“THE pillar perish’d is whereto I leant,” by Sir Thomas Wyatt (Thomas Cromwell Executed: July 28, 1540)

Sir Thomas Wyatt By J. Thurston, engraved by W.H. Worthinton after a drawing by Hans Holbein the younger in the Buckingham Library from Charles Cowden Clarke, The Poetic Works of Sir Thomas Wyatt
Sir Thomas Wyatt
By J. Thurston, engraved by W.H. Worthinton after
a drawing by Hans Holbein the younger in the
Buckingham Library from Charles Cowden Clarke,
The Poetic Works of Sir Thomas Wyatt

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Sir Thomas Wyatt’s Poem Heralding

the Execution of Thomas Cromwell, Earl of Essex

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THE pillar perish’d is whereto I leant,

The strongest stay of my unquiet mind;

The like of it no man again can find,

From east to west still seeking though he went,

To mine unhap, for hap away hath rent

Of all my joy the very bark and rind,

And I, alas, by chance am thus assign’ d

Daily to mourn, till death do it relent.

But since that thus it is by destiny,

What can I more but have a woeful heart;

My pen in plaint, my voice in careful cry,

My mind in woe, my body full of smart;

And I myself, myself always to hate,

Till dreadful death do ease my doleful state.

– Sir Thomas Wyatt

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Coat of Arms Thomas Cromwell, 1st Earl of Essex
Coat of Arms
Thomas Cromwell, 1st Earl of Essex

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Sir Thomas Wyatt
Artist: Hans Holbein the Younger

Sir Thomas Wyatt the Elder (1503 to 1542) was an English lyric poet, ambassador, knight, and courtier living during the reign of King Henry VIII. Born in Allington Castle, Kent, England, Wyatt was educated at St. John’s College, Cambridge. Though Wyatt’s poetry was widely read, his body of work was not published until after his death. Songes and Sonnetts (Tottel’s Miscillany), published 1557, included the work of Wyatt; Henry Howard, Earl of Surrey; and other lesser known poets, some unknown.

The remainder of Wyatt’s poems, satires, and lyrics would remain in manuscript and slowly come into print during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Along with the Earl of Surrey, Wyatt is commonly credited with introducing the sonnet into English. His love lyrics, many based loosely on the Petrarchan sonnet, deal with courtly love and ill-treatment at the hands of his lovers. Though Whoso List to Hunt is thought to be a poem about Queen Anne Boleyn, whether the two ever enjoyed a relationship is lost to history.

POETRY BOOKS BY THOMAS WYATT, THE ELDER

Beth von Staats

is the owner and administrator of QueenAnneBoleyn.com. The author of "Thomas Cranmer in a Nutshell", Beth specializes in writing magazine articles, online historical articles, short stories, and flash fiction.

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