Sir Thomas Wyatt (1503-1542)

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"Caesar, when that the traitor of Egypt"

Caesar, when that the traitor of Egypt,
With th'honorable head did him present,
Covering his gladness, did represent
Plaint with his tears outward, as it is writ;
And Hanniball, eke, when fortune him shit
Clean from his reign, and from all his intent
Laughed to his folk whom sorrow did torment,
His cruel despite for to disgorge and quit.
So chanceth it oft that every passion
The mind hideth by colour contrary
With feigned visage, now sad, now merry;
Whereby if I laughed any time or season,
It is for because I have n'other way
To cloak my care but under sport and play.

"The long love that in my heart doth harbor..."

The long love that in my heart doth harbor
And in mine heart doth keep his residence,
Into my face presseth with bold pretense,
And there campeth, displaying his banner.
She that me learneth to love and to suffer,
And wills that my trust and lust's negligence
Be reined by reason, shame, and reverence,
With his hardiness taketh displeasure.
Wherewith love to 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 and die?
For good is the life ending faithfully.

Note: The sonnet above is translated from Petrarch. Compare with Surrey's sonnet "Love that liveth and reigneth in my thought..." or with a literal translation from the Italian.

"Whoso list to hunt, I know where is an hind..."

Whoso list to hunt, I know where is an hind,
But as for me, alas, I may no more;
The vain travail hath wearied me so sore,
I am of them that furthest come 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 with diamonds in letters plain,
There is written her fair neck round about,
"Noli me tangere, for Caesar's I am,
And wild for to hold, though I seem tame."

"Was I never yet of your love grieved"

Was I never yet of your love grieved
Nor never shall while that my life doth last.
But of hating myself that date is past
And tears continual sore have me wearied.
I will not yet in my grave be buried
Nor on my tomb yoiur name yfixed fast
As cruel cause that did the spirit soon haste
From th'unhappy bones by great sighs stirred.
Then if an heart of amorous faith and will
May content you without doing grief,
Please it you so to this to do relief.
If otherwise ye seek for to fulfill
Your disdain, ye err and shall not as ye ween,
And ye yourself the cause thereof hath been.

"If amorous faith in heart unfeigned"

If amorous faith in heart unfeigned,
A sweet languor, a great lovely desire,
If honest will kindled in gentle fire,
If long error in a blind maze chained,
If in my visage each thought depainted
Or else in my sparkling voice lower or higher
Which now fear, now shame, woefully doth tire,
If a pale colour which love hath stained,
If to have another than myself more dear,
If wailing or sighing continually,
With sorrowful anger feeding busily,
If burning afar off and freezing near
Are cause that by love myself I destroy,
Yours is the fault and mine the great annoy.

(Compare Daniel's "If this be love, to draw a weary breath".)

"My heart I gave thee, not to do it pain"

My heart I gave thee, not to do it pain;
But to preserve, it was to thee taken.
I served thee, not to be forsaken,
But that I should be rewarded again.
I was content thy servant to remain
But not to be paid under this fashion.
Now since in thee is none other reason,
Displease thee not if that I do refrain,
Unsatiate of my woe and thy desire,
Assured by craft to excuse thy fault.
But since it please thee to feign a default,
Farewell, I say, parting from the fire:
For he that believeth bearing in hand,
Plougheth in water and soweth in the sand.

"Some fowls there be that have so perfect sight"

Some fowls there be that have so perfect sight
Again the sun their eyes for to defend;
And some because the light doth them offend
Do never 'pear but in the dark or night.
Other rejoice that see the fire bright
And ween to play in it, as they do pretend,
And find the contrary of it that they intend.
Alas, of that sort I may be by right,
For to withstand her look I am not able
And yet can I not hide me in no dark place,
Remembrance so followeth me of that face.
So that with teary eyen, swollen and unstable,
My destiny to behold her doth me lead,
Yet do I know I run into the gleed.

"Because I have thee still kept from lies and blame"

Because I have thee still kept from lies and blame
And to my power always have I thee honoured,
Unkind tongue, right ill hast thou me rendered
For such desert to do me wreak and shame.
In need of succour most when that I am
To ask reward, then standest thou like one afeard,
Alway most cold; and if thou speak toward,
It is as in dream, unperfect and lame.
And ye salt tears, again my will each night
That are with me when fain I would be alone,
Then are ye gone when I should make my moan.
And you so ready sighs to make me shright,
Then are ye slack when that ye should outstart,
And only my look declareth my heart.

"I find no peace, and all my war is done..."

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 nought I have, and all the world I seize on;
That locketh nor loseth 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;
I desire to perish, and yet I ask health;
I love another, and thus I hate myself;
I feed me in sorrow, and laugh in all my pain.
Likewise displeaseth me both death and life,
And my delight is causer of this strife.

"Though I myself be bridled of my mind"

Though I myself be bridled of my mind,
Returning me backward by force express,
If thou seek honour to keep thy promise,
Who may thee hold, my heart, but thou thyself unbind?
Sigh then no more since no way man may find
Thy virtue to let though that frowardness
Of fortune me holdeth; and yet as I may guess,
Though other be present, thou art not all behind.
Suffice it then that thou be ready there
At all hours, still under the defence
Of time, truth, and love to save thee from offence,
Crying, "I burn in a lovely desire
With my dear master's that may not follow,
Whereby his absence turneth him to sorrow."

"My galley charged with forgetfulness..."

