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Whoso list to hounte: Sir Thomas Wyatt & the Pursuit of Trut

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Will Rossiter

on 4 July 2017

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Transcript of Whoso list to hounte: Sir Thomas Wyatt & the Pursuit of Trut

Whoso list to hounte: Sir Thomas Wyatt & the Pursuit of Truth
Hilary Mantel,
Bring Up the Bodies
The Metonymic Pen?
Eustace Chapuys, Imperial Ambassador: ‘[there] were certain ballads, which the King himself is known to have composed once, and of which the concubine and her brother had made fun, as of productions entirely worthless, which circumstance was one of the principal charges brought against them at the trial’ (CSPSp, V(2).55)

I must not omit, that among other things charged against him [George Boleyn] as a crime was, that his sister had told his wife that the King ‘nestoit habile en cas de soy copuler avec femme, et quil navoit ne vertu ne puissance.’ This he was not openly charged with, but it was shown him in writing, with a warning not to repeat it. But he immediately declared the matter, in great contempt of Cromwell and some others, saying he would not in this point arouse any suspicion which might prejudice the King's issue’. (LP, HVIII.X.908).
Anne Gaynesford's Account: Under sport and play
Wyatt's Defence: Writing and Dyfferaunce
yt is a smale thynge in alteringe of one syllable ether with penne or worde that may mayk in the conceavinge of the truthe myche matter or error. For in thys thynge ‘I fere’, or ‘I truste’, semethe but one smale syllable chaynged, and yet it makethe a great dyfferaunce, yea and the settinge of the wordes one in an others place may mayke greate dyfferaunce, tho were the wordes all one … I besyche you therfore examen the matter vnder this sorte. Confere theire [Wyatt’s accusers] severall sayings togyther, confer th’ examinations vpone the same matter and I dare warrante ye shall fynde mysreportinge and mysvnderstandinge. … But bringe me my garment as yt was. Yf I saide anye lyke thynge, reherse my tale, as I saide yt. No man can beleve you that I mente yt as you constere yt, or that I spake yt as you alledge yt, or that I vnderstonde Inglyshe so evell to speak so owte of purpose.
He had kept silence, but he saw Henry’s mind running; his own was darting like a startled deer. ‘And I much suspect,’ the king had whispered. ‘I much suspect her with Thomas Wyatt.’ ‘No, sir,’ he said, vehement even before he had time to think. Wyatt is his friend; his father, Sir Henry Wyatt, had charged him to make the boy’s path smooth; Wyatt is not a boy any more, but never mind. ‘You say no.’ Henry leaned towards him. ‘But did not Wyatt avoid the realm and go to Italy, because she would not favour him and he had no peace of mind while her image was before him?’ ‘Well, there you have it. You say it yourself, Majesty. She would not favour him. If she had, no doubt he’d have stayed.’ ‘But I cannot be sure,’ Henry insists. ‘Suppose she denied him then but favoured him some other time? Women are weak and easily conquered by flattery. Especially when men write verses to them, and there are some who say that Wyatt writes better verses than me, though I am the king.’ He blinks at him: four o’clock, sleepless; you could call it harmless vanity, God love him, if only it were not four o’clock. ‘Majesty,’ he says, ‘put your mind at rest. If Wyatt had made any inroads on that lady’s immaculate chastity, I feel sure he could not have resisted boasting about it. In verse, or common prose.’ Henry only grunts. But he looks up: Wyatt’s well- dressed shade, silken, slides across the window, blocks the cold starlight. On your way, phantom: his mind brushes it before him;
who can understand Wyatt, who absolve him?
The king says, ‘Well. Perhaps. Even if she did give way to Wyatt, it would be no impediment to my marriage, there can be no question of a contract between them since he himself was married as a boy and so not free to promise anything to Anne. But I tell you, it would be impediment to my trust in her. I would not take it kindly to have any woman lie to me, and say she came a virgin to my bed if she did not.’ (56-7)
Making Pallets?
M__king Pal___ts
Muir has, of necessity, filled the lacunae in the text provided by William Kingston : ‘[Sh]e hathe asked my wyf whether hony body makes thayr [those accused with Anne’s] beddes, [and m]y wyf ansured and sayd, Nay, I warant you; then she say[d tha]y myght make balettes well now, bot ther ys non bot . . . . . . de that can do it. Yese, sayd my wyf, Master Wyett by. . . . . . . . sayd trew’ (LP, X.798).
Wyatt ‘
in sporting wise
caught from [Anne] a certain smale jewel hanginge by a lace out of her pocket, or otherwise loose’ and refused to return it. He thereafter would ‘ware it about his necke under his cassoque’. In the interim, Henry ‘
fel to win
[Anne] by treatie of marriage, and in this talke tooke from her a ringe, and that ware upon his littel finger’. [...] Within few daise after it happened that
the Kinge sportinge himselfe
at bowles had in his company (as it fales out) divers noble men and other courteours of account, amongst whom might be the Duke of Suffolke, Sir F. Brian, and Sir T. Wiat,
himselfe beinge more then ordinarily pleasantly disposed
, and in his game taking an occasion to affirme a cast to be his that plainly appeared to be otherwise, thos on the other side saide, with his Grace’s leave, they thought not, and yet stil he, pointing with his finger whereon he ware her ringe, replied often it was his, and especialy to the Knight he said, ‘Wiat I tel thee it is mine,’
smilinge upon him withal
. Sir Thomas at the leangth castinge his eye upon the King’s finger, perceived that the King ment the Lady whose ring that was, which he wel knew, and pausing a littel, and
findinge the Kinge bent to pleasure
, after the words repeated againe by the Kinge, the Knight replied, ‘And if it may like your Majestie to give me leave to measure it, I hope it will be mine’; and with al tooke from his necke the Lase where at honge the tablet, and therwith stooped to measure the cast, which the Kinge espiinge knew, and had seene her were, and therewithal sporn’d away the bowle, and saide, ‘It may be so, but then I am deceived,’
and so brake up the game
And the poems?
[Wyatt’s] heart seemed to say I could gladly yield to be tied for ever with the knot of her love,
as somewhere in his verses hath been thought his meaning was to express.
Me list no more to sing
Of love nor of suche thing,
Howe sore that yt me wring;
For what I song or spake
Men dede my songis mistake.

