Sir Thomas Wyatt's "The flee from me..."


They flee from me, that sometime did me seek,
With naked foot stalking within my chamber:
Once have I seen them gentle, tame, and meek,
That now are wild, and do not once remember,
That sometime they have put themselves in danger
To take bread at my hand; and now they range
Busily seeking in continual change.
Thanked be Fortune, it hath been otherwise
Twenty times better; but once especial,
In thin array, after a pleasant guise,
When her loose gown did from her shoulders fall,
And she me caught in her arms long and small,
And therewithall sweetly did me kiss,
And softly said, “Dear heart, how like you this?”
It was no dream; for I lay broad awaking:
But all is turn’d now through my gentleness,
Into a bitter fashion of forsaking;
And I have leave to go of her goodness;
And she also to use new fangleness.
But since that I unkindly so am served:
How like you this, what hath she now deserved?

London: printed by Richard Tottel, 1557


        They fle from me that sometyme did me seke
        With naked fote stalking in my chambre.
        I have sene theim gentill, tame, and meke
        That nowe are wyld and do not remembre
5     That sometyme they put theimself in daunger
        To take bred at my hand; and nowe they raunge
        Besely seking with a continuell chaunge.

        Thancked be fortune it hath ben othrewise
        Twenty tymes better, but ons in speciall,
10     In thyn arraye after a pleasaunt gyse,
        When her lose gowne from her shoulders did fall,
        And she me caught in her armes long and small,
        Therewithall swetely did me kysse,
        And softely said "dere hert, howe like you this?"

15     It was no dreme: I lay brode waking.
        But all is torned thorough my gentilnes
        Into a straunge fasshion of forsaking;
        And I have leve to goo of her goodeness,
        And she also to vse new fangilnes.
20     But syns that I so kyndely ame served,
        I would fain knowe what she hath deserved.


Egerton MS 2271 (Wyatt autograph?)