They flee from me that Sometime did me Seek

Original Text: 
British Library Egerton MS. 2711, fol. 26v; cf. Richard Harrier, Canon (1975): 131-32.
3I have seen them gentle, tame, and meek,
4That now are wild and do not remember
6To take bread at my hand; and now they range,
7Busily seeking with a continual change.
8Thanked be fortune it hath been otherwise
11When her loose gown from her shoulders did fall,
13Therewithall sweetly did me kiss
17Into a strange fashion of forsaking;
21I would fain know what she hath deserved.


1] "The louer sheweth how he is forsaken of such as he sometime enioyed" (Tottel). Back to Line
2] stalking: walking carefully in a stealthy way. Back to Line
5] in danger: under obligation to me, in my debt (or possibly even: in my power). Back to Line
9] Twenty times better: better on twenty occasions; or more than twenty times?
in special: especially. Back to Line
10] pleasant guise: pleasing style, or possibly behaviour or livery (dress). Back to Line
12] small: slender. Back to Line
14] heart: a play on "hart." Back to Line
15] broad waking: wide awake. Back to Line
16] thorough: through. Back to Line
18] leave to go of her goodness: her gracious permission to go (ironically). Back to Line
19] newfangleness: literally: fondness for novelty, following the fashion; fickleness. Back to Line
20] kindly: in a kind way (ironically), and according to nature (as a wild animal would behave). Back to Line
Publication Start Year: 
RPO poem Editors: 
F. D. Hoeniger; Ian Lancashire
RPO Edition: 
RP 1963: I.7 (F. D. Hoeniger); RPO 1994 (IL).