Sunday, October 11, 2009

Of the Death of Sir Thomas Wyatt

Sir Thomas Wyatt the Elder, the "father of English poetry," and the first to put the psalms to metre in English, having caught a chill riding with the Spanish ambassador on the way to London, died on October 11, 1542, at Sherborne, in Dorsetshire. He was a remarkable man, as well as my ancestor.

Henry Howard, Earl of Surrey, wrote the following lines in a tribute to his friend.


DIVERS thy death do diversely bemoan :
Some, that in presence of thy livelihed
Lurked, whose breasts envy with hate had swoln,
Yield Cæsar's tears upon Pompeius' head.
Some, that watched with the murd'rer's knife,
With eager thirst to drink thy guiltless blood,
Whose practice brake by happy end of life,
With envious tears to hear thy fame so good.
But I, that knew what harbour'd in that head ;
What virtues rare were tempered in that breast ;
Honour the place that such a jewel bred,
And kiss the ground whereas the corpse doth rest ;
With vapour'd eyes : from whence such streams availe,1
As Pyramus did on Thisbe's breast bewail.

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