Blame not my Lute! by Sir Thomas Wyatt

‘Blame not my Lute!’ by Sir Thomas Wyatt is a love lyric that presents the theme on which Wyatt wrote several other poems too. In fact, Wyatt was somehow addled in this theme, dejection in love. The lady believed to be Queen Anne Boleyn, who broke his heart and left him alone in the journey called life. There wasn’t only grief in his heart but an insurmountable pain that existed till his death. The arrogance, frailty, and cruelty that the lady showed to Sir Thomas Wyatt made him one of the best-known lyricists of the Renaissance period. His verse expresses what he had gone through after being rejected in love.

Blame not my Lute! by Sir Thomas Wyatt

 

Summary of Blame not my Lute!

‘Blame not my Lute!’ by Sir Thomas Wyatt implores the lady not to blame Wyatt’s metaphorical lute which represents his verse.

‘Blame not my Lute!’ by Sir Thomas Wyatt talks about not blaming the poet’s lute if its sound reminds the lady of her passivity for the poet. The lute, being an instrument, sounds how the user uses it. Therefore, it will be the lady’s mistake if she thinks the lute itself is making such heart-wrenching sounds. However, the poet makes it clear why he uses his lute in such a manner. The lady who has broken his heart is the sole cause for giving birth to the spiteful emotions in the poet’s naive heart. Moreover, the poet is giving an exact answer to the lady’s cruel response. At last, the poet tells the lady to rectify her arrogance to change the tune of the poet’s verse. Apart from that, if she likes the poet’s songs, she can blush expressing her true feelings for the poet and his works.

 

Structure of Blame not my Lute!

‘Blame not my Lute!’ by Sir Thomas Wyatt contains a total of six stanzas. The poet uses the rondeau form in this poem. In a rondeau poem, there is a refrain that is used in the first line of the poem and it’s repeated in the consecutive stanzas at the end. In this poem, “Blame not my Lute!” gets repeated at the end of each stanza. The poet employs this form to emphasize mainly this line and the sense associated with it. However, in the rondeau form, the first part of the line is used as a refrain. Thomas Wyatt exactly follows the same pattern.

Except for that, the poet uses the ABABCCD rhyme scheme in the poem. The following stanzas are also in this rhyming pattern. However, the overall poem is composed of iambic tetrameter, and the refrain at the end of each stanza is in iambic dimeter.

 

Literary Devices in Blame not my Lute!

‘Blame not my Lute!’ by Sir Thomas Wyatt showcases several literary devices that make the poet’s argument more appealing and forceful to the lady. Likewise, the main word “Lute” that gets repeated for the sake of emphasis, contains a metonymy. It symbolizes the songs composed by the poet. Moreover, the poet also uses a personification to invest feelings in his musical instrument. In the first line of the second stanza, there is an apostrophe. There is also an anaphora in this stanza in the third and fourth lines. In the line, “And toucheth some that use to feign” the poet uses irony for referring to the mentality of the lady.

Apart from that, the poet uses synecdoche in the line, “My Lute and strings may not deny”. Here strings represent the lute itself. In the line, “But wreak thyself some other way”, “wreak” is a metaphor. In the same stanza, “rightful spite” is an example of a personal metaphor. Moreover, the fourth stanza presents alliterations in “changing change” and “falsed faith”. In the same stanza, “desert” is a metaphor for the mental loneliness of the lady. However, in the end, the poet uses another irony in the lines, “And if, perchance, this sely rhyme/ Do make thee blush…”

 

Analysis of Blame not my Lute!

The Epigraph

THE LOVER’S LUTE CANNOT BE BLAMED

THOUGH IT SING OF HIS LADY’S UNKINDNESS.

‘Blame not my Lute!’ by Sir Thomas Wyatt makes the poet’s intention clear in the epigraph section. The poet dedicated this poem or song to the lady who was unkind towards the poet’s feelings for her. For this reason, the lady couldn’t blame the poet or his verse if it expresses something harsh for the offender.

