IR THOMAS WYATT
LATER POEMS II (after 1536)
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Notes will shortly be added.
Yf in the
world ther be more woo
If in the
world there be more woe
Where so it is = wherever it is.
5. for to = in order to.
6. receipt = receptacle.
Thanswere that ye made to me my dere
I have no wrong where I can clayme no right
Another, why, shall lyberty be bond !
Nor none can clayme I say by former graunte
Now, good then call agayne that frendly
that ye made to me my dear
have no wrong where I can claim no right,
why, shall liberty be bond!
none can claim, I say, by former grant
good then, call again that friendly word
The answer referred to in line 1 which his mistress gave him has to be conjectured. The context implies a painful refusal of some sort, perhaps even a denial that she ever spoke to him of love except in jest.
5. of blame etc. = I cannot see any fault that you might attribute to me.
6. I have no wrong = I have not been wronged.
7. Nought ta'en me fro = nothing has been taken from me.
8. so be quit = be so easily satisfied or recompensed.
9. another may be glad = another lover may reap the reward.
10. with that = with your answer (which shows your love for him, and your dislike of me).
11. shall liberty be bond = shall a free spirit be chained up?
11-12. The stanza is incomplete.
16. no where that shall = nowhere any lover who could.
18. call again = call back, deny, make as unsaid.
19. 'Your friend' - the implication is that she calls herself his friend (his beloved) only so as not to hurt him by denial of the fact.
20. in bourd = in jest, not seriously. The speaker asks that his beloved declare that her pretence that she called himself his friend was only a jesting pretence. She really meant what she said.
21-2. Of uncertain meaning. The whole of this last stanza is difficult, and editors supply various interpretations. Some emend 'seithe' to 'slayeth'.
(R) Som other hope must feed me new ;
(A) The sonne the mone doeth frowne on the,
(R) Some plesaunt sterre may shewe me light
(A) Hath he himself that is not sure ?
(R) The last is worse, who feres not that ?
(A) Seist thou not how they whet their teth,
(R) What tho that currs do fall by kinde
(A) Yet can it not be thenne denyd
(R) Unhappy, but no wretche therefore,
Some other hope must feed me new;
The sun, the moon doth frown on thee,
Some pleasant star may show me light
Hath he himself that is not sure?
The last is worse, who fears not that,
Seest thou not how they whet their teeth,
What though that curs do fall by kind
Yet can it not be then denied,
Unhappy, but no wretch therefore,
debate is perhaps between the heart
and its alter ego. The poem bears a loose relationship to Chaucer's
Fortune, and the refrain echoes Chaucer's
7. all my will = all that I desire.
Similar to Hamlet's
19. Better to be dead than endure such misery.
26. like as he has sped = based on the supposition that he has been successful.
27. dure = endure, stand up.
29 The last = death, one's final day.
30. where so he go = wherever he goes.
31. He that knoweth etc. - A reference to Chaucer. See intro above.
33-4. Do you not see how your enemies, who once feared you, now that you are down seek to sink their fangs into you? The reference is possibly to political enemies.
35. for thy mischief = from your misfortunes.
37. by kind = according to their nature.
42. creed = credo, belief in God.
43. unhap = ill fortune.
46. hap doth come again and go = Fortune is variable.
And if an
Iye may save or sleye
frame all wel, I am content
yet alas, that loke all sowle
my suspect is without blame,
I, your frende, shall take it thus,
of this grief ye shalbe quitte
And if an eye may
save or slay
frame all well I am content
yet alas, that look all sole
my suspect is without blame,
I, your friend, shall take it thus,
of this grief ye shall be quit
That the eyes were the windows of the soul was proverbial. The poet here seems to be questioning the faithfulness of his beloved, for she has been letting her eyes roam onto other men, and deeply wounding him thereby. He is prepared to admit that it could be accidental but cannot entirely annul his suspicions.
7. Either 'For the eye betrays what the heart thinks', or, 'For the eye leads the heart to ditch old lovers and find new ones'.
8. To frame all well = to put a favourable gloss on all these events.
9. That it were done = to allow that it was done.
10-12. Yet I assert that those who have good intentions do not do actions which lead men to believe the contrary.
15. that look all sole = that look of yours which is solely mine to have (because of our mutual love).
17. go seek the school = learn how to.
19. Friendlier thing = a more loving act or disposition. I.e. there is nothing more sacred than the look that the beloved deigns to beatow on the lover.
22. suspect = suspicion.
23. without blame = is not unfounded; cannot be claimed to be other than impartial.
24. other moe = many others. deemed = thought. - I have adopted the usual emendation of 'denied'.
