Works of Wyatt, Betjeman, and Shakespeare
Commonplace Book – Pages 49-52
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 themselves 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 this array, after a pleasant guise,
When her loose gown from her shoulders did fall,
And she me caught in her arms long and small,
And therewith all 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 fain would know what she hath deserved.
Let me take this other glove off
As the vox humana swells,
And the beauteous fields of Eden
Bask beneath the Abbey bells.
Here, where England’s statesmen lie,
Listen to a lady’s cry.
Gracious Lord, oh bomb the Germans
Spare their women for Thy Sake,
And if that is not too easy
We will pardon Thy Mistake.
But, gracious Lord, whate’er shall be,
Don’t let anyone bomb me.
Keep our Empire undismembered
Guide our Forces by Thy Hand,
Gallant blacks from far Jamaica,
Honduras and Togoland;
Protect them Lord in all their fights,
And, even more, protect the whites.
Think of what our Nation stands for,
Books from Boots and country lanes,
Free speech, free passes, class distinction
Democracy and proper drains.
Lord, put beneath Thy special care
One-eighty-nine Cadogan Square.
Although dear Lord I am a sinner.
I have done no major crime;
Now I’ll come to Evening Service
Whensoever I have the time
So, Lord, reserve for me a crown,
And do not let my shares go down.
I will labour for Thy Kingdom,
Help our lads to win the war,
Send white feathers to the cowards
Join the Women’s Army Corps,
Then wash the Steps Around Thy Throne
In the Eternal Safety Zone.
Now I feel a little better,
What a treat to hear Thy Word,
Where the bones of leading statesmen,
Have so often been interr’d.
And now, dear Lord, I cannot wait
Because I have a luncheon date.
That time of year thou mayst in me behold
When yellow leaves, or none, or few, do hang
Upon those boughs which Shake against the cold,
Bare ruined choirs, where late the sweet birds sang:
In me thou seest the twilight of such day
As after sunset fadeth in the west,
Which by and by black night doth take away
Death’s second self, that seals up all in rest
In me thou seest the glowing of such fire
That on the ashes of his youth doth lie,
As the deathbed whereon it must expire,
Consumed with that which it was nourished by
This thou perceivest, which makes thy love more strong
To love that well which thou must leave ere long.
Thou Art as Tyrannous, So as Thou Art (1609) by William Shakespeare (1564 – 1616)
Thou art as tyrannous, so as thou art,
As those whose beauties proudly make them cruel;
For well thou know’st to my dear doting heart
Thou art the fairest and most precious jewel.
Yet, in good faith, some say that thee behold
Thy face hath not the power to make love groan;
To say they err I dare not be so bold,
Although I swear it to myself alone.
And, to be sure that is not false I swear,
A thousand groans, but thinking on thy face,
One on another’s neck, do witness bear
Thy black is fairest in my judgment’s place.
In nothing art thou black save in thy deeds,
And thence this slander, as I think, proceeds.