Lover Showeth How He Is Forsaken Of Such As He Sometime Enjoyed The 253

declare its more labored and challenging verse to be decidedly "un-Shakespearean" in style and tone.

further reading

Burrow, Colin, ed. Shakespeare: The Complete Sonnets and Poems. Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press, 2002.

Jackson, MacDonald P. "A Lover's Complaint Revisited."

Shakespeare Studies 32 (2004): 267-294. Sharon-Zisser, Shirley, ed. Suffering Ecstasy: Critical Essays on Shakespeare's A Lover's Complaint. Aldershot, U.K., and Burlington, Vt.: Ashgate, 2006.

Katie Musgrave

"LOVER SHOWETH HOW HE IS FORSAKEN OF SUCH AS HE SOMETIME ENJOYED, THE" Thomas Wyatt (1557) This poem appears in the 1557 collection Tottel's Miscellany. It is an edited version of Sir Thomas Wyatt's untitled poem known as "They Flee from Me." Reading Tottel's version of Wyatt's poem is instructive, not only because it demonstrates a surprising amount of editorial control over early modern poetic texts, but also because it provides a deeper appreciation for the expressive quality of Wyatt's irregular metrical line, a quality that is absent in Tottel's version.

In preparing Wyatt's original 161-word poem for publication, a title was added, 18 words and punctuation marks were changed or moved, and the last line was completely rewritten. Most of these changes were made to regularize Wyatt's rugged and powerful (but uneven) iambic pentameter.

A comparison of Wyatt's and Tottel's versions of line 13 provides a representative example of Tottel's changes. Wyatt's original reads:

While Tottel's version reads:

And therewithal so sweetly did me kiss. x / x x x / x / x /

Wyatt's line, irregularly metered, feels more like speech and echoes the previous line: "And she me caught in her arms long and small, / Therewithal sweetly did me kiss" (ll. 12-13). Tottel's revision is less speechlike and has a relentless, sing-song quality, including three consecutive lines that begin with And: "And she me caught . . . And therewithal . . . / And softly said." Tottel's addition of two filler words to Wyatt's line revision not only makes a 10-syllable line, the line itself is much more iambic— that is, containing a preponderance of groups of one unstressed syllable followed by a stressed syllable.

Tottel's intervention is most significant in the last two lines:


But since that I so kindely am served,

I would fain know what she hath deserved.


But since that I unkindely so am served, How like you this? What hath she now deserved?

Wyatt's closing lines are biting and cynical; there is venom just under the surface of the persona's closing comment. Wyatt's persona knows perfectly well what "she hath deserved," and it's nothing good. He puns on the word kindely, which here means both the modern "gently or friendly"—rather sarcastic in this context— but also the directly angry "according to her kind."

In changing Wyatt's comment into a pair of questions, Tottel's version is less complex and less acidic. Tottel's edit transforms Wyatt's sarcastic and ambiguous "so kindely" into the simple "unkindly." Finally, Tottel's final two questions directly address the reader, creating a shrill and angry tone. Tottel's changes, as in line 13 above, were made in order to preserve the regularity of the iambic pentameter. Wyatt's couplet has nine syllables in each line; Tottel adds an extra syllable to each to make up the full 10-syllable iambic pentameter line. Wyatt's couplet is highly metrically irregular, especially the final line, while Tottel's couplet is composed of 20 syllables of flawless iambic pentameter.

Part of the beauty of the Wyatt poem is that the per-sona's bitterness is not made explicit, but kept barely


restrained under a polished veneer. Tottel's edits make that bitterness more obvious. Tottel directly calls the departure of one of the women "a bitter fashion of forsaking," instead of Wyatt's more ambiguous "strange fashion of forsaking."

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