Poem introduction

'I abide and abide' – this is a beautifully slow poem. There are very long, drawn-out vowel sounds, and so the whole poem actually forces you to wait in the way that Wyatt himself is waiting.

I abide and abide and better abide

I abide and abide and better abide,
And after the old proverb, the happy day;
And ever my lady to me doth say,
"Let me alone and I will provide."
I abide and abide and tarry the tide,
And with abiding speed well ye may.
Thus do I abide I wot alway,
Nother obtaining nor yet denied.
Ay me! this long abiding
Seemeth to me, as who sayeth,
A prolonging of a dying death,
Or a refusing of a desir'd thing.
Much were it better for to be plain
Than to say "abide" and yet shall not obtain.

 

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Recordings

Thomas Wyatt

Thomas Wyatt read by Alice Oswald

1Behold Love

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2What vaileth Truth

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3The Longe Love that in my Thought

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4Whoso list to hunt

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5Help me to seke

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7I abide and abide

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6My lute awake

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8Stond who so list

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