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Wednesday, 9 September 2015

Sir Edward Dyer (or Edward de Vere?): Contentment; Somerset and Dorset Literary Links; A Mystery.

Sir Edward Dyer was born in Somerset (Sharpham Park, Glastonbury, 1543).

In "Highways and Byways in Somerset" (revised edition, 1955), Edward Hutton makes much of Sir Edward Dyer's "most famous poem" and writes that "here in Somerset we should not forget it for it is in praise of contentment"

This is a version of the first verse from the poem "My mind to me a kingdom is" (with significant variations from the version published by Hutton):

 "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"

Hutton's version:

"My mind to me a kingdom is;
    Such perfect joy therein I find,
As far exceeds all earthly bliss
    That world affords, or grows by kind;
Though much I want what most men have,
Yet doth my mind forbid me crave"

Another, more accurate, version:

"My mynde to me a kingdome is,
such perfect ioye therin I finde
That it excells all other blisse,
that world affordes or growes by kinde
Thoughe muche I want which most men have
yet still my mynde forbids to crave..."

The poem was set to music by William Byrd. 

The Authorship of 'My Mind to Me a Kingdom Is'
Steven W. May
The Review of English Studies
New Series, Vol. 26, No. 104 (Nov., 1975), pp. 385-394
Published by: Oxford University Press

Various interpretations on YouTube:

My mind to me a kingdom is (arr. R. Andrico and D. Stewart)

Emma Kirkby

If the real author of the poem had no links with Somerset, at least we can be contented that Dame Emma Kirky DBE does have strong links with Sherborne, Dorset. She attended Sherborne School for Girls.

And Sir Thomas Wyatt was buried in a chapel vault in Sherborne Abbey! Or was he? Update.

Does that content you?

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