30. Since you will so = since that is your wish.
32. the stroke did stick or glance = the glance from your eye pierced him (the other man you looked at) to the heart, or merely glanced off him.
33. But scuse who can - scuse= excuse. It is not clear if these words refer to a general observer, who might wish to excuse and explain such behaviour, and whether he also is addressed in the words that follow 'Let him advance (arguments etc. for dissembling)'.
36. grief = the grief of being suspected. quit = freed.
38. that doth sit - Rebholz emends to 'that he doth sit' which seems to make better sense.
41. astart = start away, fly off.
What rage is this ? What furour of what kynd
Lo se myn iyes swell with contynuall terys
In diepe wid wound the dedly stroke doth
Opresse thou dost and hast off hym no cure :
Ons may thou love never belovffd agayne ;
What rage is this? What furor of what kind?
Lo see mine eyes swell with continual tears,
In deep wide wound the deadly stroke doth
Oppress thou dost and hast of him no cure,
Once may thou love never be loved again;
Tottel entitles this poem 'To his unkind love''.
1. furor = raging fury.
3. assigned = designated, appointed.
4, pleasant sweet - presumably a term of endearment addressed to his mistress.
3-4. What poison, dearest, has been chosen to lodge in my bones and eat at my heart?
6. still away sleepless it wears = wastes away continually in sleeplessness.
7. nothing my fainting strength repairs = is unable in any way to cure my exhausted condition.
9. The violent stroke of your love has created a deep wound in me.
10. Which can never become scarred over and cured.
13. cure - perhaps a synonym for care.
15. fell = savage. recure = improvement, cure.
17. once = at some time. may thou love = let it be your fate to love.
18. still = always.
wrathful love = Love, which has been
angered by your previous refusal to honour him.
feble is the threde that doth the
tyme doth flete, and I perceyve
thowrs how thei bend
place doth bryng me grieff wher
I do not behold
such record alas provoke thenflamid
new kyndes of plesurs wherin most
cryspid gold that doth sormount
And yet with more
delyght, to mone my wofull cace,
song, thou shalt ataine to fynd that
feeble is the thread that doth the burden
time doth fleet, and I perceive th'
hours how they bend
place doth bring me grief where I
do not behold
such record alas provoke th' inflamed
new kinds of pleasures wherein most
crisped gold that doth surmount Apollo's
And yet with more delight,
to moan my woeful case,
song, thou shalt attain to find that
pleasant place, 95
PETRARCH'S Rime 37 tranlated by J.G. Nichols
Carcanet Press, Manchester UK.
My heavy life is hanging on
Time passes, and the hours
go by so fast
All places sadden where I
do not see
Alas, if speaking of it
What things we mortals find
to give us pleasure!
That golden hair, enough to
make the sun
And, so that I may weep
with more delight,
Canzone, if in Provence
Tottel entitles the poem 'Complaint of the absence of his love'. It was probably written between June 1537 and June 1539, when Wyatt was ambassador to Spain. Over most of the period he was anxious to return, but it is uncertain who (if any) the beloved was. The poem translates Petrarch's Rime 37 keeping fairly close to the original, so it could be merely an exercise in the language of love. The closing six line coda is however much more direct and intense than the original. The Petrarchan version is given opposite in a modern English translation.
1. stay = support.
3. secourse = succour, help.
3. the running spindle - according to classical mythology the three Fates spun the thread of each human's life from a spindle, and continued spinning it until 'the blind Fury with the abhorred shears' cut the thread of that person's life.
6. weal = welfare, well-being.
7. such words = words of encouragemnent such as he speaks to himself in the following lines.
11. who can tell thy loss = your loss may be slight.
12. thy woe may rape = may seize and destroy your sorrow.
15. fleet = speed fastly.
19. his path awry = (?) his (the sun's) crooked path through the signs of the zodiac.
19-20. This perhaps refers to the sun's daytime path (East to West), and his nightime path behind the earth (West to East).
27 something = in part.
32. Would that I could embrace the immediate pain of your absence as readily as I seized in the past the pleasure of being with you.
33. But for because = except that.
34. my will = my desire.
35. That thing to wish whereof = to desire that thing (your presence) of which. leese = lose.
38. them intermeet = interpose themselves.
39 shining lights - i.e his mistress' eyes.
42. record = recollection, remembrance. bate = abate.
45. let = impeded, prevented. The general sense seems to be: If love, prevented by distant separation, cannot forever remember the beloved, what is it that guides me, poor wretch, always to remember her and to swallow the painful bait of this memory.
49-50. The thought is that glass and crystal do not show the colour which lies underneath them as clearly as his eyes reveal what is in his soul.
