I'm a King in all its glory
And my home my Kingdom is,
Knights and subjects are my children
Full of happiness and bliss.
Happy home a Kingdom ever
Every man a King would be,
If your subjects never never
Raise their hands to fall on thee.
My Mind to Me a Kingdom Is
Sir Edward Dyer
England 1545 (?)-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,
Yet still my mind forbids to crave.
No princely pomp, no wealthy store,
No force to win a victory,
No wily wit to salve a sore,
No shape to feed a loving eye –
To none of these I yield as thrall (slave)
For why? My mind doth serve for all.
See how plenty surfeits (excess) oft (often),
And hasty climbers soon do fall.
I see that those which are aloft
Mishap (misfortune) doth (does) 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 (satisfy);
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 pain;
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 their rage of will,
Their treasure is their only trust,
A cloakèd (not sure) 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 choice defense.
I neither seek by bribes to please,
Nor by deceit to breed offence,
Thus do I live, thus will I die:
Would all did so, as well as I!