Monday, 5 September 2011

Sir Thomas Wyatt I find no peace




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 seson;
   That loseth nor locketh holdeth me in prison;
      And holdeth me not; yet can I scape nowise,
      Nor letteth me live nor die at my devise,
      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 death and life,
      And my delight is causer of this strife.
I fynde no peace and all my warr is done,
      I fere and hope, I burn and freise like yse,
      I fley above the wynde, yet can I not arrise,
      And noght I have and all the worold I seson ;
   That loseth nor locketh holdeth me in prison ;
      And holdeth me not ; yet can I scape nowise :
      Nor letteth me live nor dye at my devise :
      And yet of deth it gyveth me occasion.
   Withoute Iyen I se ; and without tong I plain :
      I desire to perisshe, and yet I aske helthe ;
      I love an othr : and thus I hate myself ;
   I fede me in sorrowe : and laugh in all my pain :
      Likewise displeaseth me both deth and lyff :
      And my delite is causer of this stryff.

Lines 1- 4 : No peaceno mental repose: mind without rest ; mind de­void of quietitude.  I find no peacethe speaker is the poet himself; his mind is enburdened with uncertainty and restiveness which seal off the passage of peace and rest into his mind.  He is passing days of anxiety and tension.  War — conflict of mind which is caused by his intense love for his lady-love.  Donehere it means ‘comes to an end’ or no longer existing. War  is donedoubts and conflicts which are raging in his mind come to an end. The poet, who is portrayed as a lover, is now free and all his doubts and anxieties are removed from his mind.
Comments : The poet’s mind is sandwiched between despondency and optimism. This antithetical feelings reveals his mind constantly pendulating between two opposed states of mind. He lacks the firmness of mind, fixity of thinking and strength of mind which are the common characteristics of a true lover who is overwhelmed by the ecstasy of love, which epitomises  Petrarchan feeling of love.
Fear and hope - despondency and optimism. This represents his mental conflict. Fear and hope have been two distinct entities in his mind. He lives with both fear and hope with equal intensity. This is another anthetical anguishing states of his mind which is quite irresistable. Burn is extremely agitated. He grows fierce and extremely excited. Freeze like cold be­comes petrified in fear. This simile is used by the poet to express his mind gripped by fear.

Comments   :  This line deals with the lover’s strange experience of antithetical feelings which reveal the conflicts working actively in his mind. He is depressed and frustrated at the intensity of his unsettled love. As he lacks the power to resist his fear, he cannot help bearing meek passivity. He has dropped his hope to cope with the situation.
Fly — soar ; in the strict sense, it means exalted in spirit. I fly above the wind — He feels himself elevated. Arise - rise higher than the level of wind. The poet seeks happiness and spiritual uplift but fails to raise himself be­cause he feels lacking in spirit. His lack of mental stength to rise above his material limitation is stresseed here through the poet’s wonderful juxtapo­sition of happy and unhappy states of mind.
Comments :  The powerful effect of love on a true lover is clearly indi­cated here. This constitutes the theme of love which typifies a favourite aspect of the Petrarchan sonnet.
Naught — nothing. I have — the lover possesses. The lover possesses nothing and this is the frank expression of his despondency and disappoint­ment. Seize — hold or captture. The poet feels that he captures the entire world, but actually he posesses nothing.
Comments :  Another beautiful antithetical statement is used to, stress the lover’s mental conflicts that produce restlessness and uncertainty in his mind. The poet is obsessed by the antithetical forces which have an ener­vating effect on his mind, disturb him greatly and thus take away the peace and rest of mind.

Line 5-8 : Looselh-releases. Locketh-detains. The poet says that the world neither releases nor detains him. Holdeth- Keeps. Holdeth me in prison-imprisons or incarcerates him. ‘Scape-escape, get rid of. Can I scape nowise-he cannot get rid of the painful situation which is both irresisible and unbearable.
Comments : What is emphasized here is the poet’s painful state of mind. His state of mind is confounding. He is disgusted with the world. Contrary forces pull him and disturb the quietitude of his mind. He lacks inner power to resist and cope with this anguishing situation his intense pas­sion of love. The passion of love as indicated here is purely Petrarchan.

