Life and Letters of Sir Thomas Wyatt

By Kenneth Muir | Go to book overview

I
Early Life

Sir Thomas Wyatt came of a Yorkshire family. His father, Sir Henry Wyatt, had suffered imprisonment and torture in the reign of Richard III because of his loyalty to Henry Tudor. According to his son, Sir Henry was imprisoned in Scotland for 'two years and more' -- nothing else is known of this imprisonment -- and the tyrant, Richard III, 'could find in his hart to see him rakkid'.1 The story discovered by Bruce in the Wyatt papers may be a fictional expansion of this remark2:

On one occasion, after Sir Henry had submitted to this torture [i.e. the barnacles], his descendant informs us that he was 'examined' by Richard III. ' Wyatt,' said the tyrant, 'why art thou such a fool? Thou servest for moonshine in the water. Thy master is a beggarly fugitive. Forsake him and become mine. I can reward thee, and I swear unto thee, I will.' 'Sir,' was his answer, 'If I had first chosen you for my master, thus faithful would I have been to you, if you should have needed it; but the Earl, poor and unhappy though he be, is my master, and no discouragement or allurement shall ever drive or draw me from him, by God's grace.'

When the standard of the fugitive earl floated on the field of Bosworth, Wyatt found means to join it . . .

There is a picturesque story of Henry Wyatt's life being saved by a favourite cat when he was imprisoned in the Tower. In the epitaph on his descendant, Edwin Wyatt, Henry was described as one who 'was imprisoned and tortured in the Tower in the reign of Richard III, kept in that dungeon when fed and preserved by a cat.'3

____________________
1
See below, p. 40.
2
J. Bruce, Gent. Mag., Sept. 1850, p. 236.
3
The story is alluded to in Hasted Kent and Walpole's Miscellaneous Antiquities.

-1-

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Life and Letters of Sir Thomas Wyatt
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Preface vii
  • Contents ix
  • I Early Life 1
  • II Wyatt and Anne Boleyn 13
  • III Ambassador in Spain 38
  • IV Ambassador in France 95
  • V Ambassador in Flanders 131
  • VI Cromwell's Fall and Wyatt's Trial 172
  • VII Lauda Finem 211
  • VIII Wyatt's Poetry 222
  • Appendix A 261
  • Appendix B 270
  • Appendix C 273
  • Bibliography 277
  • Index 279
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