Life of Sir Thomas Wyatt was a sixteenth century English lyric poet, politician and ambassador. Wyatt introduced the forms of the Italian sonnet and the French short poem in English literature.
His writing popularized Italian verse forms, most notably the sonnet, in England over half a century before Shakespeare.
Sir Thomas Wyatt was born in 1503, in Allington, England to Henry Wyatt and Anne. He was the eldest son of the family. For his education, Thomas attended St. John’s College Cambridge in 1515. He received his Bachelor of Arts degree in 1518 and his Master of Arts degree in 1522.
After he graduated from college, Thomas became a member of Henry VIII’s court circle. He was always famous and liked by many people because of his attractive appearance. Additionally, he was skilled in music, languages and arms.
Wyatt led an exceptional career. He served in diplomatic missions and was knight in 1537. His fame rested mainly on his poetic achievements and his lyrics.
His poems were unusual for their time. His writing showed a strong sense of individuality. For instance meter and Songes and Sonettes.
Sir Thomas Wyatt’s life represented the true meaning of the old phrase, “never a dull moment”. He had several instances where he nearly grazed death. In one instance he was one of the ambassadors who traveled to Rome at the request of Pope Clement VII. The people wanted Wyatt to cancel the union between Henry VIII and Catherine of Aragon.
During the trip, Wyatt was captured by the armies of Emperor Charles V who seized Rome and imprisoned the Pope. He managed to escape successfully and returned to England. The journey was fruitful for Wyatt.
During his journey, he developed new poetic forms-mainly, the sonnet. He introduced this form to the England court. Wyatt was also imprisoned in the Tower of London in 1536 but was saved later on.
Wyatt was knighted in 1535. The next year, he was imprisoned in the Bell Tower for fighting with the Duke of Suffolk and also because he was rumored to be Anne Boleyn’s lover.
While Wyatt was held in the Bell Tower, he witnessed Anne Boleyn’s execution. Disturbed by this event he wrote V. Innocentia Veritas Viat Fides Circumdederuent me inimici Mei.
He released Mine Own John Poins in 1536-1537. The poem was based on his own experience when he served his country. It was written in the form of an epistolary satire, one of three such poems. Wyatt praised country life and made sarcastic remarks about the foreign governments in his writings.
He became an ambassador for the court of the Holy Roman Emperor, Charles V in Spain. In June 1539, he returned to England. He again became an ambassador to Charles V in 1540.he experimented in his own poetry with different Italian forms like the sonnet, ottavarima (stanzas of eight eleven-syllable lines) and terza rima (three line stanzas with a particular rhyme scheme). Wyatt wrote some of the first sonnets in the English language.
Along with his contemporary Henry Howard, Wyatt was the most famous English poet of the mid-sixteenth century. Some of Wyatt’s best lyrics and poems include What No, Perdue, Tagus, Farewell (1539), Lux My fair Falcon, Forget not yet, and Blame Not My Lute.
Wyatt was commonly recognized for introducing the sonnet to English literature. Wyatt’s work was divided into two groups: the sonnets, poems, songs and lyric poems treating love, and the satires.
His poems were circulated amongst King Henry’s court members, but were never formally published. In 1557, more than ninety of his songs appeared in Songs and Sonnets. The rest of Wyatt’s poems, satires and lyrics remained in manuscript, and it took many years for them get printed.
During the nineteenth and twentieth century’s, Wyatt’s works were finally available in print.
Wyatt married Elizabeth Brooke in 1520. The couple had two children. Wyatt worked in many royal offices, but soon his health started to deteriorate. He died on 11th October, 1542 in England after he caught a fever.