Saturday, May 1, 2010

May Day!

You that in love find luck and abundance
And live in lust and joyful jollity,
Arise for shame, do away your sluggardy!
Arise I say, do May some observance!
Let me in bed lie dreaming in mischance,
Let me remember the haps has most unhappy
That me betide in May most commonly,
As one whom love list little to advance.
Sepham said true that my nativity
Mischanced was with the ruler of the May:
He guessed of that I prove the verity.
In May my wealth and eke my life I say
Have stood so oft in such perplexity.
Rejoice! Let me dream of your felicity.

Thomas Wyatt c. 1538


Ed Baker said...

Ths Wyatt, the Elder

very first poet that I "studied"

they flee from me that sometimes did me seek



faire weil love and all thy lews forever
thy baited hooks shall tangle me no more (...)

imagine so many poets working the same form and producing
so many great pieces

just like today's poets, who
'know' the trade/craft, huh?

recently reading The Sonnets of Plutarch

and was suddenly struck

that the Italian Big Three all had a mind and an eye for "love at first sight... Cupid's darts

then a-cross the channel.... courtly love...

Alan Baker said...

Thanks for the comments Ed.

"they flee from me that sometimes did me seek..."

that was the first Wyatt poem I ever read - I still know it by heart today. Then Bunting sent me to the rest of Wyatt's work.

Sam said...

Thanks for posting this Alan. It gives me a good opportunity to re-visit Robert Creeley's response:

Wyatt's May

In May my welth and eke my liff, I say,
have stonde so oft in such perplexitie . . .

- Sir Thos. Wyatt

In England May's mercy
is generous. The mustard

covers fields in broad swaths,
the hedges are white flowered -

but it is meager, so said.
Having tea here, by the river,

huge castle, cathedral, time
passes by in undigested,

fond lumps. Wyatt died
while visiting friends nearby,

and is buried in Sherborne Abbey
"England's first sonnet-maker . . ."

May May reward him and all
he stood for more happily now

because he sang May,
maybe for all of us:

"Arise, I say, do May some obseruance!
Let me in bed lie dreaming in mischaunce . . ."

So does May's mind remember all
it thought of once.

Alan Baker said...

Excellent! Thanks for this Sam. I love it - wonderful final couplet.