My galley charged with forgetfulness
Through sharp seas in winter nights doth pass
Tween rock and rock, and eke my foe (alas)
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 forced sighs and trusty fearfulness;
A rain of tears, a cloud of dark distain,
Have done the wearied cords great hinderance;
Wreathed with error and eke with ignorance,
The stars be hid that lead me to this pain.
Drowned is reason that should me consort,
And I remain, despairing of the port.

"Avising the bright beams of these fair eyes"

Avising the bright beams of these fair eyes
Where he is that mine oft moisteth and washeth,
The worried mind straight from the heart departeth
For to rest his worldly paradise
And find the sweet bitter under this guise.
What webs he hath wrought well he perceiveth,
Whereby with himself on Love he plaineth
That spurreth with fire and bridleth with ice.
Thus is it in such extremity brought:
In frozen thought now, and now it standeth in flame,
'Twixt misery and wealth, 'twixt earnest and game,
But few glad and many a diverse thought,
With sore repentance of his hardiness.
Of such a root cometh fruit fruitless.

"Ever mine hap is slack and slow in coming"

Ever mine hap is slack and slow in coming,
Desire increasing, mine hope uncertain,
That leave it or wait it doth me like pain
And tiger-like swift it is in parting.
Alas, the snow shall be black and scalding,
The sea waterless, fish in the mountain,
The Thames shall return back into his fountain,
And where he rose the sun shall take lodging
Ere that I in this find peace or quietness
In that Love or my lady rightwisely
Leave to conspire again me wrongfully.
And if that I have after such bitterness
Anything sweet, my mouth is out of taste,
That all my trust and travail is but waste.

"Love and Fortune and my mind, rememb'rer"

Love and Fortune and my mind, rememb'rer
Of that that is now with that that hath been,
Do torment me so that I very often
Envy them beyond all measure.
Love slayeth mine heart. Fortune is depriver
Of all my comfort. The foolish mind then
Burneth and plaineth as one that seldom
Liveth in rest, still in displeasure.
My pleasant days, they fleet away and pass,
But daily yet the ill doth change into the worse,
And more than the half is run of my course.
Alas, not of steel but of brickle glass
I see that from mine hand falleth my trust,
And all my thoughts are dashed into dust.

"How oft have I, my dear and cruel foe"

How oft have I, my dear and cruel foe,
With those your eyes for to get peace and truce
Proffered you mine heart! But you do not use
Among so high things to cast your mind so low.
If any other look for it, as ye trow,
Their vain weak hope doth greatly them abuse.
And thus I disdain that that ye refuse:
It was once mine, it can no more be so.
If I then it chase, nor it in you can find
In this exile no manner of comfort,
Nor live alone, nor, where he is called, resort,
He may wander from his natural kind.
So shall it be great hurt unto us twain
And yours the loss and mine the deadly pain.

"Like to these immeasurable mountains"

Like to these immeasurable mountains
Is my painful life, the burden of ire:
For of great height be they and high is my desire,
And I of tears and they be full of fountains.
Under craggy rocks they have full barren plains;
Hard thoughts in me my woeful mind doth tire.
Small fruit and many leaves their tops do attire;
Small effect with great trust in me remains.
The boist'rous winds oft their high boughs do blast;
Hot sighs from me continually be shed.
Cattle in them and in me love is fed.
Immovable am I and they are full steadfast.
Of the restless birds they have the tune and note,
And I always plaints that pass thorough my throat.

"Farewell love and all thy laws forever..."

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 endeavor.
In blind error when I did persever,
Thy sharp repulse that pricketh aye so sore
Taught me in trifles that I set no store,
But scape forth, since liberty is lever.
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 my time,
Me list no longer rotten boughs to climb.

"Unstable dream, according to the place..."

Unstable dream, according to the place,
Be steadfast once, or else at least be true;
By tasted sweetness make me not to rue
The sudden loss of thy false feigned grace.
By good respect in such a dangerous case,
Thou broughtest not her into this tossing mew,
But madest my sprite live, my care to renew,
My body in tempest her succour to embrace.
The body dead, the sprite had his desire,
Painless was th' one, th' other in delight.
Why then, alas, did it not keep it right,
Returning, to leap into the fire?
And where it was at wish, it could not remain,
Such mocks of dreams they turn to deadly pain.

"Divers doth use, as I have heard and know..."

Divers doth use, as I have heard and know,
When that to change their ladies do begin,
To mourn and wail, and never for to lin,
Hoping thereby to pease their painful woe.
And some there be, that when it chanceth so
That women change and hate where love hath been,
They call them false and think with words to win
The hearts of them which otherwhere doth grow.
But as for me, though that by chance indeed
Change hath outworn the favor that I had,
I will not wail, lament, nor yet be sad,
Nor call her false that falsely did me feed,
But let it pass, and think it is of kind
That often change doth please a woman's mind.

Glossed Words (click on word to return to poem)

"Caesar, when that the traitor of Egypt"

shit, shut.

"Whoso list to hunt, I know an hind"

list, should wish; Noli me tangere, touch me not.

"Because I have thee still kept from lies and blame"

shright, cry out.

"My galley charged with forgetfulness..."

eke, also; consort, or "comfort".

"Avising the bright beams of these fair eyes"

avising, looking at, considering.

"Love and Fortune and my mind, rememb'rer"

brickle, brittle.

"Farewell love and all thy laws forever..."

lever, dearer; list, want.