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They Flee From Me That Sometime Did Me Seek

    The Lover Showeth How He Is Forsaken of Such as He Sometimes Enjoyed

    THEY flee from me that sometime did me seek,
       With naked foot stalking in my chamber.
    I have seen them gentle tame and meek
       That now are wild and do not remember
       That sometime they put themselves in danger
    To take bread at my hand; and now they range
    Busily seeking with a continual change.

    Thanked be fortune, it hath been otherwise
       Twenty times better; but once in special,
    In thin array after a pleasant guise,
       When her loose gown did from her shoulders did fall,
       And she me caught in her arms long and small*;            {slender}
    And Therewithall sweetly did me kiss,
    And softly said, "Dear heart, how like you this?"

    It was no dream, I lay broad waking*.;            {wide awake}
       But all is turned thorough my gentleness
    Into a strange fashion of forsaking;
       And I have leave to go of her goodness
       And she also to use newfangleness.
    But since that I so kindly am served,
    I would fain know what she hath deserved.

    Sir Thomas Wyatt     from the Egerton Manuscript

The Long Love, That in My Thought Doth Harbour

    Translated from Petrarch #140

    THE long* love that in my thought doth harbour,            [enduring]
       And in mine heart doth keep his residence,
       Into my face presseth with bold pretence,
       And therein campeth, spreading his banner.
    She that me learneth to love and suffer,
       And wills that my trust and lust's negligence
       Be reined by reason, shame, and reverence,
       With his hardiness taketh displeasure.
    Wherewithal, unto the heart's forest he fleeth,
       Leaving his enterprise with pain and cry;
       And there him hideth, and not appeareth.
    What may I do when my master feareth
       But in the field with him to live or die?
       For good is the life, ending faithfully.

    Sir Thomas Wyatt     from the Egerton Manuscript

Whoso List to Hunt

    [Editor's Notes: List = like; The 'hind' in this poem is believed to be Anne Boelyn, whom Wyatt may ghave been in love with, but who was mistress - and later wife - of the jealous and rather vindictive King Henry VIII; - hence Wyatt acknowledges she is 'owned' by 'Caesar' (the King) and out of his reach. cf. 'Ye Old Mule' below. --Steve]

    Taken Partly from Petrarch #140

    WHOSO list to hunt, I know where is an hind,           [doe]

       But as for me, alas! I may no more:           [alas]
       The vain travail hath worried me so sore,
       I am of them that farthest cometh behind;
    Yet may I by no means my wearied mind
       Draw from the deer: but as she fleeth afore,
    Fainting I follow. I leave off therefore,
       Since in a net I seek to hold the wind.
    Who list her hunt, I put him out of doubt,
       As well as I may spend his time in vain;
       And, graven in diamonds, in letters plain
    There is written her fair neck round about:
       "Noli me tangere,"* for Caesar's I am,           [touch me not]
       And wild to hold, though I seem tame."

    Sir Thomas Wyatt     from the Egerton Manuscript

My Galley Chargèd with Forgetfulness

    Translated from Petrarch #189

    MY galley chargèd* with forgetfulness           {filled}
       Thorough sharp seas in winter nights doth pass
       'Tween rock and rock; and eke* mine enemy, alas,           {also}
       That is my lord, steereth with cruelness;
    And every oar a thought in readiness,
       As though that death were light in such a case.
       An endless wind doth tear the sail apace
       Of forcèd sighs and trusty fearfulness.
    A rain of tears, a cloud of dark disdain,
       Hath done the wearied cords great hindrance,
       Wreathèd with error and eke* with ignorance.           {also}
    The stars* be hid that led me to this pain,           {lady's eyes}
       Drownèd is reason that should me consort,
       And I remain despairing of the port.

    Sir Thomas Wyatt     from the Egerton Manuscript

Forget Not Yet

    FORGET not yet the tried intent
    Of such a truth as I have meant,
    My great travail so gladly spent
            Forget not yet.

    Forget not yet when first began
    The weary life ye knew, since whan
    The suit, the service, none tell can,
            Forget not yet.

    Forget not yet the great assays*,           {trials, tests}
    The cruel wrongs, the scornful ways,
    The painful patience in denays,
            Forget not yet.

