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Gerald Bullett (1893–1958)

Teoksen Silver Poets of the Sixteenth Century tekijä

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Tekijän teokset

Silver Poets of the Sixteenth Century (1947) — Toimittaja — 223 kappaletta
The Jury (1935) 21 kappaletta
The English galaxy of shorter poems (1933) — Toimittaja — 14 kappaletta
The English mystics (1950) 10 kappaletta
Mr. Godly Beside Himself (1924) 9 kappaletta
The Jackdaw's Nest (1939) 5 kappaletta
The Bending Sickle (1947) 4 kappaletta
I'll Tell You Everything (1933) 4 kappaletta
The Trouble at Number Seven (1955) 3 kappaletta
Winter solstice (1943) 3 kappaletta

Associated Works

Middlemarch (1871) — Johdanto, eräät painokset17,703 kappaletta
65 Great Spine Chillers (1988) — Avustaja — 80 kappaletta
Great Ghost Stories (1936) — Avustaja — 67 kappaletta
Modern Short Stories (1939) — Avustaja — 49 kappaletta
The Mammoth Book of Thrillers, Ghosts and Mysteries (1936) — Avustaja — 47 kappaletta
The Seventh Fontana Book of Great Ghost Stories (1971) — Avustaja — 30 kappaletta
Great Tales of the Supernatural (1936) — Avustaja — 26 kappaletta
Keats: Poems (Everyman Paperbacks) (1957) — Toimittaja — 24 kappaletta
The Fair Haven (1938) — Johdanto, eräät painokset22 kappaletta
In the Dead of Night (1961) — Avustaja — 11 kappaletta
All Day Long: An Anthology of Poetry for Children (1954) — Avustaja — 9 kappaletta
The Best British Short Stories of 1923 (1923) — Avustaja — 5 kappaletta
Five Seasons of A Golden Year. A Chinese Pastoral (1980) — Kääntäjä, eräät painokset4 kappaletta
Great Unsolved Crimes (1975) — Avustaja — 4 kappaletta
Did It Happen? (1956) — Avustaja — 1 kappale
The New Decameron. Sixth volume (1929) — Avustaja — 1 kappale

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The Poetry of Sir Thomas Wyatt: A Selection and Study by E. M. W. Tillyard
Silver Poets of the Sixteenth Century
Sir Thomas Wyatt and his poems by William Edward Simonds
Sir Thomas Wyatt along with Henry Howard Earl of Surrey are the only two poets given their full name in Tottel’s Miscellany (The first anthology of printed poems to be published; 1557). The Miscellany was enormously popular running to a second print just six weeks after the first and so it probably went a long way to establishing Wyatt’s place in the canon of English poetry. His poems were not published during his lifetime, but would have been circulated in manuscript form among a select group of people who were courtiers to Henry VIII. Many of his pieces would not have been recognised as poems, but rather as songs and because he was by all accounts an accomplished lute player and songwriter he would have been a popular figure at court well able to entertain his friends. Tottel by printing the pieces as poems took them out of the hot house of the courtiers world and made them available to the general public (those that could read and who could buy books).

There are 95 poems by Wyatt in the Miscellany and another 100 or more have been found in private collections and so there is a large body of his work that is available and there are at least two fairly modern collections. The majority of the pieces could be described as lyrics or songs and many of these were based around the idea of courtly love, which can be defined as:

a highly conventionalized medieval tradition of love between a knight and a married noblewoman, first developed by the troubadours of southern France and extensively employed in European literature of the time. The love of the knight for his lady was regarded as an ennobling passion and the relationship was typically unconsummated.

This is a typical example by Wyatt:

To wish and want and not obtain,
To seek and sue ease of my pain,
Since all that ever I do is vain
What may it avail me?

Although I strive both day and hour
Against the stream with all my power,
If fortune list yet for to lour
What may it avail me?

If willingly I suffer woe,
If from the fire me list not go,
If then I burn to plain me so,
What may it avail me?

And if the harm that I suffer
Be run too far out of measure,
To seek for help any further
What may it avail me?

What though each heart that heareth me plain
Pityeth and plaineth for my pain,
If I no less in grief remain
What may it avail me?

Yea, though the want of my relief
Displease the causer of my grief,
Since I remain still in mischief
What may it avail me?

Such cruel chance doth so me threat
Continually inward to fret.
Then of release for to treat
What may it avail me?

