Introduction

Thomas Wyatt was part of the court of Henry VIII, where the closeness of his association with Henry's second wife Anne Boleyn has been much commented on. It has been said he confessed this fact to the King, and it is said this spared him the same fate as many of Anne's other lovers.  He survived his stay in the Tower of London to go on and became an ambassador for Henry to both France and Italy.  These travels exposed him to the poetry of these European countries.

Wyatt is attributed to introducing the Italian sonnet into English literature.  However, according to The Oxford Companion to English Literature, his poems are 'are beset by problems in three main areas; authorship, biographical relevance, and artistic aims.'  The poems that have been authenticated include translations, sonnets, satires and lute songs.

Critical estimates of Wyatt varied considerably throughout the 20th century.  C.S. Lewis (1898-1963) called him 'the father of the Drab Age', but others have viewed him as a complex and original writer whose love poems anticipated those of Donne.

Many consider his poem "Whoso list to hunt" to be about Anne Boleyn.

Drabble, Marget, ed. The Oxford Companion to English Literature, 6th ed. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2000, 1119-1120