51. th' encumbered sprite = the burdened soul.
discover = uncover, reveal.
58. sits = suits.
59. to assay to charge = to attempt to fill.
60. fraughted = laden, weighed down.
61-2. ?? Perhaps 'And in order to speak again (thereto) of those fairs eyes which provoke my pain I shall return again to my doleful lament'.
65. return to them - sc. his mistress' eyes.
69. crisped gold = curled gold (of her hair). surmount = surpass. Apollo's pride = the sun.
70. This seems to be a reference to the beloved's glances, her looks of love which stream down like the beams of a multitude of stars. (See the original Petrarchan poem opposite).
72. Which yet, being so far removed, seem near, and make me sweat, even though I freeze because of her absence.
73. or else alone = perhaps unique.
77. redress of lingered pain = cure of long lasting pain.
78. And often used to turn my fiery passion to virtuous thoughts.
80. The small comfort I receive from the little news I hear leads me to put in doubt the validity of my love and the confidence I may have in it.
81. And yet with more delight to moan etc. - suggestive of a masochistic element in his love for the lady.
82-3. embrace / Me from myself = embrace me and make me forget myself (so deep is the joy).
83. rule the stern = steers me by the rudder.
86. hid me from = hidden from me.
87. At other's will my long abode = my distant abode (from you) dictated by another's will (i.e. the King's, who had ordered him to remain as ambassador in Spain).
96. may chance = it may chance that.
97. thee dread wherein I starve = the dreadful suffering of absence which causes my soul to starve.
98. reserve = keep, preserve, hide.
1. The wandering Trojan knight = Aeneas, the hero of Virgil's poem The Aeneid, written in Augustus's reign. Aeneas survives the fall of Troy and wanders the world until he lands in Italy and becomes the founder of Rome. In his wanderings he visits Carthage and is entertained by Queen Dido.
2. Juno's wrath - Juno was enraged against Aeneas because she foresaw the eventual destruction of Carthage by Rome. The reasons for her anger were more deep seated (alta mente repostum) and originated from the slight she received by the judgement of Paris, when Venus, Aeneas' mother, was chosen instead of her by Paris as the most beautiful goddess. Hence Juno hated Aeneas who was the son of her rival.
2. in Lybic sands to light = to alight on Lybian sands.
3-4. Iopas, whom mighty Atlas taught, began his song etc. See Aeneid I 740-1. Iopas was a minstrel with curled locks and a golden harp.
5-12. This stanza is somewhat obscure, not helped by the fact that 'heaven' can refer either to the entire sky above the earth, or the sphere containing the fixed stars, (sometimes called the firmament), or the numinous body or power which controls the universe. The first two lines paraphrase perhaps as 'The universe, or world, is the structure which underpins the working of the earth and the heavens which revolve around it'. The word 'heaven' of line 6 refers to the entire sky observable from the earth, the whole arrangement of concentric spheres, and not to any particular sphere.
7. Or thus - introduces an alternative description, i.e. that some heavenly power governs the disposition of the earth and the spheres surrounding it.
Without the which = outside of which
(i.e. the earth); surrounding.
10. this heaven = the heaven of fixed stars. This was the outermost sphere (see next kine).
12. th'other seven = the other seven spheres making eight in all. These contained the fixed stars; Jupiter; Saturn; Mars; Venus; Mercury; the sun; the moon.
13. that same = the first moving heaven (line 11).
16. and all those eight = presumably this includes the first one, which appears to be the prime mover of all the others.
17-24. This stanza deals with the poles, as defined by the pole star in the northern hemisphere, and the southern cross in the south.
19. object = opposite.
24 hight = called.
27. which - refers to the eight (?) revolving heavens, or spheres, rather than to the axle.
29. But they been = unless they were.
31. those wandering seven = the five planets and the sun and moon.
32. repugnant way = a contrary direction. The planets do not appear to rotate simply around the earth, but at times they go backwards, a phenomenon explained by Ptolemy by the hypothesis that they at times revolved around a point set in the surface of the sphere to which they were allocated. The plane of rotation was normal to that of the line joining the point to the earth.
35. The widest save the first = the sphere that is the second one in from the most distant. It took 36,000 years to rotate. (See next three lines).
39. another between these heavens two - this would bring the total number of revolving spheres to ten. Iopas declines to commit himself to it absolutely.
44. bowt = orbit, revolution.
55. the third = the sphere that carries Venus, goddess of love.
60 as calcars try = as astronomers and astrologers compute.
61. That sky is last = the final sphere nearest to us is the sky (which contains the moon and revolves in 27 and one third days).
68. This refers once again to the erratic motions of the planets.
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