Sir Thomas Wyatt

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Please explain Sir Thomas Wyatt's poem "Is It Possible."  

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Sir Thomas Wyatt (1503-1542) usually wrote his poems in sonnet form, specifically, in the Italian or Petrarchan form, but in the case of "Is It Possible," he chose a form, or variant of a form, called the rondeau (or redouble rondeau).

The epigraph for this poem helps guide us to an understanding: "The Lover Recounteth the Variable Fancy of His Fickle Mistress."  We can expect the theme, then, to be a lover's lament about his mistress's inconstancy.  The poem's refrain--"Is It Possible"--signals the lover's amazement that his mistress has apparently changed her view of their love on a dime, that is, suddenly, without explanation, without preliminary discussion.  A lament over a mistress's changeable nature is a very common theme in 16thC. English poetry.

For example, in the first stanza, Wyatt laments the suddenness of the change, particularly considering the importance of the subject:

That so high debate. ....

(The entire section contains 478 words.)

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