Sir Thomas Wyatt
Sir Thomas Wyatt was born in 1503 at Allington Castle near Maidstone, Kent. His father Henry Wyatt was originally from Yorkshire. Thomas Wyatt followed his education at St. John's College, Cambridge. Thomas Wyatt married Elizabeth Brooke and they had a son who was also christened Thomas.
Thomas was a fairly impressive personality in looks and in his behaviour. No wonder then that he was appointed the king's ambassador to many places. He was even send with Sir John Russell on an expedition to Rome to petition the Pope to annul the King's marriage to Catherine of Aragon.
He was imprisoned in Rome after the Pope was imprisoned by the emperor Charles V. He however, managed to escape and fled back to England.
Wyatt is considered unparalleled in the world of literature. He is the father of sonnets. Although he is known for his translations of the sonnets of Petrarch who was an Italian poet, Wyatt also wrote many of his own.
Unfortunately none of Wyatt's works were printed during his lifetime but his first printed work was the sonnets in the Tottle's Miscellany that till date is on exhibit at the British Library.
He imitated the works of profound classical writers such as Seneca and Horace but in addition to this he also experimented with set styles in his own sonnets and developed the Poulter's Measure form where there are couplets of twelve syllable iambic lines alternated with a line of fourteen syllables.
He also experimented and developed the Rondeau which he extensively used in his poetries and satires along with the poulter's measure. His work mostly echoed traces of all the great poets that influenced him.
His work has the Senecan influence and Italian influence due to Petrarch. However, he was also influenced by English eminent writers like Chaucer and used Chaucer's word like Newfangleness in his poems.
Wyatt was also rumoured to have an affair with Anne Boleyn who was Henry VIII's suitor. Wyatt wrote much poetry that reflects this unfortunate inclination that he developed. He was one of the suitors that were ousted by Henry VIII after his secret marriage with Anne. Wyatt was said to have been sent on a diplomatic expedition to Italy.
However, there are records that Wyatt was also imprisoned due to charges of adultery with Anne. After Anne's death Wyatt was heartbroken and penned the poem "After great storms the calm returns".
Wyatt was considered a less significant poet after his work was published posthumously. However, during the 20th century the true value of his works began to immerge with the discovery and analysis of the complexities of his work.