#FF Poem of the Week

Sir Thomas Wyatt, by Hans Holbein the Younger.jpgThey Flee From Me

By Sir Thomas Wyatt 1503–1542 

They flee from me that sometime did me seek
With naked foot, stalking in my chamber.
I have seen them gentle, tame, and meek,
That now are wild and do not remember
That sometime they put themself in danger
To take bread at my hand; and now they range,
Busily seeking with a continual change.
Thanked be fortune it hath been otherwise
Twenty times better; but once in special,
In thin array after a pleasant guise,
When her loose gown from her shoulders did fall,
And she me caught in her arms long and small;
Therewithall sweetly did me kiss
And softly said, “Dear heart, how like you this?”
It was no dream: I lay broad waking.
But all is turned thorough my gentleness
Into a strange fashion of forsaking;
And I have leave to go of her goodness,
And she also, to use newfangleness.
But since that I so kindly am served
I would fain know what she hath deserved.

Graven with diamonds: the many lives of Thomas Wyatt, courtier, poet, assassin, spyThomas Wyatt – courtier, poet, assassin, spy (read Graven with diamonds by Nicola Shulman) was in love with Anne Boleyn (the poem is about a fickle mistress and the trials of romantic love but not necessarily Anne) . According to his grandson George Wyatt, the moment Thomas Wyatt saw “this new beauty” on her return from France in winter 1522 he fell in love with her. When she attracted King Henry VIII‘s attentions sometime around 1525, Wyatt was the last of Anne’s other suitors to be ousted by the king.

And graven with diamonds in letters plain
There is written, her fair neck round about:
Noli me tangere, for Caesar’s I am…
He was imprisoned on charges of adultery but eventually freed, thanks to his father’s friendship with Thomas Cromwell.