Sir Thomas Wyatt was born in the year 1503. The son of Sir Henry Wyatt and Anne Skinner, he went on to attend St. John’s College in Cambridge. He first took a place in the court of King Henry VIII in 1516. In the year 1520 he was married to Elizabeth Brooke at the age of seventeen. His son, of the same name, was born in the year 1521. Wyatt’s marriage to Elizabeth was miserable and the couple is believed to have been “estranged by the second half of the 1520s” (Burrow). Thomas Wyatt and Elizabeth Brooke were separated in 1525 when Wyatt accused his wife of adultery. Much of Sir Thomas Wyatt’s poetry is reflective of his love life. His personal relationships served as inspiration for a notable amount of his work. In his poem “Blame not my
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The poem can be seen as a parable relating to Anne’s relationship with Henry VIII. When Wyatt speaks of the deer as the possession of the sovereign, not to be pursued by others, he is accepting that Anne has been reserved for the king alone. Wyatt would have been forced to withdraw as a suitor after the King had shown interest in her. This is made evident when Wyatt says: “I leave off, therefore, / Since in a net I seek to hold the wind” (7-8). He realizes the impossibility of being with Anne. It is a clever description of Henry’s possessiveness and Wyatt’s disappointment and feelings of helplessness under the circumstances.
In 1536, Anne Boleyn was charged with adultery. Thomas Wyatt, along with four others accused of being romantically linked to the queen, were imprisoned. It was widely believed that Wyatt was indeed her lover. Another lyricist, Mark Smeaton, was among the accused in the same year so this suggests “that the queen had a circle of lyrists close enough to her to make a king claim that her intimacy with these men was sexual” (Burrows). However, Wyatt was released shortly after while the other accused lovers along with the queen were executed.
Anne’s death and his imprisonment are said to have changed him. When he was released “[t]he fashionable courtier and the writer of ballads was superseded by the hard-working diplomat, by the