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Of the Death of Sir T.W. the Elder

Wyatt resteth here, that quick could never rest;
Whose heavenly gifts increased by disdain,
And virtue sank the deeper in his breast;
Such profit he by envy could obtain.

A head where wisdom mysteries did frame,
Whose hammers beat still in that lively brain
As on a stithy where that some work of fame
Was daily wrought, to turn to Britain's gain.

A visage stern and mild, where both did grow,
Vice to contemn, in virtue to rejoice;
Amid great storms, whom grace assured so
To live upright and smile at fortune's choice.

A hand that taught what might be said in rhyme;
That reft Chaucer the glory of his wit:
A mark, the which (unparfited, for time)
Some may approach, but never none shall hit.

A tongue that served in foreign realms his king;
Whose courteous talk to virtue did enflame
Each noble heart; a worthy guide to bring
Our English youth by travail unto fame.

An eye whose judgment none affect could blind,
Friends to allure, and foes to reconcile;
Whose piercing look did represent a mind
With virtue fraught, reposed, void of guile.

A heart where dread was never so impress'd,
To hide the thought that might the truth advance;
In neither fortune loft, nor yet repress'd,
To swell in wealth, or yield unto mischance.

A valiant corps, where force and beauty met;
Happy, alas, too happy, but for foes!
Lived, and ran the race, that Nature set:
Of manhood's shape, where she the mould did lose.

But to the heavens that simple soul is fled,
Which left with such as covet Christ to know
Witness of faith that never shall be dead,
Sent for our health, but not received so.
Thus, for our guilt, this jewel have we lost;
The earth his bones, the heavens possess his ghost.

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Submitted on May 13, 2011

1:32 min read
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Henry Howard

Henry Howard, Earl of Surrey, KG, (courtesy title), was an English nobleman, politician and poet. He was one of the founders of English Renaissance poetry and the last known execution by King Henry VIII. He was a first cousin of both Queen Anne Boleyn and Queen Catherine Howard, second and fifth wives of King Henry VIII. His name is usually associated in literature with that of Wyatt, who was the older poet of the two. He was the son of Thomas Howard, Earl of Surrey and when his father became Duke of Norfolk (1524) the son adopted the courtesy title of Earl of Surrey. Owing largely to the powerful position of his father, Surrey took a prominent part in the Court life of the time, and served as a soldier both in France and Scotland. He was a man of reckless temper, which involved him in many quarrels, and finally brought upon him the wrath of the aging and embittered Henry VIII. He was arrested, tried for treason and beheaded on Tower Hill. more…

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