1] Sir Thomas Wyatt served Henry VIII as ambassador to the Emperor from 1537 to 1540. On the execution of Cromwell (1540) he was imprisoned in the Tower on a charge of treason preferred by his enemies, Bonner and Heynes, but he cleared himself, and died in the favour of the king, October 11, 1542. The following words from George Puttenham's Art of English Poesie (1589) are more descriptive of Wyatt than of Surrey: "Having travelled to Italy, and there tasted the sweet and stately measures and style of the Italian poesie, as novices newly crept out of the schools of Dante, Arioste, and Petrarch, they greatly polished our rude and homely manner of vulgar poesie from that it had been before, and for that cause may justly be said the first reformers of our English metre and style."
7] stithy: Anvil.
14] reft. Deprived ... of. Wyatt was the first to surpass Chaucer.
15] unparfited. Unperfected.
27] loft. Elated.
34-35] Perhaps an allusion to Wyatt's translation of the seven Penitential Psalms.
Online text copyright © 2003, Ian Lancashire for the Department
of English, University of Toronto.
Published by the Web Development Group, Information Technology Services, University of Toronto Libraries.
Original text: An Excellent Epitaffe of syr Thomas wyat, with two other dytties (J. Herforde for R. Toye, 1545?). STC 26053.5.
First publication date: 1545
RPO poem editor: N. J. Endicott
RP edition: 2RP 1.88.
Recent editing: 4:2002/5/29
Rhyme: abab ... ababcc
Other poems by Henry Howard, earl of Surrey