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Charles Mackay

The Miller of the Dee

There dwelt a miller, hale and bold,

Beside the river Dee;

He worked and sang from morn till night—

No lark more blithe than he;

And this the burden of his song

Forever used to be:

"I envy nobody—no, not I—

And nobody envies me!"


"Thou'rt wrong, my friend," said good King Hal,

"As wrong as wrong can be;

For could my heart be light as thine,

I'd gladly change with thee.

And tell me now, what makes thee sing,

With voice so loud and free,

While I am sad, though I'm a king,

Beside the river Dee?"


The miller smiled, and doffed his cap,

"I earn my bread," quoth he;

"I love my wife, I love my friend,

I love my children three;

I owe no penny I cannot pay,

I thank the river Dee

That turns the mill that grinds the corn

That feeds my babes and me."


"Good friend," said Hal, and sighed the while,

"Farewell, and happy be;

But say no more, if thou'dst be true,

That no one envies thee;

Thy mealy cap is worth my crown,

Thy mill my kingdom's fee;

Such men as thou are England's boast,

O miller of the Dee!"