Treasure Island

Sir Thomas Wyatt

(1503-1542 / Kent / England)

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Farewell Love and All Thy Laws Forever


Farewell love and all thy laws forever;
Thy baited hooks shall tangle me no more.
Senec and Plato call me from thy lore
To perfect wealth, my wit for to endeavour.
In blind error when I did persever,
Thy sharp repulse, that pricketh aye so sore,
Hath taught me to set in trifles no store
And scape forth, since liberty is lever.
Therefore farewell; go trouble younger hearts
And in me claim no more authority.
With idle youth go use thy property
And thereon spend thy many brittle darts,
For hitherto though I have lost all my time,
Me lusteth no lenger rotten boughs to climb.

Submitted: Thursday, May 17, 2001

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  • Michael Pruchnicki (11/22/2009 9:39:00 AM)

    How about the idea that a work of art expresses the universal through the concrete and the particular. Aristotle declared that POETRY is more universal than history, which is evidently the point of Straw's argument as I read it. Consider Shakespeare and his ability to bring to life the multitude of characters in his plays. Somehow each character rings true. Of course the poet never killed a king nor betrayed his friends, but the concrete and particular instances express the universals of human existence.

    Wyatt's sonnet expresses these universals in concrete instances. The disappointed lover in the first quatrain decides to study philosophy instead of wasting his time being tempted by futile endeavors to win his lady. Better be a stoic who endures pain or a Platonist who seeks the ideal. He continues in the next quatrain to repeat that he's learned his lesson. Finally he declares that love's game is for the young and that he will no longer risk falling from great heights. The speaker is Wyatt's persona as a jilted lover who has learned well and truly what he should seek! Ain't that the truth for all of us? (Report) Reply

  • Kevin Straw (11/22/2009 6:29:00 AM)

    It is a mistake to think poetry is biographical. The poet speaks for humanity in all its thoughts and feelings. He is not tied to his own experience but can imagine a feeling and a situation which he might never have had biographically. He is like an actor who can represent a character with absolute authenticity and yet himself be nothing like. By the means of sympathy and the imagination we can most of us feel and think what others are thinking and feeling - the poet has the power to express that. (Report) Reply

  • Ramesh T A (11/22/2009 1:07:00 AM)

    It seems experience has taught Thomas Wyatt to shun love which is suitable only for the youngsters! A nice sonnet to read! (Report) Reply

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