Fortune is deaf unto my call.
My torment moveth her not at all.
And though she turn as doth a ball
What may it avail me?

For in despair there is no rede.
To want of ear speech is no speed.
To linger still alive as dead
What may it avail me?

I can imagine this being put to music and being enjoyed by friends that would have been steeped in the traditions of courtly love.

However when looking back on songs and lyrics from the 16th century it is the poets who break with tradition and point the way to something new that grabs our attention and Wyatt certainly did this.

He introduced a number of poems in sonnet form based on his free translations of the Italian Renaissance poet Petrarch. He had to adapt the Italian language to 16th century English and also reinvent a rhyming scheme that would fit. His attempts were not always successful; (of the 20 or so that I have read about a half of these sound clunky and are difficult to read aloud) but he laid a template for others to follow. He also experimented with other forms and rhyming schemes, again with varying degrees of success. He wrote epigrams which might have sounded witty and entertaining in the 16th century, but sound laboured to my ears. He made translations of the penitential psalms and he also left us three satires based on his experiences as a courtier to Henry VIII.

E M W Tillyard in his selection and study of Wyatts poems says that there is little evidence of a break with medieval tradition. Although he chooses Italian themes he is bound by the English tradition of song making. I can see his point but I think in many of the lyrics Wyatt’s individual voice can be detected and this makes him readable for 21 century readers. William Edward Symonds in his study of the poems attempts to place the courtly love poems in some sort of order, so as to make of them a collection that depicts a courtly love affair. It can be done because the poems go through the whole gamut of such an affair; the moment when love hits, the eager anticipation, the offer to to the lady of faithful service, the pain of rejection and the the ruminations on a life wasted. However this was not the intention of Wyatt and although it sort of works it sounds artificial.

It is the moments when Wyatt does break with tradition that sets him apart. For example the poem “They flee from me, that sometimes did me seek”. This is not a poem about an unconsummated courtly love affair, it is sensual and erotic and very very personal. The poet/speaker (who could well be Wyatt himself) shows a cruel even vindictive streak in his feeling to one particular woman. The poem stands on its own, but is also fascinating to readers who are aware of Wyatt’s own personal history. He found himself on two memorable occasions out of favour with Henry VIII. So out of favour that he was locked up in the Tower of London, the first time suspected of being a lover of Ann Boleyn. He was a courtier who knew how to play the game, but he needed also to have fortune on his side to survive the factions that played deadly games in Henry’s court. There are themes of change and changes in fortune that crop up again and again in many of the poems:

IT may be good, like it who list ;
But I do doubt : who can me blame ?
For oft assured, yet have I mist ;
And now again I fear the same.
The words, that from your mouth last came,
Of sudden change, make me aghast ;
For dread to fall, I stand not fast.
Alas, I tread an endless maze,
That seek t' accord two contraries :
And hope thus still, and nothing hase,
Imprisoned in liberties :
As one unheard, and still that cries ;
Always thirsty, and naught doth taste ;
For dread to fall, I stand not fast.
Assured, I doubt I be not sure ;
Should I then trust unto such surety ;
That oft have put the proof in ure,
And never yet have found it trusty ?
Nay, sir, in faith, it were great folly :
And yet my life thus do I waste ;
For dread to fall, I stand not fast.

After an exhausting time as a diplomat working for Thomas Cromwell and Henry VIII, Wyatt sought solace in his country home at Aldington. Indeed he was lucky to still have it in his possession as he had found himself locked up in the Tower again on a charge of associating with traitors to the king. His property, his belongings were all packaged away to be distributed to those in favour with Henry VIII on the certainty that Wyatt would be executed. However he got lucky again and obtained a last minute reprieve. He wrote three satires on his life as a courtier that sound like a warning to others intent on engaging themselves at Henry VIII court. They may not be great poetry but as a vignette of life in Tudor times they are essential reading.

So to end with one of Wyatt’s epigrams

Driven by desire I did this deed,
To danger myself without cause why,
To trust the untrue not like to speed,
To speak and promise faithfully. 4
But now the proof doth verify,
That who so trusteth ere he know,
Doth hurt himself and please his foe.

Sir Thomas Wyatt is famous for the one poem; “They flee from me, that sometimes did me seek” that appears in many anthologies, but delving into the rest of his oeuvre can uncover some gems and will also provide the inside track on life in the early Tudor court of Henry VIII.
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baswood | Aug 8, 2016 |

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