The first two lines begin with a burst of enthusiasm at the freedom of the falcon and its associates. The narrator in line 3 is relieved that the falcon returns to him. He offers a comparison with the falcon’s faithful returns with that of others who had once sought his companionship and now reject him. The former friends are compared to parasites fleeing a dead host, and the narrator comments on the cruelty of this rejection over a small challenge to their relationship.
The concluding rhyming couplet has the narrator swearing by the birds’ bells that his only true friends are the falcons.
The poem begins with an expressive appeal to the falcon: a bird of prey often used at court and trained specifically for hunting. The rhyme scheme used is ABABABCC.
The narrator seems to be passionate about, even envious of, the freedom of the falcons. There is an irony in this as the birds are carefully trained to obey their master, and their freedom is fleeting; the falcons are trained to return. ‘Lux’ seems to be a common name for a trained falcon, and also operates as a pun on the word ‘luck’: the falcon is lucky to have even a brief amount of freedom.
In Wyatt's time, the term ‘falcon’ referred exclusively to the females of the species; male birds were called 'hawks'. This suggests that Wyatt is symbolizing the ladies of the court through the falcon. It is possible that the poem alludes to a point when the narrator felt that he had been cruelly forsaken by the female sex. His simile, ‘like lice away from dead bodies’ is a particularly gruesome one, reminding us that there is more to this spurned lover than the bewildered Petrarchan hero.
Wyatt, like other courtiers under Henry VIII, went through periods of great disfavor as well as great reward, and it is certainly credible that the poem illustrates a period of social rejection felt by the narrator. 'Lux! My Fair Falcon' is believed to have been composed when Wyatt was imprisoned in 1841. This would help explain the despair evident in the poem, and the harshness of description used to illustrate his feelings of desertion. He was imprisoned as an apparent partner in adultery with Anne Boleyn. Anne and the four other men charged with the adulterous liaisons were executed. Only Wyatt was allowed to rejoin the court.
The idea of a wild animal as a metaphor is similar to the approach used in ‘Whoso List to Hunt’, which is said use a hind as a metaphor for newly married Anne Boleyn. This time, however, the bird has been tamed to a point of loyalty much greater than the human figures mentioned in the poem, unlike the collared hind, which retains its wild ways.
The poem makes considerable use of alliteration around the letters f, l and b. These sounds suggest the sound of the bird wings as they flap and beat in flight.