Letteth : allows or permits ; Devise — will. At my devise — in accordance with his will. Nor letteth me... devise — Love overpowers and dominates his will and action and does not permit him to act independently. The poet is unable to live or die in accordance with his will. He is under the control of love for both his life and death. Yet — at the same time. Giveth some occa­sion — does not explain the reason of his longing for death. The poet is mentally much disturbed ; to be relieved of this disturbing state of mind; lie cannot wish for death, because he does not dominate death, rather he is dominated by love which restrains him from wishing to die.
Comments : The first eight lines of the sonnet which form the octave deal with the mental state of the lover, who is much disturbed by the con­flicting forces, created in his mind by his intense passion of love. Wyatt is specially praised for his artistic portrayal of the restiveness of the lover in matters of life and death. The explanation of the restless lover’s mind is essentially psychological.

Line 9-12 :  Without eyen I see ............... all my pain.
Without eyen — without eyes. See — visualise. The lover can visualise all without two eyes. Plain — complain or lament. Desire — wish. To perish — to die. Ask health — seek health. The lover longs for his sound health, though he wants to die. His desire for death and at the same time for his own sound health brings out the conflicting states of his mind.
Comments : The poet as the lover is mentally so much disturbed and depressed that he feels to have lost his physical faculties of seeing and speaking, yet he claims that he can visualize all and express his dissatis­faction and restlessness. It is quite strange to find that he simultaneously wishes for death and sound heath and this statement evidences the fact that his intensse passion of love has made his mind a bit mentally unhinged.

I love another — the lover declares that he loves somebody whom he wants to have his partner of life. He is deeply attached to his ladylove. Hate myself — he is so much vexed with and perturbed by the conflicting states of mind that he has lost the zest of life, and so hatred for his own life has developed in him. This feelings is caused by his repulsion at his own self. Feed in sorrow — lives in grief ; nourishes his grief. Laugh in all my pain — laugh at or mock the pang of his life; he bears it meekly and mutely.
Comments : The lover’s frank confession of love for his ladylove is indicated here. The line “I love another and thus I hate myself” is a fine example of antithesis and contains the antithetical feelings, actively work­ing in the lover’s mind ; This disturbs his mental peace and rest. The lover is thus portrayed as greatly agitated and anguished.

Lines 13 - 14 : Likewise — in the same or similar way; equally ; displeaseth — displeases or dissatisfies or dislikes. The lover equally dislikes life and death. This idea is very peculiar because life and death are the two realities which guarantee our beings. When we do not like life, it means then that we welcome or invite death and we hate death to ensure life i.e. to lengthen our existence on this planet. But the lover is so greatly preoccupied with the restlessness of life caused by the raging mental conflicts that he seems to be indifferent to both life and death. My delight — the objects that glad­dens or delights him. This object is the lady whom the poet loves. It may refer to his joy of life. Causer — that which causes; that which is responsible for. This strife — the conflicting states of his mind.
Comments   :  These two lines form the rhyming couplet which antici­pates the Shakeapearean form. Mere the lover summarizes the reason for which he is subjected to the acute mental anguish and agitation . He frankly admits or it is clearly indicated that the ecstasy of love causes all his retlessness.   He is portrayed as such a lover as is always haunted by his antithetical feelings.


This poem is written in a form that is very similar to a Petrarchan sonnet. It has 14 lines and a rhyme scheme that divides it into an octave (a group of eight lines) and a sestet (a group of six lines). However, there are some variations on its form compared to a Petrarchan sonnet. The lines are not written in strict iambic pentameters (that is, ten syllables per line with a pattern of stress) and the rhyme scheme, although it conforms to a Petrarchan sonnet in the octave with its rhyme scheme of abbaabba, varies in the sestet becoming cddcdd as opposed to ccdeed. The rhymes, particularly in the sestet, can be described as half rhymes, with "death" being made to rhyme with "strife" in the last two lines, perhaps indicating the disparity the speaker of the poem finds within himself in his divided state, as explored through the poem.

