Gateway to the Classics: Display Item
Sara Cone Bryant

My Kingdom

The little Louisa I told you about, who wrote verses and stories in her diary, used to like to play that she was a princess, and that her kingdom was her own mind. When she had unkind or dissatisfied thoughts, she tried to get rid of them by playing they were enemies of the kingdom; and she drove them out with soldiers; the soldiers were patience, duty, and love. It used to help Louisa to be good to play this, and I think it may have helped make her the splendid woman she was afterward. Maybe you would like to hear a poem she wrote about it, when she was only fourteen years old. It will help you, too, to think the same thoughts.

A little kingdom I possess,

Where thoughts and feelings dwell,

And very hard I find the task

Of governing it well;

For passion tempts and troubles me,

A wayward will misleads,

And selfishness its shadow casts

On all my words and deeds.

How can I learn to rule myself,

To be the child I should,

Honest and brave, nor ever tire

Of trying to be good?

How can I keep a sunny soul

To shine along life's way?

How can I tune my little heart

To sweetly sing all day?

Dear Father, help me with the love

That casteth out my fear,

Teach me to lean on thee, and feel

That thou art very near,

That no temptation is unseen,

No childish grief too small,

Since thou, with patience infinite,

Doth soothe and comfort all.

I do not ask for any crown

But that which all may win,

Nor seek to conquer any world,

Except the one within.

Be thou my guide until I find,

Led by a tender hand,

Thy happy kingdom in myself,

And dare to take command.