The Poets

November 04, 2009

Wyatt’s Rhyme Royal

Sir Thomas Wyatt, along with the Earl of Surrey, is said to have introduced sonnets to the English language. Now I’ve read several of these works- all of which I both enjoyed and learned from- and every one of them were in the form of sonnets. So imagine how surprised and overjoyed I was to discover- this afternoon- that Wyatt had in fact experimented with other forms! I literally just stumbled on the poem below while browsing online.

Anyone who knows Wyatt knows that he was utterly obsessed with Anne Boleyn, a pretty young lady of the court of Henry VIII, who eventually became the Queen of England, and whose death by execution shook England’s world at the time.

The poem is obviously about love divided, and I think the presupposition that it pertains to Wyatt’s infatuation is a safe one.

To those eyes that read it here, I hope you enjoy it as much as I have.


What Should I Say

What should I say,
Since faith is dead,
And truth away
From you is fled?
Should I be led
With doubleness?
Nay, nay, mistress!

I promised you,
And you promised me,
To be as true
As I would be.
But since I see
Your double heart,
Farewell my part!

Though for to take
It is not my mind,
But to forsake
[One so unkind]
And as I find,
So will I trust:
Farewell, unjust!

Can ye say nay?
But you said
That I alway
Should be obeyed?
And thus betrayed
Or that I wiste--
Farewell, unkissed.


Of the Poem’s Parameters:

Stanza: Septet (i.e. seven lines per stanza)
Meter: The meter here is primarily a dimeter (a form not widely used; consider Thomas Hardy's poem The Robin)
Rhyme Scheme: Wyatt follows the Rhyme Royal perfectly (i.e. a.b.a.b.b.c.c.)

This poem has excited in me a desire- which in truth I’ve had for a while- to write a poem using Rhyme Royal ... in fact, I’ve already begun, using Wyatt's model.

1 comment:

Nancy said...

Your posts on poetic style are always most interesting and this poetic layperson is learning much from you, my yoda.

I read The Robin with its sweet first verse and the whimsical "chink, and prink" of the second. But the cynical frozen death of the poor bird at the end left this poor heart forlorn (though still in appreciation of the poem itself).

But what I REALLY want to say has nothing at all to do with poetry, but only a GREAT admiration of your skill in choosing just the right image to accompany the works you post. I may even have said something similar before (and may very well say it again). But as one so visual in nature, the complement they bring gives me exquisite pleasure.

As of April 9th, 2010