We are Mark, Freek, Steven, Teun and Quinten. Our subject is the Early Rennaisance. we are dying to tell you more about it. We have focused on a few subjects. Poems, the Language, historical background and literature in that specific time (1485-1558)
Sir Thomas Wyatt (1503 – 24 September 1542) was a 16th-century English lyrical poet who is best known as the individual whom scholars credit with introducing the sonnet into English. He was born austrai at Allington Castle, near Maidstone in Kent – though his family was originally from Yorkshire. His father, Henry Wyatt, had been one of Henry VII’s Privy Councillors, and remained a trusted adviser when Henry VIII came to the throne in 1509. In his turn, Thomas Wyatt followed his father to court after his education at St John’s College, Cambridge.
Education and Diplomatic Career
Wyatt was over six feet tall, reportedly both handsome and physically strong. By all accounts, Wyatt was not only a brilliant poet, but also a astute diplomat. Wyatt was a poet and Ambassador in the service of Henry VIII. He first entered Henry’s service in 1516 as ‘Sewer Extraordinary’, and the same year he began studying at St John’s College of the University of Cambridge. He married Elizabeth Brooke (1503 – 1560), the sister of George Brooke, 9th Baron Cobham, in 1521, and a year later she gave birth to a son, Thomas Wyatt, the younger, who led Wyatt’s rebellion many years after his father’s death. (This rebellion, aimed at putting Elizabeth Tudor on the English throne while her sister Mary I reigned, resulted in the younger Wyatt’s imprisonment and execution and put Elizabeth herself under heavy suspicion, although she rigorously denied any participation in that rebellion.) In 1524 Henry VIII assigned Wyatt to be an Ambassador at home and abroad, and some time soon after he separated from his wife on the grounds of adultery.
He accompanied Sir John Russell to Rome to help petition Pope Clement VII to annul the marriage of Henry VIII to his first wife, Catherine of Aragon, an embassy whose goal was to make Henry free to marry Anne Boleyn. According to some, Wyatt was captured by the armies of Emperor Charles V when they captured Rome and imprisoned the Pope in 1527 but managed to escape and then made it back to England. In 1535 Wyatt was knighted.
Modern scholars credit Wyatt with introducing the sonnet into English poetry–an event of great artistic moment for English poetry. Although a significant amount of his literary output consists of translations of sonnets by the Italian poet Petrarch, he wrote others of his own. Wyatt’s sonnets first appeared in Tottle’s Miscellany, now on exhibit in the British Library in London. In addition to imitations of works by the classical writers Seneca and Horace, he experimented with other poetic forms such as the rondeau, and wrote epigrams, songs and satires and introduced contemporaries to his poulter’s measure form (couplets of twelve syllable iambic lines alternating with a fourteen syllable line). While Wyatt’s poetry reflects classical and Italian models, he also admired the work of Chaucer and his vocabulary reflects Chaucer’s (for example, his use of Chaucer’s word newfangleness, meaning fickle, in They flee from me that sometime did me seek). His best-known poems are those that deal with the trials of romantic love. Others of his poems were scathing, satirical indictments of the hypocrisies and flat-out pandering required of courtiers ambitious to advance at the Tudor court. There is a case to be made for Wyatt’s having been essential in making English a language worthy for literature, since French had been the court tongue and Latin the language of diplomacy until around his time.
Critical opinions of his work have varied widely. For most of his posthumous legacy, he was considered an inferior poet to his contemporary Henry Howard, Earl of Surrey. The twentieth century saw an awakening in his popularity and a surge in critical attention. C. S. Lewis called him ‘the father of the Drab Age’, though not necessarily in a dismissive sense, while others see his love poetry, with its complex use of literary conceits, as anticipating that of the metaphysical poets in the next century. As the individual who introduced the sonnet into English, Wyatt remains a pivotal figure in Early Modern literature.
In line 1 of “Whoso List to Hunt,” the narrator states that for those who wish to hunt, he knows of a particular hind, a female deer. The narrator himself is trying to abandon the hunt, acknowledging in line 2 that this hind is beyond his reach. Indeed, he is “wearied” from the “vain travail,” the useless work, of the hunt; he has begun to recognize the futility of the pursuit. He laments in the fourth line that he is the last of the pursuers, the one “that farthest cometh behind.”
