Unstable Dream

By Sir Thomas Wyatt 1503–1542 Thomas Wyatt

   Unstable dream, according to the place,
Be steadfast once, or else at least be true.
By tasted sweetness make me not to rue
The sudden loss of thy false feignèd grace.
By good respect in such a dangerous case
Thou broughtest not her into this tossing mew
But madest my sprite live, my care to renew,
My body in tempest her succour to embrace.
The body dead, the sprite had his desire,
Painless was th'one, th'other in delight.
Why then, alas, did it not keep it right,
Returning, to leap into the fire?
     And where it was at wish, it could not remain,
     Such mocks of dreams they turn to deadly pain.

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Poet Sir Thomas Wyatt 1503–1542

POET’S REGION England

SCHOOL / PERIOD Renaissance

Subjects Relationships, Living, Disappointment & Failure, Sorrow & Grieving, Love, Heartache & Loss

Poetic Terms Sonnet

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 Relationships, Living, Disappointment & Failure, Sorrow & Grieving, Love, Heartache & Loss

POET’S REGION England

SCHOOL / PERIOD Renaissance

Poetic Terms Sonnet

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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