    Forget not yet, forget not this,
    How long ago hath been and is
    The mind that never meant amiss,
            Forget not yet.

    Forget not yet thine own approved,
    The which so long hath thee so loved,
    Whose steadfast faith yet never moved,
            Forget not this.

    Sir Thomas Wyatt     from the Devonshire Manuscript

My Lute, Awake

    MY LUTE awake! Perform the last
    Labor that thou and I shall waste,
       And end that I have now begun;
    For when this song is sung and past,
       My lute be still, for I have done.

    As to be heard where ear is none.
    As lead to grave in marble stone,
       My song may pierce her heart as soon;
    Should we then sigh, or sing, or moan?
       No, no, my lute, for I have done.

    The rocks do not so cruelly
    Repulse the waves continually
       As she my suit and affection.
    So that I am past remedy:
       Whereby my lute and I have done.

    Proud of the spoil that thou hast got
    Of simple hearts thorough love's shot*,           {cupid's arrow}
       By whom, unkind, thou hast them won,
    Think not he hath his bow forgot,
       Although my lute and I have done.

    Vengance shall fall on thy disdain,
    That makest but game on earnest pain;
       Think not alone under the sun
    Unquit to cause thy lovers plain,
       Although my lute and I have done.

    Perchance thee lie withered and old,
    The winter nights that are so cold,
       Plaining in vain unto the moon;
    Thy wishes then dare not be told;
       Care then who list*, for I have done.           {likes}

    And then may chance thee to repent
    The time that thou hast lost and spent
       To cause thy lovers sigh and swoon;
    Then shalt thou know beauty but lent,
       And wish and want as I have done.

    Now cease, my lute, this is the last
    Labor that thou and I shall waste,
       And ended is that we begun;
    Now is this song both sung and past:
       My lute be still, for I have done.

    Sir Thomas Wyatt     from the Egerton Manuscript

Farewell, Love

    FAREWELL, Love, and all thy laws forever:
       Thy baited hooks shall tangle me no more;
       Senec and Plato call me from thy lore,
       To perfect wealth my wit for to endeavour.
    In blind error when I did persever,
       Thy sharp repulse, that pricketh ay so sore,
       Hath taught me to set in trifles no store,
       And scape forth, since liberty is lever*.             [desirable]
    Therefore farewell, go trouble younger hearts,
       And in me claim no more authority;
       With idle youth go use thy property,
    And thereon spend thy many brittle darts.
       For, hitherto though I have lost all my time,
       Me lusteth no longer rotten boughs to climb.

    Sir Thomas Wyatt     from the Egerton Manuscript

I Find No Peace

    Taken Partly from Petrarch #90 

    I FIND no peace, and all my war is done;
       I fear, and hope. I burn, and freeze like ice.
       I fly above the wind, yet can I not arise.
       And naught I have, and all the world I seize on.
    That loseth nor locketh holdeth me in prison,
       And holdeth me not, yet can I 'scape nowise;
       Nor letteth me live nor die at my devise,
       And yet of death it giveth me occasion.
    Without eyen* I see, and without tongue I plain;             {eyes}
       I desire to perish, and yet I ask health;
       I love another, and thus I hate myself;
    I feed me in sorrow, and laugh at all my pain.
       Likewise displeaseth me both death and life,
       And my delight is causer of this strife.

    Sir Thomas Wyatt

With Serving Still

    WITH serving still
    This I have won,
    For my goodwill
    To be undone.

    And for redress
    Of all my pain,
    Disdainfulness
    I have again.

    And for reward
    Of all my smart,
    Lo, thus unheard,
    I must depart.

    Wherefore all ye
    That after shall
    By fortune be,
    As I am, thrall,

    Example take
    What I have won,
    Thus for her sake
    To be undone.

    Sir Thomas Wyatt

Lux, My Fair Falcon

    Of Such as Had Forsaken Him

    LUX, my fair falcon, and thy fellows all:
    How well pleasant it were your liberty:
    Ye not forsake me that fair might ye fall.
    But they that sometime liked my company:
    Like lice away from dead bodies they crawl.
    Lo, what a proof in light adversity?
    But ye my birds, I swear by all your bells,
    Ye be my friends, and so be but few else.            [Tottel has: and very few else.]

