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 rock do not so cruelly Repulse the waves continually, As she my suit and affection; So that I’m past remedy, Whereby my lute and I have done.
Proud the spoil that thou hast got Of simple hearts thorough Love’s shot, By whom, unkind, thou hast them won; Think not he hath he now forgot, Although my lute and I have done.
Vengeance shall fall on thy disdain, That mak’st 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 withered 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 they lovers to 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.
Sir Thomas Wyatt (1503-1542)
Wyatt’s memorable poems, noticing for Its musicality, and smoothness of rhythm. Petrarchan in its situation and logic, but more positive in tone.
The poem seems to say that the lady must herself come unpitied to that abstention from passion which she has forced upon her former lover.