Please provide an analysis of Sir Thomas Wyatt's poem "It may be good, like it who list."

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accessteacher | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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In this poem, the speaker has just suffered the loss of his lover's affections, who has just completely changed her mind about him and her love for him. The emotional impact of this is summarised in the following line, which is actually repeated three times in the poem to emphasise how the sudden reversal of affections has hurt the speaker so greatly:

For dread to fall, I stand not fast.

As a result of this feeling, the speaker tries to piece together what has happened in an attempt to understand it and make sense of what could have changed, but admits that this is a labyrinthine task:

Alas, I tread an endless maze,
That seek t' accord two contraries :

In a very apt metaphor, Wyatt describes trying to understand the contradictions of a woman's affection like trying to exit "an endless maze." In a paradox, Wyatt seems to point out that this task is hopeless:

Assured, I doubt I be not sure ;
Should I then trust unto such surety ;

Note the play on words with the various different uses of "sure" to express his confusion. As the repetition of the line quoted above states, he is unable to logically find a reason for what has happened, and thus is left in an emotionally precarious state, bruised and wounded as he copes with his rejection.

 

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