Wednesday, February 19, 2014


The Quiet Mind

William Byrd, Psalmes, Sonets, & Songs of Sadnes and Pietie (1588), no. xi, in English Madrigal Verse 1588-1632, ed. E.H. Fellowes, 2nd ed. (1929; rpt. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1950), p. 34 (attributed to Edward Dyer):
I joy not in no earthly bliss;
   I force not Croesus' wealth a straw;
For care I know not what it is;
   I fear not Fortune's fatal law.
My mind is such as may not move
For beauty bright, nor 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, nor fear no rich,
I feel no want, nor have too much.

The court and cart I like nor loathe;
   Extremes are counted worst of all;
The golden mean between them both
   Doth surest sit and fear no fall.
This is my choice; forwhy I find
No wealth is like the quiet mind.
2 force: Oxford English Dictionary, s.v. force, v.1, sense 14.a: "Chiefly in negative sentences...To attach force or importance to; to care for, regard; often with a strengthening phrase, as a bean, a pin, a straw."

Note the preponderance of monosyllabic words (only one disyllabic word among the forty-seven words of the third stanza).

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