~ Sir Thomas Wyatt (1503-1542)
Born in Allington Castle in Yorkshire, England. Tortured and imprisoned by Richard III. Favored by Henry VII. Then again by Henry VIII. Then not, when suspected of having an affair with Anne Boylen. Then restored to his favor. Father of three.
Brought the Petrarchan sonnet form from Italy to England. Wrote two of the first poems I memorized after discovering them at school in Rome. I still recite them, their rhythm and language so flowing and lush as to make them balms. The one below was modeled on Petrarch’s (Francesco Petrarch (1304–1374) sonnet 189, “Passa la nave mia colma d’oblio” (“My ship sails freighted with oblivion”).
My galley chargèd with forgetfulness,
Thorough sharp seas in winter nights doth pass
‘Tween rock and rock; and eke mine en’my, alas,
That is my lord, steereth with cruelness;
And every oar a thought in readiness,
As though that death were light in such a case.
An endless wind doth tear the sail apace
Of forcèd sighs and trusty fearfulness.
A rain of tears, a cloud of dark disdain,
Hath done the wearied cords great hindrance;
Wreathèd with error and eke with ignorance,
The stars be hid that led me to this pain;
Drownèd is reason which should me consort,
And I remain despairing of the port.