Remembering Thomas Wyatt – Tudor courtier and poet

11th October 2011
Today, a passing thought to the memory of Sir Thomas Wyatt, who died on this day 11th October (OS) in 1542. Knight, Tudor courtier and diplomat, he was also a highly innovative and creative individual. A celebrated poet in his day, he is largely responsible for introducing the sonnet form of verse into the English language. A true 'Renaissance man,' therefore. He knew King Henry VIII well, and was imprisoned by him briefly at the time of the Anne Boleyn scandal. It is widely believed that he was in love with Anne Boleyn who, as queen, was executed in 1536.
Tudor gentleman with cap and long beard
Sir Thomas Wyatt by Holbein.


Wyatt lived in Kent, at Arlington Castle, not too far from Anne Boleyn's home at Hever, and so they almost certainly knew each other from an early age. Were they also sweethearts? The answer to that intriguing question is lost in the mists of time, unfortunately. Wyatt himself had to abandon any hope of Anne Boleyn once Henry VIII began his courtship of her – and subsequently much of his poetry seems to concern the theme of a lost love, or a spurned love. Later, in 1536, he witnessed Anne’s execution at the Tower of London. What sorrows!

Poetry - an extract

"Now cease, my lute! This is the last
Labour, that thou and I shall waste,
And end that I have now begun.
Now is this song both sung and past,
My lute! Be still, for I have done"
young Tudor woman, with french hood, possibly Anne Boleyn
Anne Boleyn (possibly) by Holbein.
Authored by Robert Stephen Parry

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