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Short poem

Sir Thomas Wyatt (1503-1542)

Is it Possible

              1Is it possible
              2That so high debate,
              3So sharp, so sore, and of such rate,
              4Should end so soon and was begun so late?
              5Is it possible?

              6Is it possible
              7So cruel intent,
              8So hasty heat and so soon spent,
              9From love to hate, and thence for to relent?
            10Is it possible?

            11Is it possible
            12That any may find
            13Within one heart so diverse mind,
            14To change or turn as weather and wind?
            15Is it possible?

            16Is it possible
            17To spy it in an eye
            18That turns as oft as chance on die,
            19The truth whereof can any try?
            20Is it possible?

            21It is possible
            22For to turn so oft,
            23To bring that lowest which was most aloft,
            24And to fall highest yet to light soft:
            25It is possible.

            26All is possible
            27Whoso list believe.
            28Trust therefore first, and after preve,
            29As men wed ladies by licence and leave.
            30All is possible.


3] rate: quality, pace.

14] as weather and wind: proverbial (Tilley W439).

18] die: dice, with quibble on the verb "die."

24] to fall highest: being highest, in falling.

26-30] The punctuation and segmentation are editorial. Different interpretations may be obtained by pointing these lines differently. E.g., one might read

All is possible.
[For] Whoso list believe
"Trust therefore first and after preve,"
As men [who] wed ladies by licence and leave,
All is possible.

27] Whoso list: whoever please to.

28] preve: prove, find out if true.

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 Devonshire MS. 2711, fol. 14; cf. Collected Poems of Sir Thomas Wyatt, ed. Kenneth Muir and Patricia Thomson (Liverpool, 1969): 194-95.
First publication date: 1815
RPO poem editor: F. D. Hoeniger, Ian Lancashire
RP edition: RP 1963: I.10; RPO 1994.
Recent editing: 2:2002/4/24

Composition date note: Unknown. The attribution to Wyatt is uncertain.
Rhyme: abbba

Other poems by Sir Thomas Wyatt