Yesterday I bought Bring Up The Bodies - Hilary Mantel's sequel to her 2009 smash hit Wolf Hall - and so far it's just as unputdownable as the original. She continues the story of Thomas Cromwell's ascendancy in the court of Henry VIII, with the same wild energy and gorgeous embodiments. See James Wood's review of both novels for a much better overview than I can give here. This is more by way of an introduction to this weekend's poem.
When I was reading Wolf Hall, you might remember, I posted a poem by Thomas Wyatt, a minor character but (at the time) a major poet. The other major poet from the early sixteenth-century was Henry Howard, the Earl of Surrey, who died in 1547 at the venerable age of 30. Wyatt and Surrey were both published in Tottel's Miscellany, an anthology important in collecting and shaping the poetic experience of the early English Renaissance. They were precursors to Sidney and Spenser, who in turn precursed Shakespeare, Marlowe and Jonson. This poem is Surrey's sonnet on the death of Wyatt - a touching tribute, and a fitting way to mark the lives of both. Fans of Midsummer Nights Dream should enjoy the reference to Pyramus and Thisbe in the final line.
Divers thy death do diversely bemoan:
Some, that in presence of thy livelihed
Lurked, whose breasts envy with hate had swoln,
Yield Cæsar's tears upon Pompeius' head.
Some, that watched with the murd'rer's knife,
With eager thirst to drink thy guiltless blood,
Whose practice brake by happy end of life,
With envious tears to hear thy fame so good.
But I, that knew what harbour'd in that head ;
What virtues rare were tempered in that breast ;
Honour the place that such a jewel bred,
And kiss the ground whereas the corpse doth rest ;
With vapour'd eyes : from whence such streams availe,
As Pyramus did on Thisbe's breast bewail.