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Short poem

Sir Thomas Wyatt (1503-1542)

The Long Love that in my Thought doth Harbour

              1The longë love that in my thought doth harbour
              2And in mine hert doth keep his residence,
              3Into my face presseth with bold pretence
              4And therein campeth, spreading his banner.
              5She that me learneth to love and suffer
              6And will that my trust and lustës negligence
              7Be rayned by reason, shame, and reverence,
              8With his hardiness taketh displeasure.
              9Wherewithall unto the hert's forest he fleeth,
            10Leaving his enterprise with pain and cry,
            11And there him hideth and not appeareth.
            12What may I do when my master feareth
            13But in the field with him to live and die?
            14For good is the life ending faithfully.


1] The source of the poem is Petrarch's 140th (109th) sonnet (Mestica, 213-14):

Amor, che nel penser mio vive e regna,
E 'l suo seggio maggior nel mio cor têne,
Talor armato ne la fronte vêne:
Ivi si loca, et ivi pon sua insegna.
Quella ch' amare e sofferir ne 'nsegna,
E vôl che 'l gran desio, l' accesa spene
Ragion, vergogna e reverenza affrene,
Di nostro ardir fra sé stessa si sdegna.
Onde Amor paventoso fugge al core,
Lasciando ogni sua impresa, e piange e trema;
Ivi s'asconde, e non appar piú fôre.
Che poss' io far, temendo il mio signore,
Se non star seco infin a l' ora estrema?
Ché bel fin fa chi ben amando more.
Cf. Surrey's Love, that liveth, a translation of the same sonnet.

Title: "The lover for shamefastnesse hideth his desire within his faithfull hart."

longë: lasting (the final "e" was probably sounded).
harbour: temporarily reside.

2] hert: Egerton MS. spelling (also line 9), playing on "hart" (=deer) and "heart."

4] spreading his banner: the look of someone in love, displayed unashamedly (a lord showing himself openly on the field of battle).

5] learneth: teaches.

6] will: to will, i.e., to make sure that.
trust and lustës negligence: (public) confidence (in her love) and the neglect (of propriety in showing) sexual desire (for her).

7] rayned: Egerton MS. spelling, playing on "reined" and "reigned."

8] his: the god of Love's.
hardiness: boldness.

9] the hert's forest: a phrase not in Petrarch, one that plays on "hart's"=(deer's) and "heart's."

13] in the field with him: inconsistent with line 9 (the lord has fled to the forest).

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. 5; cf. Richard Harrier, Canon (1975): 101-02.
First publication date: 1557
RPO poem editor: F. D. Hoeniger, Ian Lancashire
RP edition: RP 1963: I.3; RPO 1994.
Recent editing: 2:2002/4/24

Form: sonnet
Rhyme: abbaabbacdccdd

Other poems by Sir Thomas Wyatt