Thomas Wyatt, born at Ellington Castle in 1503, was the son of a Kentish squire and was educated at Cambridge. He came to the court of Henry VIII in 1520 and received his first employment in a government office in 1524. He married a young peer’s daughter, who was the mother of his two children.
And thereafter was consistently unfaithful until Wyatt refused to live with her. After his separation from his wife, Wyatt held various posts at Court. He was noted for his sprightly participation in light social intercourse, and soon became an active royal agent on secret continental missions. He was once a political prisoner on the king’s behalf in Italy, several times a diplomatic envoy, and twice a political prisoner under the king himself. It is one of the traditions about Wyatt that he had been a lover of Anne Boleyn before she became queen. While this is not proved, it is by no means improbable.
Poetic Journey of Thomas Whyatt
The circumstance may be referred to in the lyric beginning who so list to hunt. From his poems, it is evident that he was a man of passionate and intellectual temper, not naturally melancholy but to some extent made so by circumstances.
His affinities are with Donne more than with any other poet. Thomas Wyatt was one who had known happiness and good fortune but was deprived of both during much of his short life. When Anne Boleyn fell he was thrown into the Tower. But though he was spared and re-employed, he was disillusioned when his protector Thomas Cromwell, fell from power. He was knighted in 1537 but he was put again in the Tower in 1541 at the instigation of Suffolk. He was freed, only to die of fever in 1542 while fulfilling a diplomatic assignment. Wyatt, like very considerable poet after him, worked at the Centre of the country’s life.