My Lute Awake

By Sir Thomas Wyatt 1503–1542 Thomas Wyatt
My lute awake! perform the last
Labour that thou and I shall waste,
And end that I have now begun;
For when this song is sung and past,
My lute be still, for I have done.

As to be heard where ear is none,
As lead to grave in marble stone,
My song may pierce her heart as soon;
Should we then sigh or sing or moan?
No, no, my lute, for I have done.

The rocks do not so cruelly
Repulse the waves continually,
As she my suit and affection;
So that I am past remedy,
Whereby my lute and I have done.

Proud of the spoil that thou hast got
Of simple hearts thorough Love's shot,
By whom, unkind, thou hast them won,
Think not he hath his bow forgot,
Although my lute and I have done.

Vengeance shall fall on thy disdain
That makest but game on earnest pain.
Think not alone under the sun
Unquit to cause thy lovers plain,
Although my lute and I have done.

Perchance thee lie wethered and old
The winter nights that are so cold,
Plaining in vain unto the moon;
Thy wishes then dare not be told;
Care then who list, for I have done.

And then may chance thee to repent
The time that thou hast lost and spent
To cause thy lovers sigh and swoon;
Then shalt thou know beauty but lent,
And wish and want as I have done.

Now cease, my lute; this is the last
Labour that thou and I shall waste,
And ended is that we begun.
Now is this song both sung and past:
My lute be still, for I have done.

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Poet Sir Thomas Wyatt 1503–1542

POET’S REGION England

SCHOOL / PERIOD Renaissance

Subjects Arts & Sciences, Music, Relationships, Living, Disappointment & Failure, Love, Unrequited Love, Break-ups & Vexed Love

Poetic Terms Rhymed Stanza

Sir  Thomas  Wyatt

Biography

Born in Kent, England, Sir Thomas Wyatt was an ambassador to France and Italy for King Henry VIII. Wyatt’s travels abroad exposed him to different forms of poetry, which he adapted for the English language — most notably, the sonnet. Rumored to be Anne Boleyn’s lover, he spent a month in the Tower of London until Boleyn’s execution for adultery. Many consider his poem “Whoso List to Hunt” to be about . . .

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Arts & Sciences, Music, Relationships, Living, Disappointment & Failure, Love, Unrequited Love, Break-ups & Vexed Love

POET’S REGION England

SCHOOL / PERIOD Renaissance

Poetic Terms Rhymed Stanza

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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