My songes ware to defuse,
Theye made folke to muse;
Therefor, me to excuse,
Theye shall be song more plaine,
Nother of joye nor payne.


Yf this be undre miste,
And not well playnlye wyste,
Vndrestonde me who lyste;
For I reke not a bene,
I wott what I doo meane. (1-10, 40ff.)
Catholic Accounts
Nicholas Harpsfield: Sir, I pray your grace pardon me, both of my offence and my boldness. I am come to your grace of myself to discover and utter my own shame … she is not meet to be copled with your grace, her conversation hath been so loose and base; which thing I know not so much by hear-say as by my own experience as one that have had my carnal pleasure with her. At the hearing of this, the King for a while something astonyed, said to him, – Wyatt, thou hast done like an honest man, yet I charge thee to make no words of this matter to any man living
Nicholas Sander
[The Council] told the king all that Wyatt had confessed. Henry was silent for awhile, and then spoke. He had no doubt, he said, that the council, in saying these things, was influenced by its respect and affection for his person, but he certainly believed that these stories were the inventions of wicked men, and that he could confirm upon oath that Anne Boleyn was a woman of the purest life. Thomas Wyatt was very angry when he heard that the king would not believe him, and so he said to some of the members of the council that he would put it in the king’s power to see with his own eyes the truth of the story, if he would consent to it, for Anne Boleyn was passionately in love with Wyatt.
Charles Brandon, the duke of Suffolk, repeated the words of Wyatt to the king,
who answered that he had no wish to see anything of the kind – Wyatt was a bold villain, not to be trusted.
The Necessity of Instability
Eche man me telleth I chaunge moost my devise.
And on my faith me thinck it goode reason
To chaunge propose like after the season,
Ffor in every cas to kepe still oon gyse
Ys mytt for theim that would be taken wyse,
And I am not of suche maner condition,
But treted after a dyvers fasshion,
And thereupon my dyvernes doeth rise.
But you that blame this dyvernes moost,
Chaunge you no more, but still after oon rate
Trete ye me well, and kepe ye in the same state;
And while with me doeth dwell this weried goost,
My word nor I shall not be variable,
But alwaies oon, your owne boeth ferme and stable.
Who so list to hounte I know where is an hynde; Una candida cerva sopra l’erba
But as for me, helas, I may no more: verde m’apparve con duo corna d’oro,
The vayne travaill hath weried me so sore, fra due riviere all’ombra d’un alloro,
I ame of theim that farthest cometh behinde; levando ‘l sole a la stagione acerba.
Yet may I by no meanes my weried mynde Era sua vista sì dolce superba
Drawe from the Diere: but as she fleeth afore ch’i’ lasciai per seguirla ogni lavoro,
Faynting I folowe; I leve of therefore, come l’avaro che’n cercar tesoro
Sithens in a nett I seke to hold the wynde. con diletto l’affanno disacerba.
Who list her hount I put him owte of dowbte, ‘Nessun mi tocchi,’ al bel collo d’intorno
As well as I may spend his tyme in vain: scritto avea di diamanti et di topazi.
And graven with Diamondes in letters plain ‘Libera farmi al mio Cesare parve.’
There is written her faier neck rounde abowte: Et era ‘l sol già vòlto al mezzo giorno,
‘Noli mi tangere for Cesars I ame, gli occhi miei stanchi di mirar, non sazi,
And wylde for to hold though I seme tame’. quand’io caddi ne l’acqua et ella sparve.
Tho were the wordes all one...
Alessandro Vellutello,
Le volgari opere del Petrarcha
Hunting Laura
Volse il Poe[ta] nel presente so[netto] far un breve discorso del principio che di M. L. s’era innamorato, fino alla morte di lei … il Poe[ta] per questa candida cerva avere inteso di lei, laquale gli apparve sopra l’erbe verde, rispetto al luogo, ove a principio fu da lui trovata, con due corna d’oro, per le sue aur[e]ate treccie intese, fra due riviere [Sorgue and Rhone], da noi nel preallegato luogo dimostrate, a l’ombra d’un [alloro], alludendo al suo nome

