38. To His Lute

Sir Thomas Wyatt. 1503-1542


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 said 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 sing, or sigh, 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 affecti˛n;
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 of earnest pain:
  Trow not alone under the sun
Unquit to cause thy lover's plain,
  Although my lute and I have done.

May chance thee lie wither'd 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 has lost and spent
  To cause thy lover's 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.

The Oxford Book of English Verse, HTML edition