    Sir Thomas Wyatt     from Tottel, 1557

Madam, Withouten Many Words

    MADAM, withouten many words,
       Once I am sure ye will or no:
    And if ye will, then leave your bords*,             [jests]
       And use your wit, and show it so.

    And with a beck* you shall me call,            [gesture]
       And if of one that burneth alway
    Ye have any pity at all,
       Answer him fair with yea or nay.

    If it be yea, I shall be fain*;            [pleased]
       If it be nay, friends as before;
    Ye shall another man obtain,
       And I mine own and yours no more.

    Sir Thomas Wyatt     from the Egerton Manuscript

The Furious Gun

    THE furious gun in his raging ire,
    When that the bowl is rammed in too sore
    And that the flame cannot part from the fire,
    Cracketh in sunder, and in the air doth roar
    The shivered pieces; right so doth my desire,
    Whose flame increaseth from more to more,
    Which to let out I dare not look or speak;
    So now hard force my heart doth all to break.

    Sir Thomas Wyatt

Satire II:The Country Mouse and the Town Mouse

    MY mother's maids, when they did sew and spin,
    They sang sometime a song of the field mouse,
    That for because her livelood* was but thin             {livelihood}
    Would needs go seek her townish sister's house.
    She thought herself endured to much pain:
    The stormy blasts her cave so sore did souse
    That when the furrows swimmed with the rain
    She must lie cold and wet in sorry plight,
    And, worse than that, bare meat there did remain
    To comfort her when she her house had dight:
    Sometime a barleycorn, sometime a bean,
    For which she labored hard both day and night
    In harvest time, whilst she might go and glean.
    And when her store was 'stroyed with the flood,
    Then well away, for she undone was clean.
    Then was she fain to take, instead of food,
    Sleep if she might, her hunger to beguile.
    "My sister," qoth she, "hath a living good,
    And hence from me she dwelleth not a mile.
    In cold and storm she lieth warm and dry
    In bed of down, and dirt doth not defile
    Her tender foot, she laboreth not as I.
    Richly she feedeth and at the rich man's cost,
    And for her meat she needs not crave nor cry.
    By sea, by land, of the delicates the most
    Her cater seeks and spareth for no peril.
    She feedeth on boiled, baken meat, and roast,
    And hath thereof neither charge nor travail.
    And, when she list, the liquor of the grape
    Doth goad her heart till that her belly swell."
    And at this journey she maketh but a jape*:             {joke}
    So forth she goeth, trusting of all this wealth
    With her sister her part so for to shape
    That, if she might keep herself in health,
    To live a lady while her life doth last.
    And to the door now is she come by stealth,
    And with her foot anon she scrapeth full fast.
    The other for fear durst not well scarce appear,
    Of every noise so was the wretch aghast.
    "Peace," quoth the town mouse, "why speakest thou so loud?"
    And by the hand she took her fair and well.
    "Welcome," quoth she, "my sister, by the rood."
    She feasted her that joy is was to tell
    The fare they had; they drank the wine so clear;
    And as to purpose now and then it fell
    She cheered her with: "How, sister, what cheer?"
    Amids this joy there fell a sorry chance,
    That, wellaway, the stranger bought full dear
    The fare she had. For as she looks, askance,
    Under a stool she spied two steaming eyes
    In a round head with sharp ears. In France
    was never mouse so feared*, for though the unwise             {afraid}
    Had not yseen* such a beast before,
    Yet had nature taught her after her guise
    To know her foe and dread him evermore.
    The town mouse fled; she knew whither to go.
    The other had no shift, but wondrous sore
    Feared of her life, at home she wished her, though.
    And to the door, alas, as she did skip
    (Th' heaven it would, lo, and eke her chance was so)
    At the threshold her silly foot did trip,
    And ere she might recover it again
    The traitor cat had caught her by the hip
    And made her there against her will remain
    That had forgotten her poor surety, and rest,
    For seeming wealth wherein she thought to reign.
    Alas, my Poynz*, how men do seek the best            {a friend of Wyatt}
    And find the worst, by error as they stray.
    And no marvel, when sight is so opprest
    And blind the guide. Anon out of the way
    Goeth guide and all in seeking quiet life.
    O wretched minds, there is no gold that may
    Grant that ye seek, no war, no peace, no strife,
    No, no, although thy head was hoopt* with gold,             {crowned}
    Sergeant with mace, haubert, sword, nor knife
    Cannot repulse the care that follow should.
    Each kind of life hath with him his disease:
    Live in delight even as thy lust would*,             {as you would desire}
    And thou shalt find when lust doth most thee please
    It irketh strait and by itself doth fade.
    A small thing it is that may thy mind appease.
    None of ye all there is that is so mad
    To seek grapes upon brambles or breers*,             {briars}
    Not none I trow that hath his wit so bad
    To set his hay for conies* over rivers,             {snares for rabbits}
    Ne* ye set not a drag net for an hare.             {nor}
    And yet the thing that most is your desire
    Ye do misseek with more travail and care.
    Make plain thine heart, that it be not notted
    With hope or dread, and see thy will be bare
    >From all effects whom vice hath ever spotted.
    Thyself content with that is thee assigned,
    And use it well that is to thee allotted,
    Then seek no more out of thyself to find
    The thing that thou hast sought so long before,
    For thou shalt find it sitting in thy mind.
    Mad, if ye list to continue your sore,
    Let present pass, and gape on time to come,
    And deep yourself in travail more and more.
    Henceforth, my Poynz, this shall be all and some:
    These wretched fools shall have nought else of me.
    But to the great God and to His high doom*             {judgment}
    None other pain pray I for them to be
    But, when the rage doth lead them from the right,
    That, looking backward, Virtue they may see
    Even as She is, so goodly fair and bright.
    And whilst they clasp their lusts in arms across
    Grant them, good Lord, as Thou mayst of Thy might,
    To fret inward for losing such a loss.