 

Stanzas One and Two

BLAME not my Lute! for he must sound

   Of this or that as liketh me ;

   For lack of wit the Lute is bound

To give such tunes as pleaseth me ;

Though my songs be somewhat strange,

And speak such words as touch thy change,

                    Blame not my Lute!

My Lute! alas! doth not offend,

Though that perforce he must agree

To sound such tunes as I intend,

To sing to them that heareth me ;

Then though my songs be somewhat plain,

And toucheth some that use to feign,

                    Blame not my Lute!

‘Blame not my Lute!’ by Sir Thomas Wyatt is also known by the first line of the poem’s epigraph ‘The Lover’s Lute Cannot Be Blamed’. In the first stanza, the poet talks about his song in which he is presenting his heart, hurt by the passivity of the lady. Moreover, the poet advocates for his lute and tells the lady about its innocence. As the poet uses the lute while composing his verse, it is the poet who should be blamed for, not the lute.

In the second stanza, the poet says that his lute sounds what the poet wants it to sound like. Here, the lute is a metaphorical reference to his songs or poetic works. Apart from that, Wyatt ironically remarks that his songs sometimes please fickle-minded persons like the lady.

 

Stanzas Three and Four

My Lute and strings may not deny

But as I strike they must obey ;

Break not them then so wrongfully,

But wreak thyself some other way ;

And though the songs which I indite

Do quit thy change with rightful spite,

                    Blame not my Lute!

Spite asketh spite, and changing change,

And falsèd faith must needs be known ;

The fault so great, the case so strange ;

Of right it must abroad be blown :

Then since that by thine own desart

My songs do tell how true thou art,

                    Blame not my Lute!

In the third stanza, the poet says the lady’s cold response to him has made him write such songs about the lady. The poet implores, “Break not them then so wrongfully”. Here the reference is directed again to her cruelty.

In the fourth stanza, the poet seeks poetic revenge on the lady. He makes the intention behind his compositions clear by these lines, “Spite asketh spite, and changing change,/ And falsed faith must needs be known”. However, such a behavior of the lady, in reality, makes her alone in her mental desert. And the poet emphasizes this idea in the following line to question the veracity of her emotions.

 

Stanzas Five and Six

Blame but thyself that hast misdone,

And well deservèd to have blame ;

Change thou thy way, so evil begone,

And then my Lute shall sound that same ;

But if ’till then my fingers play,

By thy desert their wonted way,

                    Blame not my Lute!

Farewell!  unknown; for though thou break

My strings in spite with great disdain,

Yet have I found out for thy sake,

Strings for to string my Lute again :

And if, perchance, this sely rhyme

Do make thee blush, at any time,

                    Blame not my Lute!

In the final stanzas, the poet advises the lady to change her behavior and attitude for a person who truly loved her. Here the person is no doubt the poet himself. However, the poet glorifies the art of poetry in the last stanza as it has infused hope as well as inspiration in the poet’s heart. He has found his “true love” in poetry. At last, the poet teases the lady by saying, “And if, perchance, this sely rhyme/ Do make thee blush, any time,/ Blame not my Lute!” It’s the irony of Wyatt, that enlightens the soul without hurting the heart!

 

Historical Context of Blame not my Lute!

‘Blame not my Lute!’ by Sir Thomas Wyatt talks about an unknown lady. But historical records show that Wyatt had a long relationship with Anne Boleyn, the wife of King Henry VIII. The lady had left the poet alone and married the king, leaving his hurt paining with a cause that had no meaning in the true lover’s world. This incident changed Wyatt as well as his verse. He expressed his heartache through his poems and ‘Blame not my Lute!’ is one of those works.

 

Similar Poetry

Like ‘Blame not my Lute’ by Sir Thomas Wyatt here is a list of poems that reflect the pain of a true lover, like Sir Thomas Wyatt.

You can read about Top 10 Greatest Love Poems here.

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