Essay on Courtlife and Thomas Wyatt's Poetry

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What part do the conditions of Court life play in the poetry of Wyatt, Surrey or any other Sixteenth century poet? <p>Sir Thomas Wyatt the Elder

Sir Thomas Wyatt the Elder's life revolved around King Henry VIII's court from his early age. The son of a gentleman who very soon linked his future to that of the Tudor dynasty, Wyatt became a diplomat soon enough, and what with being a favourite at court, he was a prominent figure both politically and socially. It is quite impossible to name the many poets who wrote at that time, but one thing is for sure: skill in music, dancing and poetry was expected of every gentleman. In Wyatt's case, the political and social parts were very much linked together since, as a diplomat he travelled a lot,
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Reinforcing the lessons in self-display, and self concealment that Wyatt would have received at the English Court' (Norton Anthology)

On the other hand, another point of view adopted by some critics like Sergio Baldi is that Wyatt's life is not only fairly long but on the whole prosperous, being given that he always extricated himself, or was extricated from personal or political enmities, and on each occasion at once took up again his successful career at Court, apart from being treated with confiscated lands and his share of money by the King. However, what these critics fail to perceive is that part of Wyatt's poetry which only our hearts can see and not the sums which would amount to his personal fortune at that time. What amount of money could replace stability, peace of mind and freedom? Certainly none, and Wyatt shows this through his poetry, both by hinting at it, and later on by expressing it out properly though verses. Thus, in "Stand whoso list" (Norton anthology p.534), we see him comparing the worldly courtier with the private man aspiring at a quiet, but good death away from the dangers involved in a court life:

That when my years be done withouten noise,

I may die aged after the common trace.

For him death grippeth right hard by the crop

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