Critical Essay
If the modern reader reads few lines from Surrey’s Epitaph on Sir Thomas Wyatt, he/she can easily understand how he appeared before his contemporaries as the first Renaissance gentleman-poet. Surrey writes in the very year of Wyatt’s death that he had a courtier’s eye, a scholar’s tongue, and a hand that “taught what may be said in rhyme, / That reft Chaucer the glory of his wit.” Under cultural demands created by the Renaissance when Wyatt took to writing poetry, he faced the problem of restoring gravity and cogency of utterance to English verse after a period of linguistic transformation in the century following Chaucer, during which pronunciation had altered and metrical patterns had gone to pieces. He was forced to seek help from the Italian sonnet. The sonnet was a highly conventional form, a form that demanded discipline and craftsmanship from on the poet’s part, and challenged the poet to mould his thought with will and aptness to the precise shape of those fourteen balanced lines. Wyatt along with other “courtly makers” emerged as craftsmen, treating the conventional subject matter over and over again in their attempts to hammer out a disciplined yet flexible poetic style.
The Petrarchan sonnet provides the English poet not only with a form but also with the sentiments. The whole nature of the relation between the poet and his beloved had become conventionalised in terms of an idealized courtly love attitude, which Petrarch had manifested toward Laura in his love sonnets. The notion of the lover as the humble servant of the fair lady, injured by her glance, tempest-tossed in seas of despair in rejection, changing in mood according to the presence or absence of his beloved—was derived from the medieval view of courtly love, a concept of love which arose out of the changing attitude towards women centring round Virgin Mary as an ideal example. At this point it must be pointed out that the imported poetic theme had also become essential for satisfying the mental needs and cultural tastes of the English gentlemen created by the Renaissance. That is why we find the historical existence of the English counterparts of Laura almost for all the 16th century sonneteers.
Wyatt’s I Find No Peace is a sonnet set typically in the Petrarchan tradition; it has the same five rhymes—abcde, and can be divided in two parts—octave and sestet. But it should be pointed out here that Wyatt deviates from the Petrarchan model in a number of ways. While in the former the theme of the poem is introduced in the octave and developed in the sestet, Wyatt’s poem does not maintain the division and distribution of thought. The poet begins by enumerating the conflicting states of mind occasioned by the onset of love:
“I find no peace and all my war is done,
I fear and hope, I burn and freeze like ice…”
These carefully chosen monosyllabic words contain enough information so as to inform the readers what has gone before. His ‘peace’ of mind has been destroyed by the ‘war’ he has been waging against himself and his ladylove in order to win her love. It may be surmised here whether after finding his “war is done”, that is, his game over, he resorts to writing this sonnet in an attempt to communicate to her the words of his desire; for, the rest of the lines in the poem are set almost as disguised appeals, as desperate cries to the mistress. This is nowhere so prominent as in the second line, the poet speaks of experiencing contrary thoughts and emotions: he is afraid of his supposed rejection by her, and that is why gets frozen at this thought. But at the same time he is hopeful of the prospect of winning her favour, and this leads him to ‘burn’ in desire for her. It may be pointed out here that Wyatt’s description of the impact of love, which has not been won, conforms to the onset of love generated by the first secretion of the hormones in the human body. Quite consistent with this the poet finds himself daydreaming about an ideal situation: “I fly above the wind…”; but the next moment the reverie breaks down and he finds himself forlorn heavy with the thoughts of failure and fails to ‘arise’ out of the situation.
In the fourth line the poet has actually descended on the most dominant aspect of love in his confession, namely its possessive aspect. Love is a possessive instinct and it determines the passage of passion. When Wyatt thinks that he has not secured his beloved’s love, he feels “naught I have”, but the next moment when he hopes he might win her, it seems to him that “all the world I seize on”. The point is that for him the physical possession of the beloved is the physical possession of the world, that is to say, it dictates the terms for his existence in time and space. Conjoined with this, however, another aspect love also emerges in the next two lines. It was a prevalent thought during the Renaissance that the amorous gaze or glance of the beloved, like the one of a sorceress, might cast a spell, which may act as a trap for the helpless lover. The words—“yet can I ’scape nowise—betray this kind of sense.
The helplessness of the lover reaches its climax at the very middle, in the seventh line, when the poet speaks of death. [It is psychologically plausible that a frustrated may think of death as the last way-out of the sufferings of love. For the Renaissance poets the word ‘death’, however, operated more on the rhetorical level as an extreme thought, as an extreme threat to convince the reader of the genuineness of his claim than on the plain of reality as an act. The effect of Saint John’s “The Apocalypse” in the New Testament might have played a significant role in disseminating this idea.]
The theme of death has been carried on to the sestet, and here it means putting an end to physical existence, which loses significance if he fails in securing the beloved’s favour. But unlike the speaker of a Petrarchan sonnet the theme of the octave has not been discussed here in order to resolve the conflicts. Again, it is only in the twelfth line of the poem that we are given the information regarding his mental agitation, that the poet has fallen in love. But it is not, as he says, that he hates himself because he loves her. He may hate himself at the thought of being rejected for failing to become worthy of her. Again, he himself indulging in self-pity and finds sustenance and substance for his thoughts in his sorrows. This leads him sometimes to cynicism and he laughs in his pain.
In the concluding couplet Wyatt tries to put an end to the contrary and antithetical thoughts and emotions by stating in a conceited fashion that he understands that his ‘delight’, that is, the object of his delight or ladylove is the cause of all these sufferings. It must be pointed out here that by providing a concluding couplet, like Shakespeare later on, Wyatt deviates from the Petrarchan model. Again the poem is marked by the absence of Neo-Platonic concept of love, the hallmark of a Petrarchan sonnet, a concept in which a speaker like Petrarch would realise the supreme divine beauty through the idealisation and worship of the spiritual beauty of a beloved like Laura.


