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I abide and abide and better abide,
And after the old proverb, the happy day;
And ever my lady to me doth say,
“Let me alone and I will provide.”
I abide and abide and tarry the tide,
And with abiding speed well ye may.
Thus do I abide I wot alway,
Nother obtaining nor yet denied.
Ay me! this long abiding
Seemeth to me, as who sayeth,
A prolonging of a dying death,
Or a refusing of a desir’d thing.
Much were it better for to be plain
Than to say “abide” and yet shall not obtain.
[ed. note: Tradition tells us that this poem — which compares separation from the beloved to a prolonged death — was written for Anne Boleyn, the wife of King Henry VIII. In 1536 Wyatt was imprisoned in the Tower for quarreling with the Duke of Suffolk, and possibly also because he was suspected of being one of Anne Boleyn’s lovers. During this imprisonment Wyatt witnessed the execution of Anne Boleyn on May 19, 1536. For more about Wyatt’s life, see Anniina Jokinen’s excellent article here.]
Sir Thomas Wyatt (1503–1542)