The Lover Forsaketh His Unkind Love


Sir Thomas Wyatt the Elder

1. not to do it pain: not to make it hurt.
2. to preserve . . .taken: i.e., I took my heart to you to have you keep it safe.
 1   My heart I gave thee, not to do it pain,
 2   But to preserve it was to thee was taken.
 3   I served thee, not to be forsaken,
4-5. that I ... remain: i.e., I was happy to always be your servant as long as I could expect some reward in return.
 4   But that I should be rewarded again.
 5   I was content thy servant to remain,
6. payed: i.e., repaid. this fashion: —It is evident that speaker feels betrayed, but he provides few details. 7-8. Now since . . . refrain: i.e., Since there is no reason for your betrayal, other than it is your pleasure, let it not diplease you that I refrain from loving you. 9-10. Unsatiate . . . . thy fault! i.e., I'm quitting this game before I've had more than I can take of my woe and your desire, and even though you have craftily assured me that there is a good excuse for your betrayal! 11. to feign a default: i.e., to pretend that it's all my fault. 13. believeth bearing in head: i.e., believes what he hears from someone who is only stringing him along.
 6   But not to be payed after this fashion.
 7   Now since in thee is none other reason,
 8   Displease thee not if that I do refrain;
 9   Unsatiate of my woe, and thy desire!
10   Assured by craft to excuse thy fault!
11   But since it please thee to feign a default,
12   Farewell! I say, parting from the fire.
13   For he that believeth bearing in hand,
14   Plougheth in water, and soweth in the sand.

More Notes:
--The word "unkind" (see the title) means both "not kind" and "not natural."
--The form is Wyatt's own invention. The first quatrain makes it look like an Italian sonnet, but the concluding couplet is characteristic of the English sonnet.