1.   'I find no peace....... '
      Why is the poet restless?             Comment on his condition.   
                                                             (V. U-MODEL -NO- 4 / 1)
Ans.  Due to the impact of intense passion of love, the poet does not enjoy his peace of mind. The contrary pulls caused by the ecstasy of love render him utterly restless.                                                             The passion of love which is so violent contributes to his discontent, restless state. Conflicting forces roused by the intensity of love have caused mental imbalance impairing his physical faculties. The awkward experience of antithetical feelings has bitterly poisoned the peace of his mind.

2.   'Without eyen I see; and without tongue I plain'
      Elucidate the condition of the poet. (V. U-MODEL -NO- 4 / 2)
Ans.  The lover’s mind is torn and tossed by contending passions of emotion. He appears to have lost visual power and oral capacity under the intense impulse of love. Yet, the inordinate feeling of love makes him visualize and lament for his discontented restless love.

3.   'Likewise displeaseth me both death and life'
      Where does this line occur? Why does the Poet feel such contrary pulls?
                                                            (V. U-MODEL -NO- 4 / 3)
Ans.  The line occurs in Sir Thomas wyatt’s sonnet ‘I Find no peace’. The intense passion of love causes distraction and disquietude and makes the lover thoroughly restless. The lover finds no peace in his mind and he knows not where he should turn for peace and comfort. He is equally tired of life and death. While he feels thoroughly  disgusted with his life that gives him no rest or peace of mind, he finds no relief in the idea of death. He is torn by the conflict between antithetical elements in his mind. His love gives him delight but its impulse makes him restless. The intense passion of love turns him wild and makes him utterly restless.

4.   'And my delight is causer of this strife'
      Where does this line occur? Comment on the paradox in the line.                                             (V. U-MODEL -NO- 4 / 4)
Ans.  The line occurs in Sir Thomas Wyatt's 'I Find no Peace'. The line is epigrammatic and strikingly brings out the contradiction inherent in the ecstasy of love. The deep passion of love and its accompanying torment, a typical aspect of the theme of the conventional Petrarchan Sonnet, is clearly marked here.Delight i.e joy can never be the cause of pain but, sometimes the exccss of it gives birth to tearful anguish.

5.   'I find no Peace....'
      What does the Poet convey through this line?                                                                             (V. U-MODEL -NO- 4 / 12)
Ans.  The contrary pulls of contending passions rock the citadel of peace in the poet’s mind. It states the mental confusion and confrontation of a lover lost in the intense passion of love. Antithetical pulls do not allow him any rest or peace of mind. The confounding passion of love agitates the tranquillity of his mind and hence his categorical confession-- 'I find no Peace'.

6.       How does the poet show his contrary feelings in ' I find No Peace'?                                      (V. U-MODEL -NO- 4 / 13)
Ans.   The poet is overpowered with the intense feeling of love that deeply disturbs his inner world with contradictory pulls. He bears hope as will as fear. He burns in passion as well as freezes in apprehension. He feels himself loose yet locked. He can neither ‘live’ nor ‘die’ at his ‘devise’. He desires to ‘perish’ yet, asks for ‘health’. He feeds himself ‘in sorrow’ and laughs at his pain.’

7.   'Any my delight is the causer of this strife'
      Where does this line occur? What is the strife referred to here? What is the Poet's delight?  (V. U-MODEL -NO- 4 /14
Ans. The poet-lover feels thoroughly disgusted with his life that gives him no rest or peace of mind. He finds no relief in the idea of death. He is torn between antithetical elements in his mind. It is, however, love that causes so much unrest in his mind. He struggles  with himself to tide over the adverse circumstances in his life. This is the mental agitation or strife referred to here.
            The poet’s delight is the object of his delight, i.e. the lady-love, the delight of his life. The lover is haunted by the memory of his lady-love. The intense passion of love makes a constant stir in his heart.
Semi-long answer type Questions-8 marks

