Sir Thomas Wyatt


The longlove that in my thought doth harbour

    The long love that in my thought doth harbour
    And in mine heart doth keep his residence
    Into my face presseth with bold pretence
    And therein campeth spreading his banner
5   She that me learneth to love and suffer
    And will 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
10   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
    They flee from me that sometime did me seek
    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
5   That sometime they put themself 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
10   In thin array after a pleasant guise
    When her loose gown from her shoulders did fall
    And she me caught in her arms long and small
    Therewithal sweetly did me kiss
    And softly said dear heart how like you this
15   It was no dream I lay broad waking
    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
20   But since that I so kindly am served
    I would fain know what she has deserved
    Each man me telleth I change most my device
    Each man me telleth I change most my device
    And on my faith me think it good reason
    To change propose like after the season
    For in every case to keep still one guise
5   Is meet for them that would be taken wise
    And I am not of such manner condition
    But treated after a diverse fashion
    And thereupon my diverseness doth rise
    But you that blame this diverseness most
10   Change you no more but still after one rate
    Treat ye me well and keep ye in the same state
    And while with me doth dwell this wearied ghost
    My word nor I shall not be variable
    But always one your own both firm and stable
    Whoso list to hunt I know where is an hind
    Whoso list to hunt I know where is an hind
    But as for me helas I may no more
    The vain travail hath wearied me so sore
    I am of them that farthest cometh behind
5   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
    Sithens in a net I seek to hold the wind
    Who list her hunt I put him out of doubt
10   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
    Mine own John Poyntz since ye delight to know
    Mine own John Poyntz since ye delight to know
       The cause why that homeward I me draw
       And flee the press of courts whereso they go,
    Rather than to live thrall under the awe
5      Of lordly looks, wrapped within my cloak,
       To will and lust learning to set a law,
    It is not for because I scorn or mock
       The power of them to whom fortune hath lent
       Charge over us, of right to strike the stroke,
10   But true it is that I have always meant
       Less to esteem them than the common sort,
       Of outward things that judge in their intent
    Without regard what doth inward resort.
       I grant sometime that of glory the fire
15      Doth touch my heart, me list not to report
    Blame by honour, and honour to desire,
       But how may I this honour now attain
       That cannot dye the colour black a liar?
    My Poyntz I cannot frame my tongue to feign
20      To cloak the truth for praise without desert
       Of them that list all vice for to retain.
    I cannot honour them that sets their part
       With Venus and Bacchus all their life long
       Nor hold my peace of them although I smart.
25   I cannot crouch nor kneel to do so great a wrong
       To worship them like God on earth alone
       That are as wolves these seely lambs among.
    I cannot with my word complain and moan
       And suffer nought nor smart without complaint
30      Nor turn the word that from my mouth is gone.
    I cannot speak and look like a saint
       Use wiles for wit and make deceit a pleasure
       And call craft counsel, for profit still to paint.
    I cannot wrest the law to fill the coffer,
35      With innocent blood to feed myself fat
       And do most hurt where most help I offer.
    I am not he that can allow the state
       Of him Caesar and damn Cato to die,
       That with his death did ’scape out of the gate
40   From Caesar’s hands, if Livy do not lie,
       And would not live where liberty was lost
       So did his heart the common weal apply.
    I am not he such eloquence to boast
       To make the crow singing as the swan
45      Nor call the lion of coward beasts the most
    That cannot take a mouse as the cat can,
       And he that dieth for hunger of the gold
       Call him Alexander, and say that Pan
    Passeth Apollo in music manifold,
50      Praise Sir Thopas for a noble tale
       And scorn the story that the knight told,
    Praise him for counsel that is drunk of ale
       Grin when he laugheth that beareth all the sway
       Frown when he frowneth and groan when he is pale,
55   On others lust to hang both night and day.
       None of these points would ever frame in me,
       My wit is nought, I cannot learn the way,
    And much the less of things that greater be
       That asken help of colours of device
60      To join the mean with each extremity,
    With the nearest virtue to cloak alway the vice,
       And, as to purpose likewise it shall fall,
       To press the virtue that it may not rise.
    As drunkenness good fellowship to call,
65      The friendly foe with his double face
       Say he is gentle and courteous therewithal,
    And say that Favel hath a goodly grace
       In eloquence, and cruelty to name
       Zeal of justice and change in time and place,
70   And he that sufferth offence without blame
       Call him pitiful, and him true and plain
       That raileth reckless to every man’s shame,
    Say he is rude that cannot lie and feign
       The lecher a lover, and tyranny
75      To be the right of a prince’s reign.
    I cannot, I, no, no, it will not be.
       This is the cause that I could never yet
       Hang on their sleeves that weigh as thou mayst see
    A chip of chance more than a pound of wit.
80      This maketh me at home to hunt and to hawk
       And in foul weather at my book to sit,
    In frost and snow then with my bow to stalk,
       No man doth mark whereso I ride or go,
       In lusty leas at liberty I walk
85   And of these news I feel nor weal nor woe
       Save that a clog doth hang yet at my heel,
       No force for that, for it is ordered so
    That I may leap both hedge and dike full well.
       I am not now in France to judge the wine
90      With savoury sauce the delicates to feel;
    Nor yet in Spain where one must him incline,
       Rather than to be, outwardly to seem,
       I meddle not with wits that be so fine;
    Nor Flanders’ cheer letteth not my sight to deem
95      Of black and white nor taketh my wit away
       With beastliness, they beasts do so esteem;
    Nor I am not where Christ is given in prey
       For money poison and treason at Rome,
       A common practice used night and day.
100   But here I am in Kent and Christendom
       Among the Muses where I read and rhyme,
       Where if thou list my Poyntz for to come,
    Thou shalt be judge how I do spend my time.

Robert Clark

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