Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, BALLADE: 12, by THOMAS WYATT

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Classic and Contemporary Poetry

BALLADE: 12, by                 Poet's Biography
First Line: Like as the bird in the cage enclosed
Last Line: By loss of life liberty, or life by prison?
Alternate Author Name(s): Wyat, Thomas
Subject(s): Birdcages; Freedom; Liberty

Like as the bird in the cage enclosed,
The door unsparred and the hawk without,
'Twixt death and prison piteously oppressed,
Whether for to choose standeth in doubt:
Certes! so do I, which do seek to bring about
Which should be best by determination --
By loss of life liberty, or life by prison.

Oh! mischief by mischief to be redressed!
Where pain is the best there lieth little pleasure:
By short death out of danger yet to be delivered,
Rather than with painful life, thralldom and dolor;
For small pleasure much pain to suffer;
Sooner therefore to choose, me thinketh it wisdom,
By loss of life liberty than life by prison.

By length of life yet should I suffer,
Awaiting time and fortune's chance.
Many things happen within an hour;
That which me oppressed may be avance.
In time is trust, which by death's grievance
Is utterly lost. Then were it not reason
By death to choose liberty, and not life by prison?

But death were deliverance and life length of pain;
Of two ills, let see now, choose the best:
This bird to deliver, you that hear her plain,
Your advice, you lovers! which shall be best?
In cage in thralldom, or by the hawk to be oppressed?
And which for to choose, make plain conclusion:
By loss of life liberty, or life by prison?

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