Who said: "I am monarch of all I survey"?
Apparently the English poet William Cowper (1781-1800) was author of the familiar saying, "I am monarch of all I survey," in that particular verbal garb. In 1782 Cowper published his first volume of verse. It contained a poem entitled Verses supposed to be written by Alexander Selkirk
I am monarch of all I survey, Selkirk was the Scotch seaman who lived alone for more than four years on one of the Juan Fernández islands in the Pacific and whose experiences supplied much of the raw material for the first part of Defoe's Robinson Crusoe. The idea expressed by "I am monarch
of all I survey" is ancient. Lucius Seneca, who lived in the days of the first Caesars, expressed it in his Letters to Lucilius, a collection of maxims and moral observations, one sentence in which may be roughly translated: "It is superior to all, the lord of all it surveys." Cowper was author of another famous quotation. In his Light Shining Out of Darkness occurs:
My right there is none to dispute:
From the center of all round to the sea
I am lord of the fowl and the brute.
Other oft-quoted lines of Cowper's are from The Task (1785):
God moves in a mysterious way
His wonders to perform;
He plants his footsteps in the sea
And rides upon the storm.
I would not enter on my list of friends,
(Though graced with polish'd manners and fine sense,
Yet wanting sensibility), the man
who needlessly sets foot upon a worm.