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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 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,
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;
Therewithall sweetly did me kiss
And softly said, “dear heart, how like you this?”
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.
But since that I so kindly am served
I would fain know what she hath deserved.
–Sir Thomas Wyatt, The Lover Showeth How He is Forsaken of Such as He Sometime Enjoyed (ca. 1540) in The Poetical Works of Sir Thomas Wyatt (J. Yeowell ed. 1904), p. 32.
Sir Thomas Wyatt was a diplomat and poet at the court of Henry VIII. He was twice thrown in the Tower of London, once on account of a rebellion launched by his namesake son who sought to put Princess Elizabeth (later Elizabeth I) on the throne, and on an earlier occasion probably because he was suspected of being a lover of Anne Boyeln. This very elegant poem speaks of an illicit affair (or perhaps several) and it has sometimes been supposed to be that with the king’s favorite.
Listen to a reading of the poem by Sir Thomas Wyatt (actually, the voice is Jim Clark’s):
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Listen to Julian Bream play My Lord Willoughby’s Welcome Home (mid-16th cen., arrangement John Dowland).
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More from Scott Horton:
No Comment — March 28, 2014, 12:32 pm
On CIA secrecy, torture, and war-making powers
No Comment — November 4, 2013, 5:17 pm
An expert panel concludes that the Pentagon and the CIA ordered physicians to violate the Hippocratic Oath
No Comment — August 12, 2013, 7:55 am
How will the Obama Administration handle Edward Snowden’s case in the long term?
Percentage of non-Christian Americans who say they believe in the resurrection of Christ:
A newly translated Coptic text alleged Judas’ kiss to have been necessitated by Jesus’ ability to shape-shift.
Russia reportedly dropped a series of math texts from a list of recommended curricular books because its illustrations featured too many non-Russian characters. “Gnomes, Snow White,” said a Russian education expert, “these are representatives of a foreign-language culture.”
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