In the second stanza, the narrator states that he cannot take his “wearied mind from the deer.” When she flees, he proclaims, “Fainting I follow.” Nevertheless, he is ultimately forced to indeed abandon the chase, as she is too fast and all that he can catch is the wind that rises after she passes. In sum, the first eight lines, the octave, state the problem of the writer’s wasted hunt.
In the closing sestet, the invitation initially offered by the narrator to whoever wishes to hunt this particular hind is partly rescinded; in line 9, the narrator states that he will remove any doubt about the wisdom of doing so. Just as his hunt was in vain, so would be those of other hunters, as the hind wears a diamond collar around her neck proclaiming her ownership by another. The concluding couplet notes that the collar reads “Noli me tangere,” or “Touch me not” in Latin. Thus, the first part of the warning is “Touch me not, for Caesar’s I am.” According to legend, long after the ancient Roman emperor Caesar’s death, white stags were found wearing collars on which were inscribed the words “Noli me tangere; Caesaris sum,” or “Touch me not; I am Caesar’s.” The first part of that phrase, “Noli me tangere,” is also a quotation from the Vulgate Bible, from John 20:17, when Christ tells Mary Magdalene, “Do not touch me, for I have not yet ascended to my Father.” In the final line, the warning on the collar continues: the deer herself declares that while she appears tame, holding her is dangerous, as she is wild.
The Petrarchan sonnet (also Petrarchanism or Petrarchian) refers to a concept of unattainable love, and was first developed by the Italian humanist and writer, Francesco Petrarca. Conventionally Petrarchan sonnets depicted the lady as a model and inspiration. This phrase is often used in reference to romantic literature, including analysis of Shakespeare.
Petrarch developed the Italian sonnet pattern, which is known to this day as the Petrarchan sonnet or the Italian sonnet. The original Italian sonnet form divides the poem’s 14 lines into two parts, an octave (first eight lines) and a sestet (last six lines). The rhyme scheme for the octave is typically abbaabba. There are a few possibilities for the sestet, including cdecde, cdcdcd, and cdcdee. This form was used in the earliest English sonnets by Wyatt and others. For background on the pre-English sonnet, see Robert Canary’s web page, The Continental Origins of the Sonnet. .
Because of the structure of Italian, the rhyme scheme of the Petrarchan sonnet is more easily fulfilled in that language than in English. The first eight lines create an octave, with the rhyme scheme a b b a a b b a. The last six lines make up a sestet and may consist of following rhyme schemes: 1) c d d c d d 2) c d e c d e 3) c d c d c d 4) c d d c e e
The octave and sestet have special functions in a Petrarchan sonnet. The octave’s purpose is to introduce a problem, express a desire, reflect on reality, or otherwise present a situation that causes doubt or conflict within the speaker. It usually does this by introducing the problem within its first quatrain (unified four-line section) and developing it in the second. The beginning of the sestet is known as the volta, and it introduces a pronounced change in tone in the sonnet; the sestet’s purpose as a whole is to make a comment on the problem or to apply a solution to it.
Poets adopting the Petrarchan sonnet form take liberties with it in that they do not necessarily restrict themselves to the strict metrical or rhyme schemes of the traditional Petrarchan form; some use iambic hexameter, while others do not observe the octave-sestet division created by the traditional rhyme scheme. Whatever the changes made by poets exercising artistic license, no “proper” Italian sonnet has more than five different rhymes in it.
The Early Renaissance
The King of England in the early renaissance was Henry VIII, born on 28 June 1491. He was the King from 21 April 1509 until his death in 1547. He has also been Lord of Ireland and later King of Ireland.
Henry VIII was a significant figure in the history of the English monarchy. Although in the great part of his reign he brutally suppressed the influence of the Protestant Reformation in England, a movement having some roots with John Wycliffe in the 14th century, he is more popularly known for his role in the separation of the Church of England from the Roman Catholic Church. Henry’s struggles with Rome ultimately led to the separation of the Church of England from papal authority, the Dissolution of the Monasteries, and establishing himself as the Supreme Head of the Church of England. Although some. claim that Henry became a Protestant on his death-bed, he remained an advocate for traditional Catholic ceremony and doctrine throughout his life, even after his excommunication from the Roman Catholic Church following the annulment of his marriage to first wife Catherine of Aragon and the marriage to his second wife, Anne Boleyn. Royal support for the English Reformation began with his heirs, the devout Edward VI and the renowned Elizabeth I, whilst daughter Mary I temporarily reinstated papal authority over England. Henry also oversaw the legal union of England and Wales with the Laws in Wales Acts 1535–1542. He is also noted for his six wives, two of whom were beheaded.