1.   I fear and hope, I burn and freeze like ice
                                                             (V. U-MODEL -NO- 8 / 1)
Ans.  The line has been culled from Sir Thomas Wyatt’s ‘I Find no Peace.’ Under the heavy yoke of contradictory pulls of feelings, the poet is violently tossed between fear and hope.  Sometimes he burns like fire and sometimes he freezes like ice.        
                   The antithetical feelings make the poet restless. The feeling of love causes fear as well as hope in the mind of the poet. Fear makes him freeze like ice and in utter consternation he undergoes chilly experience of cold. He burns in anger as the failure in love causes a feeling of unrest in him. The effect of inordinately intense passion of love does not make him feel comfortable. It does not allow him any peace of mind. It states the mental confusion of a lover steeped in the passion of love. He is subjected to the conflicting states of mind. A sense of hope encourages him and he bears a meek passivity. The delightful sense of love fills his whole being with an inexplicable ecstasy. Again it paralyses his individuality completely.
                   The poet is at a loss as to what to do.  He is utterly perplexed and vexed.  The intricate, labyrinthine ways of love have completely unsettled him.  The very peace which he earnestly seeks falls an easy prey to illimitable perplexity  eternally eclipsing the sunshine of joy.

2.   Nor Letteth me live nor die at my devise.
                                                             (V. U-MODEL -NO- 8 / 2)
Ans.  These lines have been extracted from Sir Thomas Wyatt’s sonnet, ‘I Find no Peace’.  His disquiet, the product of his failure in love has enhanced the irregularities in his thought-process.  The very tranquillity of his mind is disrupted.    
                   The lover is over head and ears in love with the mistress and the very intensity of the passion of love bewilders him causing an uneasy and unquiet mood under the impact of conflicting elements. The profound passion of love has a paralysing effect on his mind that allows him no rest or respite, no peace and comfort. He is vexed under the violent emotional surge of conflicting passions. This agitates him making his life painfully tragic. Under this situation a longing for death might have caused him a sense of relief from destitution though he sees no ground for death as love prevents him from welcoming untimely death. Love overpowers him and regulates his emotion and does not allow him to act in accordance with his sweet will and thus his likes and dislikes are lulled by the mighty wand of a powerful love and he surrenders himself wholeheartedly to the despotic autocracy of love.
                   The poet has become a puppet in  the hands of his passion.  He swings between the woes of life and the bliss of death with occasional fascinations for both without arriving at any definite conclusion.

3.   Without eyen I see ..................... Plain.
      I desire to perish
                                                             (V. U-MODEL -NO- 8 / 3)
Ans.  These lines have been taken from Sir Thomas Wyatt’s sonnet ‘I Find no Peace’.  The violent impact of the passion of love has robbed him of physical as well as mental faculties.                       
                  Wyatt expresses the restless state of mind generated by the ecstasy of love. The poet lover seems to be utterly confounded with contradictory pulls that make him feel restless. This confusion seems to paralyse his physical faculties. His eyes have stopped functioning properly and his tongue is rendered inactive. Yet, he can visualise everything and complain of his restless state that grants him no peace. It is beyond his knowledge what he actually wants and what he does not. Death, at times, seems  desirable to him but next monent he wants to have a sound health. The tone is typically Petrarchan illustrating the passion and pangs of love.
                  The paralysing effect of love causes the poet’s restlessness.  The unsteady dilemmas, the offsprings of passion have turned him out of true.  The disorderly desires have gripped his soul.
4.   Like wise displeaseth me
      And my delight .........................Strife.
                                                             (V. U-MODEL -NO- 8 / 4)     
Ans.  These lines have been extracted from Sir Thomas Wyatt’s sonnet, ‘I Find no Peace’. The poet feels tired of life as well as death.  The intense passion of love is the cause of this tiresome feeling.
                  The lines mirror the lover's restlessness caused by the intense passion of love which gives birth to mental distraction and disquiet. The lover is at a loss as to what to do. He can not decide where he should turn for peace. The desire for life as well as death disgusts him. The longing for life makes him abandon the idea of death — again death invites him with an equally powerful implication though he finds no relief in the idea of death. Both life and death are equally tormenting and tiring to him. The lover is tossed and torn between antithetical passions. Love is glorious and magnificent to him. It gives him a sense of delight but the very impluse of joy causes him mental unrest. A strong mental strife is produced by this immensely immeasurable joy. However, the deep pang of love and its accompanying suffering bear witness to conventional Petrarchan sonnet.
                  His delight is responsible for his mental anguish and suffering.  He wants to get rid of sorrows with the help of joys that do entangle him more and more drying up his bud of peace.


  1. I cannot speak in detail of the text for I only skimmed through it. But I believe it should be pointed out that the rhyme scheme is not cddcdd but cddcee and that death is never made to rhyme with strife; the last couplet is created by the rhyme between life and strife.