Veritas Viat Fides
me inimici mei 1
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:
For the direct .MP3 file, click here.
Norton Anthology of English Literature, 6th ed. v.1.
New York: W. W. Norton & Co., 1993. 447.
|| to Sir Thomas Wyatt|
Site copyright ©1996-2018 Anniina Jokinen. All Rights Reserved.
Created by Anniina Jokinen on August 3, 1996. Last updated December 25, 2018.
King Henry VII
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Queen Mary I
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Renaissance English Writers
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Sir Thomas More
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Edward de Vere
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Mary Sidney Herbert
Sir John Davies
Persons of Interest
Field of the Cloth of Gold, 1520
Pilgrimage of Grace, 1536
The Babington Plot, 1586
The Spanish Armada, 1588
English Renaissance Drama
Images of London:
London in the time of Henry VII. MS. Roy. 16 F. ii.
London, 1510, the earliest view in print
Map of England from Saxton's Descriptio Angliae, 1579
Location Map of Elizabethan London
Plan of the Bankside, Southwark, in Shakespeare's time
Detail of Norden's Map of the Bankside, 1593
Bull and Bear Baiting Rings from the Agas Map (1569-1590, pub. 1631)
Sketch of the Swan Theatre, c. 1596
Westminster in the Seventeenth Century, by Hollar
Visscher's Panoramic View of London, 1616. COLOR