The Life of Sir Thomas More (1478-1535)
“The King’s good servant, but God’s first.”
Thomas More was born in Milk Street, London on February 7, 1478, son of Sir John More, a prominent judge. He was educated at St Anthony’s School in London. As a youth he served as a page in the household of Archbishop Morton, who anticipated More would become a
“marvellous man.”1 More went on to study at Oxford under Thomas Linacre and William Grocyn. During this time, he wrote comedies and studied Greek and Latin literature. One of his first works was an English translation of a Latin biography of the Italian humanist Pico della Mirandola. It was printed by Wynkyn de Worde in 1510.
Around 1494 More returned to London to study law, was admitted to Lincoln’s Inn in 1496, and became a barrister in 1501. Yet More did not automatically follow in his father’s footsteps. He was torn between a monastic calling and a life of civil service. While at Lincoln’s Inn, he determined to become a monk and subjected himself to the discipline of the Carthusians, living at a nearby monastery and taking part of the monastic life. The prayer, fasting, and penance habits stayed with him for the rest of his life. More’s desire for monasticism was finally overcome by his sense of duty to serve his country in the field of politics. He entered Parliament in 1504, and married for the first time in 1504 or 1505.
More became a close friend with Desiderius Erasmus during the latter’s first visit to England in 1499. It was the beginning of a lifelong friendship and correspondence. They
produced Latin translations of Lucian’s works, printed at Paris in 1506, during Erasmus’ second visit. On Erasmus’ third visit, in 1509, he wrote Encomium Moriae, or Praise of Folly, (1509), dedicating it to More.
One of More’s first acts in Parliament had been to urge a decrease in a proposed appropriation for King Henry VII. In revenge, the King had imprisoned More’s father and not released him until a fine was paid and More himself had withdrawn from public life. After the death of the King in 1509, More became active once more. In 1510, he was appointed one of the two undersheriffs of London. In this capacity, he gained a reputation for being impartial, and a patron to the poor. In 1511, More’s first wife died in childbirth. More was soon married again, to Dame Alice.
During the next decade, More attracted the attention of King Henry VIII. In 1515 he accompanied a delegation to Flanders to help clear disputes about the wool trade. Utopia opens with a reference to this very delegation. More was also instrumental in quelling a 1517 London uprising against foreigners, portrayed in the play Sir Thomas More, possibly by Shakespeare. More accompanied the King and court to the Field of the Cloth of Gold. In 1518 he became a member of the Privy Council, and was knighted in 1521.
More helped Henry VIII in writing his Defence of the Seven Sacraments, a repudiation of Luther, and wrote an answer to Luther’s reply under a pseudonym. More had garnered Henry’s favor, and was made Speaker of the House of Commons in 1523 and Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster in 1525. As Speaker, More helped establish the parliamentary privilege of free speech. He refused to endorse King Henry VIII’s plan to divorce Katherine of Aragón (1527). Nevertheless, after the fall of Thomas Wolsey in 1529, More became Lord Chancellor, the first layman yet to hold the post.
While his work in the law courts was exemplary, his fall came quickly. He resigned in 1532, citing ill health, but the reason was probably his disapproval of Henry’s stance toward the church. He refused to attend the coronation of Anne Boleyn in June 1533, a matter which did not escape the King’s notice. In 1534 he was one of the people accused of complicity with Elizabeth Barton, the nun of Kent who opposed Henry’s break with Rome, but was not attainted due to protection from the Lords who refused to pass the bill until More’s name was off the list of names.1 In April, 1534, More refused to swear to the Act of Succession and the Oath of Supremacy, and was committed to the Tower of London on April 17. More was found guilty of treason and was beheaded alongside Bishop Fisher on July 6, 1535. More’s final words on the scaffold were: “The King’s good servant, but God’s First.” More was beatified in 1886 and canonized by the Catholic Church as a saint by Pope Pius XI in 1935.
Henry Howard was born in Hundson, Hertfordshire, in 1517. He was the son of Thomas Howard and Lady Elizabeth Stafford. Surrey was his nickname. Surry was a royal descent on both sides of his family. He was given the title “Earl of Surrey”, when his grandfather past away.
In 1536 his first son, Thomas, was born in March. There were follow 4 more, Jane Howard, Margaret Howard, Henry Howard and Catherine Howard.
