Veritas Viat Fides
me inimici mei 1
by Sir Thomas Wyatt, the
Who list his wealth and ease
Himself let him unknown contain.
Press not too fast in at that gate
Where the return stands by disdain,
For sure, circa Regna tonat.2
The high mountains are
When the low valley is mild and soft.
Fortune with Health stands at debate.
The fall is grievous from aloft.
And sure, circa Regna tonat.
These bloody days have
broken my heart.
My lust, my youth did them depart,
And blind desire of estate.
Who hastes to climb seeks to revert.
Of truth, circa Regna tonat.
The bell tower showed me
That in my head sticks day and night.
There did I learn out of a grate,
For all favour, glory, or might,
That yet circa Regna tonat.
By proof, I say, there did I
Wit helpeth not defence too yerne,
Of innocency to plead or prate.
Bear low, therefore, give God the stern,
For sure, circa Regna tonat.
1. The Latin title adapts Psalm
16.9: "My enemies surround my soul."
Wyatt's name ("Viat") in the title is surrounded by Innocence, Truth,
2. "It thunders through the realms," Seneca, Phaedra, 1.1140.
The first two stanzas paraphrase lines from that play.
[AJ Note: It is generally thought Wyatt wrote this poem after witnessing
the execution of Anne Boleyn and her "accomplices" from the window
grate of his cell in the Bell Tower at the Tower of London.]
Audio reading ©2012 Anniina Jokinen:
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Norton Anthology of English Literature, 6th ed. v.1.
New York: W. W. Norton & Co., 1993. 447.
||to Works of Sir Thomas Wyatt
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