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Henry Howard the Poet Earl of SurreyA Life$
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W. A. Sessions

Print publication date: 2003

Print ISBN-13: 9780198186250

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198186250.001.0001

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A New Body of Honour: Sir Thomas Wyatt

A New Body of Honour: Sir Thomas Wyatt

(p.240) 9 A New Body of Honour: Sir Thomas Wyatt
Henry Howard the Poet Earl of Surrey

W. A. Sessions

Oxford University Press

Early in October 1542 Sir Thomas Wyatt died. He was thirty nine years old, and Hans Holbein's 1541 portrait of his head, bare neck, bare shoulders, and upper chest with hair shows that, in his last years, the body had remained strong. However, the effects of his final imprisonment may have been exhausting, and this rather staged portrait may not show the deeper consequences of his years as England's powerful diplomat with his delicate manoeuvring between European and English courts. In contrast to his genuine labour representing the turbulent Henrician court to Europe, Wyatt had always sought ‘the quyet mind’ he had named in his 1529 translation of Plutarch and described in a satire to his friend John Poins. Under the tension between the poet's need for self and contemplation and the demands of his nation, he laboured, having accepted the call of his time as clearly as Aeneas had.

Keywords:   Thomas Wyatt, Hans Holbein, death, imprisonment, England, diplomat, Plutarc, poet

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