- I find no peace, and all my war is done.
- I fear and hope. I burn and freeze like ice.
- I fly above the wind, yet can I not arise;
- And nought I have, and all the world I sea
- That loseth nor locketh holdeth me in prison
- And holdeth me not—yet can I scape no wise—
- Nor letteth me live nor die at my device,
- And yet of death it giveth me occasion.
- Without eyen I see, and without tongue I plain.
- I desire to perish, and yet I ask health.
- I love another, and thus I hate myself.
- I feed me in sorrow and laugh in all my pain;
- Likewise displeaseth me both life and death,
- And my delight is causer of this strife. E
Nought: Old English for ‘nothing’.
-Eth: Third-person singular simple present indicative form.
Scape: Abbreviation of ‘escape’.
Device: A plan, method, or trick with a particular aim.
Eyen: Old English for ‘eyes’.
Plain: Abbreviation of ‘explain’.
Strife: Angry or bitter disagreement over fundamental issues.
3. Summary and analysis
This poem is about how love can lead to conflicting emotions; about how love can make you feel sorrow, pain, joy and confusion at the same time.
It makes use of antithesis (oxymoron and paradox), juxtapositions, i.e. concepts are stated next to each other to emphasise the contrast between them.
It shows a feeling of ambiguity (he cannot choose what feeling is stronger) and duality (two extremes). Every concept is a metaphor for his feeling while being in love.
It is unclear why this love is so difficult for the narrator; it could be because his love is unanswered, forbidden or not possible because of the situation they are in.
- Line 1: “I find no peace and all my war is done.”.
At the end of the war, you expect to find peace. But even after the war of Wyatt, after all the fighting (to make this love work), he still does not find any peace. The war of Wyatt is a metaphor for his love problems. Wyatt can be indicating that love leads to a battle between his heart and his head; though the love feels right, Wyatt cannot quiet his mind to the unsettling knowledge that his love is not a practical or logical choice. ‘All’ and ‘war’ makes use of assonance.
- Line 2: “I fear and hope. I burn and freeze like ice”.
‘Fear’ and ‘hope’, ‘burn’ and ‘freeze’ are both contradicting statements, which depicts the conflicting feelings of Wyatt. Love makes him fear, yet it gives him hope. Wyatt uses ‘burn’ and ‘freeze’ to symbolize his confusion about love. This line makes use of oxymorons twice. ‘Like ice’ makes use of a simile and assonance.
- Line 3-4: “I fly above the wind, yet can I not arise.
And nought I have, and all the world I seize on;”
Love makes him feel like flying high in the sky, as free as a bird, yet there is something that is holding or tying him down. He has nothing, but the world is his to take; this symbolizes that love makes him feel empty yet full. These lines use oxymorons again.
- Line 5-6: “That looseth nor locketh holdeth me in prison
And holdeth me not, yet can I ‘scape nowise;”
Wyatt says there is nothing that is able to imprison or hold him, but love makes him feel that way; it is not actually holding him, yet it feels that way. Because he is not actually imprisoned, it just feels that way, he cannot escape. In Line 5, ‘Looseth nor locketh’, the poet makes use of an alliteration to emphasise his statement. ‘Locketh’ and ‘holdeth’, as well as ‘holdeth’ and ‘not’, makes use of assonance. ‘Holdeth’ is a repetition. These lines use oxymorons again. Lines 5, 6 and 7 form enjambment.
- Line 7-8: “Nor letteth me live, nor die at my device,
And yet of death it giveth me occasion.”
Wyatt feels like his love does not let him live like he wants to, nor does it let him die. He thinks that dying would be an opportunity or escape to stop carrying around this confusing burden that love has given him. However, many poets from the Renaissance used ‘death’ as a rhetorical device rather than for the literal meaning. Wyatt could use the concept of death as an extreme threat to convince the reader of the genuineness of his claim. Alliteration is used at ‘letteth’ and ‘live’, as well as ‘die’ and ‘device’. ‘Die’, ‘my’, ‘device’ are assonance. These lines use oxymorons again.
- Line 9: “Without eyen, I see; and without tongue I plain;”
Yet again, Wyatt uses hyperboles (exaggeration) to explain his inner conflict and confusion. This time, he says that he can express himself without his tongue and see without his eyes. This line uses oxymorons again. ‘Without’ is a repetition here.
- Line 10: “I desire to perish, and yet I ask health;”
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