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Short poem

Sir Thomas Wyatt (1503-1542)

I Abide and Abide and Better Abide

              1I abide and abide and better abide,
              2And after the old proverb, the happy day;
              3And ever my lady to me doth say,
              4"Let me alone and I will provide."
              5I abide and abide and tarry the tide,
              6And with abiding speed well ye may.
              7Thus do I abide I wot alway,
              8Nother obtaining nor yet denied.
              9Ay me! this long abiding
            10Seemeth to me, as who sayeth,
            11A prolonging of a dying death,
            12Or a refusing of a desir'd thing.
            13Much were it better for to be plain
            14Than to say "abide" and yet shall not obtain.


1] First printed by Nott.

2] old proverb. This proverb is found in the Envoy to the "Plaint," once attributed to Chaucer: "Better is it to suffer and fortune abide/Than hastily to clime and sodenly to slyde."

5] tarry the tide: bide my time, wait (proverbial).

6] Wyatt ironically observes that the lady ("ye") does fine with her "abiding speed" ("continuing success").

7] I wot alway: forever, for all I know.

8] Nother: neither.

10] as who sayeth: what one might call, as they say.

13] to be plain: say her mind, not equivocate, i.e., reject him.

Online text copyright © 2003, Ian Lancashire for the Department of English, University of Toronto.
Published by the Web Development Group, Information Technology Services, University of Toronto Libraries.

Original text: British Library Library Additional MS 17492 (Devonshire MS), fol. 77v; cf. Collected Poems, ed. Kenneth Muir and Patricia Thomson (Liverpool University Press, 1969): 231.
First publication date: 1815
RPO poem editor: F. D. Hoeniger, Ian Lancashire
RP edition: RP 1963: I.4; RPO 1994.
Recent editing: 2:2002/4/24

Form: sonnet
Rhyme: abbaabbacddcee

Other poems by Sir Thomas Wyatt