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Short poem

Sir Thomas Wyatt (1503-1542)

In Spain

              1Tagus, farewell! that westward with thy streams
              2Turns up the grains of gold already tried
              3With spur and sail, for I go seek the Thames
              4Gainward the sun that shewth her wealthy pride,
              5And to the town which Brutus sought by dreams,
              6Like bended moon doth lend her lusty side.
              7My king, my country, alone for whome I live,
              8Of mighty love the wings for this me give.


1] The autograph copy is without a title, but in Tottel's miscellany (1557) this poem is published as follows, without attribution to Wyatt, under the title "Of his returne from Spaine" (L1r). (Variants from the Wyatt's own autograph manuscript are bolded in the Tottel text.)

TAgus farewel that westward with thy stremes
Turnes vp the graines of gold already tried,
For I with spurre and saile go seke the temmes,
Gaineward the sunne that sheweth her welthy pride,
And to the towne that Brutus sought by dreames,
Like bended mone that leanes her lusty side.
My king, my countrey, I seke for whom I liue,
O mighty Ioue the windes for this me geue.
The revisions appear not to be Wyatt's. His point is that London as a "bended mone" adds its powers of attraction to those of the sun, found against the city's Thames, to draw him home. Wyatt's direct appeal to the Protestant king, Henry VIII, is replaced during Mary's catholic reign by a conventional address to Jove.

Tagus: River in Spain well known for its golden sands.

4] Gainward: against, i.e., eastward.

5] which: replacing Wyatt's thorn (evidently intending "yt") and added above.
Brutus: founder of New Troy, that is, London: a descendant of Aeneus, son of Priam, king of Troy in the war with the Greeks under Agamemnon.

6] bended moon: possibly alluding to the shape of the walled city of London, which rests like a sickle- or half-moon northwards from the Thames.

7] My king: Henry VIII.
alone: added by Wyatt above the line with a caret.
I live: added by Wyatt at line's end after he crossed out "only alone".

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 Egerton MS. 2711, fol. 69 (holograph); cf. Richard Harrier, Canon (1975): 211; facsimile in Anthony G. Petti, English Literary Hands from Chaucer to Dryden (London: Edward Arnold, 1977).
First publication date: 1557
RPO poem editor: Ian Lancashire
RP edition: RPO 1997.
Recent editing: 2:2002/4/24

Composition date: June 1539
Rhyme: abababcc

Other poems by Sir Thomas Wyatt