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Soon afterwards, he made a further purchase in Kent, of the estate and mansion of the Mote, also near Maidstone, and the present residence of the Earls of Romney.
Sir Henry Wyatt was a Privy Counsellor to Henry the seventh, and named in that Monarch's will as one of his executors. He was afterwards appointed of the Council for the management of public affairs during the minority of Henry the eighth.—Upon the coronation of the latter, he was made a Knight of the Bath; and after the Battle of Spurs, where he held a military command, was further distinguished by the chivalrous title of a Knight Banneret in the field of battle—this happened in 1513. In 1516 he was appointed to preside certain days in the Star Chamber, and about the same time was constituted Knight Marshall; in which capacity he attended his master to Calais, when the famous interview took place between the two Kings in the plains of Ardres. In 1521 he was made keeper of the King's jewels. In 1527 he entertained the King at his Castle of Allington, who was then, according to a praiseworthy custom, now too much neglected, going his progress round Kent. In 1533 he appears to have been the King's Ewerer, an office of considerable distinction.
Sir Henry Wyatt died at Allington in 1538, being not less than 78 years
age. Sir Thomas Wyatt was born at Allington Castle in Kent, in 1503, and was sent to the University of Cambridgė, at the early age of twelve years. He was of St. John's College ; took his degree of Batchelor in 1518, and that of Master in 1520.--Wood says he was afterwards removed to Oxford, which assertion seems contrary to the evidence of several facts. It is certain
that he had finished his studies, and was admitted a gentleman of the King's bedchamber, some time previous to the
Sir Thomas Wyatt married, in the year 1523, Elizabeth the daughter of Brook Lord Cobham, and his eldest son, the unfortunate Sir Thomas Wyatt the younger, was born the following year.
The next memorable incident in the life of Sir Thomas Wyatt, is after an interval of nine years, when, in 1533, he officiated for his father at the coronation of Anne Boleyn, in his capacity of Ewerer. All that we know of him during this interval is, that he filled the part of a courtier so well as to have obtained the envied situation of favourite to his capricious and dangerous master. His ascendency over the King at this time was so great, that his recommendation was considered the surest road to preferment, and it became a common saying upon any unexpected promotion, that the successful candidate “ had been in Wyatt's closet.”
The accomplishments which insured our poet this exalted station, were great personal beauty,-a quick and ready wit,-a generous and open disposition,dexterity in the martial exercises of the times,-a talent for verse,-skill in languages, and in music. It is certain that during this period of his life, Wyatt entered with animation into all the gaiety and dissipation of the court, and as such a life seems to have been congenial to his disposition, he appears to have been happy and contented. To these halcyon days, he doubtless alludes in the following stanza:
“ What earthly thing more can I crave ?
What would I wish more at my will!
Save what I have, to have it still."
It was also during this spring-time of his age that love gave inspiration to his muse. His reverend biographer takes great pains to convince us that it was of that rare kind called platonic love," an innocent but a dangerous friendship.” It was the practice of the poets of that age, a practice borrowed from the example of their master Petrarch, to single out some object to whom they might address the most impassioned strains, without even a distant expectation of obtaining the usually hoped for reward of such efforts. Surrey, the celebrated contemporary and friend of Wyatt, was a married man when he assumed this poetic passion for his Geraldine, who was herself a child, and in the end but ill requited his labours. At a period rather later, Sir Philip Sydney, himself a married man, singled out the Lady Rich, a married woman, as the heroine of his muse, and under the assumed titles of Astrophel and Stella, addressed to her a volume of poems in the language of genuine passion. The object of Wyatt's attachment was the beautiful and unfortunate Anne Boleyn. It is a remarkable fact, and it tends in a degree to confirm the opinion that this poetic love was of the kind termed platonic, that the ladies, in almost every instance, requited the infatuated poets with the disdain they most justly merited. It is probable that this practice was not confined to poets only, but that in them it became notorious, and was handed down to posterity from their embodying it in
Dr. Nott has entered into an attempt to palliate, if not to justify it,--the attempt is fruitless,--the
practice admits of no palliation,-it was both criminal and absurd.**
That the object of Wyatt's poetic, or if the term be more appropriate, platonic affection, was Anne Boleyn, is proved from the internal evidence of his works, as well as from some obscure notices in the history of the time, and from family tradition. One of his poems is addressed to his love called Anna; in others, he alludes to the necessity of relinquishing the object of his affections to a powerful rival, and there is a sonnet beginning with the line
" Whoso list to hunt, I know where is a hind.”
* In his life of Surrey, Dr. Nott goes the length to assert, that “ Petrarch avowed his attachment to Laura when she wis a married woman ; yet his love was deemed the purest and most exalted that the human breast conld entertain.” In a note to this passage, the Rev. Dr. further remarksm" Some donbis have been entertained of late, whether Laura was really a inarried woman, as has been generally supposed. Lord Woodhouselce has written an ingenious essay 10 prove that she lived and died single. The point must still be considered as doubtful. But which ever way the truth may lie, in Surrey's time Laura was, I beliere, universally beliered to hare been married.” This is a remarkable instance of how far a writer may be carried in his wish to snpport a particular point. Dr. Noti is endeavonring to palliate a practice deserving only of reprobation, and he desires to support it hy the authority of great names. Such trifling to call it by no worse term, with the character of the illustrious dead, is not honourable in any writer. Dr. Nott most have known, if he had read tlre essay of Lord Woodhouselee, two things : first-thut Laura was never married; secondly, that in Surrey's time, the universal opinion wos, that she was never married. The fact is, that the calumny originated in the infamous vanity of a Frenchman in the last century. The essay of Lord Woodbouselee contains an ample refutation of this attempt, and is a most ingenions, delightful, and praise-worthy composition. Its merits are not sufficiently known, and it has not been justly appreciated.
which contains the following express declaration :
“ Whoso list to hont, I put him out of doubt,
As well as I may spend his time in vain ;
Graven with diamonds, in letters plain,
“ Noli me tangere ;" for Cæsar's I am
And wild for to hold, though I seem tame.” When the British tyrant had determined to sacrifice the unfortunate Anne to his lust, attempts were made by his agents to fix a stain upon her honour, and among others the attachment of Sir Thomas Wyatt was selected as affording a pretence of that nature. Writers are not wanting who assert, that he made himself a voluntary confession of criminal intimacy with her previous to her marriage. There is every reason to hope, for the credit of our poet, that this calumny was without foundation. It is not, it must be confessed, contrary to the character and spirit of the time, which afford instances of every thing mean, dastardly, and disgusting ; but there can be little doubt had he made such an acknowledgement, that he would have added another to the train of victims which accompanied this most revolting tragedy."
The whole compass of history does not furnish an example of more infernal tyranny on the part of a ruler, or more servile, base, and dastardly conduct on that of a numerous and powerful nobility, than that exhibited in the trial and condemnation of Anne Boleyn. She was found guilty of a revolting and unnatural crime, upon evidence of the slightest and most sus. picious nature; her near relation, the Duke of Norfolk, presiding at the head of a jury consisting of the prime of England's nobility; the gentle, the chivalrous Surrey, alas! officiating as Marshall. The number of Dukes, Marquisses, Earls, and Barons assembled on this disgusting occasion, was twentysix, and history has consigued their names to eternal infamy. The conduct of the royal monster ou trages humanity. oak,” says Dr. Nott, "is, I believe, still existing, called