Home >> New International Encyclopedia, Volume 20 >> Wittekind to Yttrium >> Wyatt

Wyatt

anne, lie, surrey and death

WYATT, Sir Tim mAs (e.1503-421. An Eng lish poet and diplomatist, born on his father's estate of Allington, near Maidstone in Kent. Ilis father• Sir 11enry Wyatt, of a family originally of Yorkshire, stood high in favor with both Henry VII. and Henry VIII. The younger Wyatt studied at Saint John's College• Cambridge, from 1515 to 1520. In that year lie married Elizabeth Brooke, daughter of Lord Cobham, lad already lie hail been the lover of Anne Boleyn (q.v.), and Ids boyish intimacy was ended only by her death. Through his father's influence and his own personality a career at court was open to him. In this sphere, as one of the most accom plished men of his clay, of noble presence and fine manners, of honor and integrity, and skillful in the management of affairs, he was thoroughly qualified to succeed. Wyatt visited Venice, Fer rara, Bologna, Florence, and Rome. In 1529 and 1530 he was high marshal at Calais. 'The favors of Anne Boleyn having now been sought by the King, Wyatt confessed his relations and tried to dissuade the King on the ground that her character was not beyond reproach. In 1536 the scandal aroused by Anne Boleyn's adulteries threatened to overwhelm Wyatt. In May he was committed to the Tower, but after Anne's death lie went free, was endowed with more honors, was made sheriff of Kent, and was sent on an embassy to Spain (1537-39). He was sent to Flanders in 1510 on the fall of his patron at court, Thomas Cromwell. Wyatt was sent to

the Tower, accused of treason, but after explana tion and confession, lie regained the King's con fidence and enjoyed it to a greater degree even than before the accusation. Granted lands at Lambeth by Henry VIII., named high steward of the King's manor of Maidstone, elected to Parlia ment for Kent, all in 1542, death overtook him in the same year.

Wyatt shares with Surrey the honor of intro ducing the sonnet into English verse; as he was the elder by some years, and a student of Pe trarch while Surrey was a mere child, the evi dence seems to give him the preference. Under Petrarch's influence he attempted to give Eng land a new kind of verse based not on accent, but on syllabic quantity. Wyatt also tried his hand at the terza rima. Love is the theme of most of hie. lyrics and Anne Boleyn is the mistress of his song. In his sacred poems Wyatt shows the influence of Dante and of Alamanni. His poems, together with those of Surrey. who was his poetical pupil, were published in London. 1557. A more elaborate edition prepared by Dr. Nott, in two volumes, was issued in 1815-16 in Lon don. Consult: Simonds, Sir Thomas Wyatt and Ilis Poems (Boston, 1889) ; Nott. "Memoir," prefixed to Works (London, 1815-16).