My Lute Awake

Original Text: 
British Library Egerton MS. 2711, fol. 43v-44; cf. Richard Harrier, Canon (1975): 157-58.
3And end that I have now begun;
4For when this song is sung and past,
5My lute be still, for I have done.
6As to be heard where ear is none,
8My song may pierce her heart as soon;
9Should we then sigh or sing or moan?
10No, no, my lute, for I have done.
11The rocks do not so cruelly
12Repulse the waves continually,
13As she my suit and affection;
14So that I am past remedy,
15Whereby my lute and I have done.
16Proud of the spoil that thou hast got
18By whom, unkind, thou hast them won,
20Although my lute and I have done.
21Vengeance shall fall on thy disdain
23Think not alone under the sun
25Although my lute and I have done.
29Thy wishes then dare not be told;
31And then may chance thee to repent
32The time that thou hast lost and spent
33To cause thy lovers sigh and swoon;
34Then shalt thou know beauty but lent,
35And wish and want as I have done.
36Now cease, my lute; this is the last
37Labour that thou and I shall waste,
38And ended is that we begun.
39Now is this song both sung and past:
40My lute be still, for I have done.


1] "The louer complayneth the vnkindnes of his loue" (Tottel). Back to Line
2] labour: work, and petition. Back to Line
7] lead to grave: lead to engrave (lead is not hard enough to cut marble). Back to Line
17] thorough: through
Love's shot: Cupid's arrow. Back to Line
19] his bow forgot: Cupid's bow, still a danger for the lady. Back to Line
22] makest but game on: only makes fun of. Back to Line
24] Unquit: unrequited, not subjected to pain.
plain: to complain. Back to Line
26] wethered: withered (possibly weathered). Back to Line
27] nights: Devonshire MS reading; Egerton MS "night". Back to Line
28] plaining: complaining. Back to Line
30] who list: who likes. Back to Line
Publication Start Year: 
RPO poem Editors: 
F. D. Hoeniger; Ian Lancashire
RPO Edition: 
RP 1963: I.8; RPO 1994.