Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Veterans Day, meaning that the boys are home and sound asleep, of course. Tom went to work, so only the poodle and I are rattling around the place. Nearly all the leaves have fallen off the trees now, but the tamaracks glow in the grey morning light. They are dry and golden, like toast, but one of these days, quite soon, quite suddenly, they will slough off all their needles at once and become as dim as the rest of the world.

It's deer season, so I hear shots all day long. I used to worry about being shot; now I don't think about it much. Funny how fears can come and go. And funny how every time I think of deer, I think of Sir Thomas Wyatt's sonnet, which I know I've posted here before but which I love so much that I'm not embarrassed to post it again. It's not even really about deer but about sex, and maybe that's just the story of life anyway.

Wyatt was, among other things, Henry VIII's ambassador to Spain; and even though he was allied first with Anne Boleyn and later with Thomas Cromwell, he managed to die a natural death, which must say something about his personal charms.

I'll post the poem with the original spellings and then with modernized ones. Maybe you already know that the Latin phrase noli me tangere translates as "don't touch me." The words appear often in literature because supposedly they are what Christ said to Mary Magdalene when she recognized him after his resurrection. Interesting that he came back to life speaking Latin, don't you think?


Sir Thomas Wyatt

Who so list to hount, I knowe where is an hynde,
          But as for me, helas, I may no more:
          The vayne travaill hath weried me so sore.
          I ame of theim that farthest commeth behinde;
Yet may I by no meanes my weried mynde
          Drawe from the Diere: but as she fleeth afore,
Faynting I folowe. I leve of therefore,
          Sins in a nett I seke to hold the wynde.
Who list her hount, I put him owte of dowbte,
          As well as I may spend his tyme in vain:
          And, graven with Diamonds, in letters plain
There is written her faier neck rounde abowte:
          Noli me tangere, for Cesars I ame;
          And wylde for to hold, though I seme tame.


Whoso list to hunt, I know where is an hind,
But as for me, alas, I may no more.
The vain travail hath wearied me so sore,
I am of them that farthest cometh behind.
Yet may I, by no means, my wearied mind
Draw from the deer, but as she fleeth afore,
Fainting I follow. I leave off, therefore,
Since in a net, I put him out of doubt,
As well as I, may spend his time in vain.
And graven with diamonds in letters plain
There is written, her fair neck round about,
"Noli me tangere, for Caesar's I am,
And wild for to hold, though I seem tame."

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