Thursday, 21 February 2013

Death of Five Innocent Men

The poem has been attributed to Thomas Wyatt - who was not only a personal friend of the Boleyn family but was also arrested along with the other four men; however he was released. It appears to be about the men who were executed on false charges of adultery with Queen Anne Boleyn: George Boleyn (Lord Rochford, Anne's brother), Sir Henry Norris, Sir Francis Weston, Sir William Brereton and Mark Smeaton. However, Brereton is the only one who is not mentioned in the poem.

As for them all I do not thus lament,
But as of right my reason doth me bind;
But as the most doth all their deaths repent,
Even so do I by force of mourning mind.
Some say: "Rochford, haddest thou not been so proud,
For thy great wit each man would thee bemoan,
Since as it is so, many cry aloud
It is a great loss that thou art dead and gone!"

Ah! Norris, Norris, my tears begin to run
To think what hap did thee so lead or guide
Whereby thou hast both thy and thee undone
That is bewailed in court of every side;
In place also where thou hast never been
Both man and child doth piteously thee moan.
They say: "Alas, thou art far overseen
By thine offences to be thus dead and gone."

Ah! Weston, Weston, that pleasant was and young,
In active things who might with thee compare?
All words accept that thou didst speak with tongue
So well esteemed with each where thou didst fare.

And we that now in court doth lead our life
Most part in mind does thee lament and moan;
But that thy faults we daily hear so rife,
All we should weep, that thou art dead and gone.

Ah! Mark, what moan should I for thee make more,
Since that thy death thou hast deserved best,
Save only that my eye is forced sore
With piteous plaint to moan thee with the rest?
A time thou haddest above your poor degree, 
The fall whereof thy friends may well bemoan:
A rotten twig on so high a tree
Hath slipped thy hold and thy art dead and gone.

And thus farewell each one in hearty wise!
The axe is home, your heads be in the street;
The trickling tears doth so fall from my eyes
I scarce may write, may paper is so wet.
But what can hope when death has played his part
Though nature's course will thus lament and moan?
Leave sobs therefore, and every Christian heart
Pray for the souls of those be dead and gone.

No comments:

Post a Comment