The poet wishes in the present sonnet to provide a brief account of how he was first enamoured of Madonna Laura, and continued to be so until her death. ... he signifies the beloved by means of this milk-white doe, which appeared to him upon the green grass, as regards the place where she was first discovered by him; with two horns of gold signifying her golden tresses; between two rivers, which we have already explained; in the shadow of a laurel, alluding to her name.
Look but don't touch...
Et a similtudine di quelle cerve che da Cesare erano con uno monile al collo lassate in liberta, nel quale erano impresse queste parole[:] Nolli [sic] mi tangere quia Caesaris sum, et cosi da nessuno erano mai toccate ne offese, mostra che M. L. fatta libera dal suo Cesare, inteso per lo suo et nostro sommo Iddio, o veramente per lo suo forte et costante animo, avesse un simile scritto al collo, di diamante, rispetto alla sua forma costantia contra ogni libidine ribollimento lasciuo, [et] di topati essendo la proprieta di tal pietra d’estinguere ogni libidine

The comparison to those deer of Caesar’s which remained at liberty, but with jewels about their necks in which were impressed the words Do not touch me, for I am Caesar’s – whereby everyone knew not to touch them or do them any offence – shows that Madonna Laura was liberated by her Caesar, meaning her and our supreme God. Indeed, because of her strong and constant spirit, she had a similar legend written around her neck in diamonds, which signify constancy against every rebellious and lascivious desire, and in topazes, the properties of which extinguish all lust.
Bros before...
Ffarewell, Love, and all thy lawes for ever;
Thy bayted hookes shall tangill me no more;
Senec and Plato call me from thy lore,
To perfaict welth my wit for to endever.
In blynde errour when I did perseuer,
Thy sharpe repulce that pricketh ay so sore
Hath taught me to sett in tryfels no store
And scape fourth syns libertie is lever.
Therefore, farewell; goo trouble yonger hertes
And in me clayme no more authoritie;
With idill yeuth goo vse thy propertie
And thereon spend thy many britill dertes:
For hetherto though I have lost all my tyme,
Me lusteth no lenger
rotten boughes
to clyme.
Philos & Eros
If waker care if sodayne pale Colour
If many sighes with litle speche to playne
Now ioy, now woo, if they my chere distayne,
For hope of smalle, if muche to fere therfore,
To hast, to slak, my pase lesse or more,
Be signe of love then do I love agayne.
If thou ask whom, sure sins I did refrayne

Brunet, that set my welth in such a rore,
Th’ unfayned chere of Phillis hath the place
That Brunet had: she hath and ever shal.
She from my self now hath me in her grace:
She hath in hand my witt, my will, and all.
My hert alone wel worthie she doth staye,
Without whose helpe skant do I live a daye.