Surrey was a mighty soldier, just like his father and grandfather, and they all were loyal to the Tudors.
The Howards came in trouble when Jane Seymour became queen in 1536. In 1537 the Seymours accused the Howards of sympathizing the rebels of the Pilgrimage of Grace. Surry imprisoned in Windsor. Surrey’s poem “Prisoned in Windsor”, what remind him on his time in Windsor, dates from the same year. The accuses ware fake, and Surrey and his father challenged them.
Surrey was made Knight of the Garter in May 1541 and head of the University of Cambridge. In spite of these titels, however, he was not a good example of follow the rule of law. He was imprisoned twice in the Fleet prison, in 1542 and 1543.
After his release from the Fleet, Surrey served the king in Flanders with the English army on the side of Holy Roman Emperor Charles V, who was seeking to acquire the Netherlands. In a letter to Henry VIII, the emperor commended Surreys “gentil cueur.”3 In the following year, 1544, Surrey was wounded at the siege of Montreuil and returned to England, but was back in France at the head of a company of 5,000 men in Calais.4. In 1545 he became Commander of Guisnes and Commander of the garrison of Boulogne. After several skirmishes and a defeat at the battle at St. Etienne in 1546, Surrey was replaced in the post by his longtime adversary Edward Seymour, Lord Hertford (later Duke of Somerset).
Surry were accused on charges of treason. He was imprisoned in the Tower. Surrey was indicted of high treason in January 1547, despite the lack of any real evidence, condemned, and executed on the 19th of January, 1547 on Tower Hill.
1 Love that doth reign and live within my thought
2 And built his seat within my captive breast,
3 Clad in arms wherein with me he fought,
4 Oft in my face he doth his banner rest.
5 But she that taught me love and suffer pain,
6 My doubtful hope and eke my hot desire,
7 With shamefaced look to shadow and refrain,
8 Her smiling grace converteth straight to ire.
9 And coward Love, then, to the heart apace
10 Taketh his flight, where he doth lurk and ‘plain,
11 His purpose lost, and dare not show his face.
12 For my lord’s guilt thus faultless bide I pain,
13 Yet from my lord shall not my foot remove,
14 Sweet is the death that taketh end by love.
I often came across these text, when I was looking for information:
Note: The sonnet above is translated from Petrarch. Compare with Wyatt’s sonnet “The long love that in my heart doth harbor…” or with a literal translation from the Italian.
What does that mean?
Petrarch whose poetry was about the idealistic approach to love, caused for several Renaissance writers to revisit them and translate them to represent different meanings. Among others, Sir Thomas Wyatt in his poem “The Long Love That in My Thought Doth Harbour” and Henry Howard, Earl of Surrey in his poem “Love That Doth Reign and Live Within My Thought,” both explored the varying view of the original poem created by Petrarch. Their views on the aspect of love helped to be shaped by the Renaissance ideas.
The poem “The Long Love That in My Thought Doth Harbour” by Wyatt essentially depicts one view on love while the poem “Love That Doth Reign and Live Within My Thought” by Surrey, depicts an almost contrasting view. Although they both hold Petrarch’s poem as the origin. The notion that the need for love still existed, but the idea that perfect love could never exist was what basically what drove the entirety of their ideas, and what made them stream from the Petrarchan idea of idealistic love.
Literary works have certain meanings displayed throughout their entirety. A single literary work however can be interpreted in a variety of ways. Petrarch whose poetry was about the idealistic approach to love, caused for several Renaissance writers to revisit them and translate them.
Focus on language
Type of English used in this period is called: Early Modern English (1450-1650)
Its predecessor was called Middle English
The change from Middle English to Early Modern English wasn’t a small one, it was an new Era in the history of English. Literature written in this period is still pretty understandable now. There were less variations in dialect and an richer lexicon.
The works of Shakespear and the King James Bible are written in this period.
Current readers of English are able to understand Early Modern English, although some problems might arise with grammar changes.
<u> and <v> were not yet considered two distinct letters, but different forms of the same letter. Typographically, <v> was used at the start of a word and <u> elsewhere; hence vnmoued (for modern unmoved) and loue (for love).
<i> and <j> were also not yet considered two distinct letters, but different forms of the same letter, hence “ioy” for “joy” and “iust” for “just”.
The letter <S> had two distinct lowercase forms: <s> as today, and <ſ> (long s). The former was used at the end of a word, and the latter everywhere else, except that double-lowercase-S was variously written <ſſ> or <ſs>