Verse > Anthologies > T. H. Ward, ed. > The English Poets > Vol. I. Chaucer to Donne
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Thomas Humphry Ward, ed.  The English Poets.  1880–1918.
Vol. I. Early Poetry: Chaucer to Donne
 
On the Death of Sir Thomas Wyatt
By Henry Howard, Earl of Surrey (1517–1547)
 
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,        5
  Whose hammers beat still in that lively brain,
As on a stithe 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;        10
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 (unperfected for time)        15
  Some may approach, but never none shall hit.
 
A tongue that served in foreign realms his king;
  Whose courteous talk to virtue did inflame
Each noble heart: a worthy guide to bring
  Our English youth by travail unto fame.        20
 
An eye whose judgment none affect 1 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 imprest        25
  To hide the thought that might the truth advance;
In neither fortune loft, 2 nor yet represt,
  To swell in wealth, or yield unto mischance.
 
A valiant corpse, where force and beauty met,
  Happy alas, too happy but for foes,        30
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 could be dead;        35
  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.
 
Note 1. no passion. [back]
Note 2. exalted. [back]
 
 
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