MS Egerton 2711 fol. 66v
Senec and Plato
Stond who so list vpon the Slipper toppe
Of courtes estates and lett me heare rejoice;
And vse me quyet without lett or stoppe,
Vnknowen in courte that hath suche brackishe ioyes.
In hidden place, so lett my dayes forthe passé,
That when my yeares be done, withouten noyse,
I may dye aged after the common trace.
Ffor him death greep’the right hard by the croppe
That is moche knowen of other, and of him self alas,
Doth dye vnknowen, dazed with dreadfull face.
Stet quicumque volet potens
aulae culmine lubrico:
me dulcis saturet quies.
obscuro positus loco
leni perfruar otio,
nullis nota Quiritibus
aetas per tacitum fluat.
sic cum transierint mei
nullo cum strepitu dies,
plebeius moriar senex.
illi mors gravis incubat
qui, notus nimis omnibus,
ignotus moritur sibi.
, 391-403)
Jupiter's Throne:
Who lyst his welthe and eas Retayne,
Hym selffe let hym vnknowne contayne;
Presse not to ffast in at that gatte
Wher the Retorne standes by desdayne,
For sure, circa Regna tonat.

The hye montaynis ar blastyd oft,
When the lowe vaylye ys myld and soft;
Ffortune with helthe stondis at debate;
The ffall ys grevous ffrome Aloffte:
And sure, circa Regna tonat.

These blodye dayes haue brokyn my hart;
My lust, my youth dyd then departe,
And blynd desyre of astate;
Who hastis to clyme sekes to reuerte:
Of truthe, circa Regna tonat.
The bell towre showed me suche syght
That in my hed stekys day and nyght;
Ther dyd I lerne out of a grate,
Ffor all vauore, glory or myght,
That yet circa Regna tonat.

By proffe, I say, ther dyd I lerne,
Wyt helpythe not deffence to yerne,
Of innocence to pled or prate;
Ber low, therffor, geve god the sterne,
Ffor sure, circa Regna tonat.
Rustic Retirement:
The Quyete of Mynde
Thou art fallen from some rule or authorite/thou shalt lyve i[n] the countre. Aplyeng thy priuate busynesse/with great compasse assaying to auaunce thy selfe in the princes fauour/thou are refused/thou shalt lyue surely euery where/with no busynesse layd vnto the. [...] want of children maketh the sad/ Loke on the Romayn kynges of whom neuer a one dieng/ left his reigne to his childe [...] So nouther gorgiusnesse of buylding/ nor weight of golde/ nor noblenesse of kyn/ nor greatnesse of empire/ nor eloque[n]ce & fayre spekyng/ brinketh so muche clerenesse of lyfe and so plesant quietnes/ as bringeth a mynde disceuered from trouble of busynesse/ lyueng (as they say) wt hym selfe ferre from yll aduyse.
Conclusion: Riddle
Afterword: C.S. Lewis
My sympathy deserts my own sex. I feel how very disagreeable it must be for a woman to have a lover like Wyatt.
Soon afterwards she asked Lady Kingston whether the prisoners [who included Wyatt] had anybody to make their beds for them, ‘Nay, I warrant you’, she replied. ‘They might make balettes well now’, said Anne, quibbling on pallets [mattresses] and ballets, ‘but there is none but Rochford that can do it’. ‘Yes’, rejoined Lady Kingston, ‘Master Wyatt’. ‘By my faith’, said Anne, ‘thou hast said true’. (Muir,
Life and Letters
, 29-30).
The piller pearisht is whearto I Lent
the strongest staye of myne vnquyet mvnde
The lyke of it no man agayne can fynde
ffrom East to west still seking thoughe he went
To myne vnhappe for happe away hath rent
Of all my ioye the vearye bark and rynde
And I (alas) by chaunce am thus assynde
Dearlye to moorne till death do it relent
but syns that thus it is by destenye
What can I more but have a wofull hart
My penne in playnt, my voyce in wofull crye
My mynde in woe, my bodye ful of smart
And I my self, my self alwayes to hate
Till dreadfull death, do cease my dolefull state
Katherine of Aragon(?)
What wourde is that that chaungeth not,
Though it be tourned and made in twain?
It is myn aunswer, god it wot,
And eke the causer of my payn.
A love rewardeth with disdain,
Yet is it loved. What would ye more?
It is my helth eke and my sore.
Rotta è l'alta colonna...
Who can understand Wyatt?
Who absolve him?
Vat. lat. 3195, f. 38v
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