Poem for today By Carol Wain
Online - 06 June 2020
Thomas Wyatt – Maker (1) - Fighter- Lover
They fled from him that sometime did him seek (2) ,
A young man swift to ride, subtle of speech,
Fair "deep witted Wyatt "(3);, well muscled, handy
With a sword, as with his pen so true:
He wrote of troublesome amours, the bittersweet
Memories of loves past and present deceptions;
Serving two queens and all the time the king,
And playing the diplomat in European courts.
One of the coterie that played the game of love
In the Castle of Loyalty (4) , plighting then his troth
To some fair damsel, though we wot* not who, * knew
Yet rumours courtly hinted at a Lady B.
He loved the old religion, intriguéd by the new;
Liaising between Calais, Vatican and Spain;
A wife unfaithful (5) who long retained him bound,
Yet he with fair Bess Darrell at Alllington (6) was found.
Escaped Fleet Prison, later still the Tower;
His monarch's matter blighted long his flower -
Though friends assisted, offered him the key
To rest and freedom, home to write such poësy.
By Carol Wain
11th May 2020
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[Author's note: I have been reading, in "lockdown", Part 3 of Hilary Mantel's Tudor trilogy (The Mirror and the Light), about Thomas Cromwell (Henry VIII's chief advisor) and his contemporaries; I'm now reading a biography of Sir Thos. Wyatt by Susan Brigden]
1 "Maker" is a late medieval and Tudor era term for a writer of poetic verse and good prose.
2 Adapted from line 1 of Wyatt's own poem possibly referring to his likely early liaison with Anne Boleyn.
3 Froma description of Wyatt by a contemporary friend and "maker"/writer.
4 Based on Arthurian tales: a mock castle in 1520s where teams of rival young gallants fought for honour & love.
5 He married young, an aristocratic wife who was unfaithful – whom he could not divorce (but he was separated).
6 Allington Castle, Kent – his country estate. Bess D. became his long term mistress – she bore him 2 children.
Thomas Wyatt - Maker - Fighter- Lover