They flee from me that sometime me did seek


Here is a very old English poem from Sir Thomas Wyatt.  It has always been a puzzle to me.

Academic critics say that  “Wyatt wrote the poem to question the social standard of his time and to induce response from his readers ” and more informal ones say it is “the best breakup song:

1.Wait, what? They used to come running after me.

2.Especially this one girl. Man, she was so hot.

3.It’s true. Now she won’t even talk to me. I must have been too nice.”


I know it’s not about wild creatures who once were tame, but that image still stays with me.


They Flee From Me            by Sir Thomas Wyatt

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.




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