    Sir Thomas Wyatt

Stand Whoso List

    STAND who list* upon the slipper top            {likes, wishes to}
      Of court's estates, and let me here rejoice;
    And use me quiet without let or stop,
      Unknown in court, that hath such brackish* joys:            {spoiled, fouled}
        In hidden place, so let my days forth pass,
      That when my years be done, withouten noise,
        I may die aged after the common trace.
    For him death grippeth right hard by the crope*            {throat}
        That is much known of other; and of himself, alas,
        Doth die alone, dazed with dreadful face.

    Sir Thomas Wyatt     from the Arundel Castle Manuscript

Ye Olde Mule

    [Editor's Note: This poem is also believed to be about Anne Boelyn, after she was married to Henry VIII; note that in Wyatt's bitterness she is now an 'olde mule' - in a very unflattering portrait. --Steve]

    YE OLDE that think yourself so fair,
    Leave off with craft your beauty to repair,
    For it is true, without any fable,
    No man setteth more by riding in your saddle.
    Too much travail so do your train appair.
    Ye old mule
    With false savour though you deceive th'air,
    Whoso taste you shall well perceive your lair
    Savoureth somewhat of a Kappurs stable.
    Ye old mule
    Ye must now serve to market and to fair,
    All for the burden, for panniers a pair.
    For since gray hairs been powdered in your sable,
    The thing ye seek for, you must yourself enable
    To purchase it by payment and by prayer,
    Ye old mule.

    Sir Thomas Wyatt

Patience, Though I Have Not

    PATIENCE, though I have not
      The thing that I require,
    I must of force, God wot*,            {knows}
      Forbear my most desire;
    For no ways can I find
    To sail against the wind.

    Patience, do what they will
      To work me woe or spite,
    I shall content me still
      To think both day and night,
    To think and hold my peace,
    Since there is no redress.

    Patience, withouten blame
      For I offended nought;
    I know they know the same,
      Though they have changed their thought.
    Was ever thought so moved
    To hate that it hath loved?

    Patience of all my harm,
      For fortune is my foe;
    Patience must be the charm
      To heal me of my woe:
    Patience without offence
    Is a painful patience.

    Sir Thomas Wyatt     from the Egerton Manuscript


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