Poem introduction

Thomas Wyatt was a courtier and poet imprisoned in the tower at the time of Anne Boleyn's downfall, and the adultery plot. His poetry deals with the intrigue of the Tudor courts, sudden falls from favour and intense love affairs and betrayals.

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
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.

Recordings

Thomas Wyatt

Thomas Wyatt Downloads 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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