How might one interpret the poem "Perdie, I said It Not, Nor never thought to do," by Sir Thomas Wyatt?

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accessteacher | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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Important to understanding this poem by Wyatt is the title that he has given this verse: "The Lover Excuseth Him of Words Wherewith He was Unjustly Charged." Let us remember that so many of Wyatt's poems focus on the politics of court and how relationships become involved in the cut and thrust of power as people try and manipulate each other to raise themselves up above other people who are trying to do exactly the same thing. Here, in this poem, Wyatt tries to defend himself from the accusations made by his lover of something that he has said. His defence is to plead his innocence and his love for her:

And if I did, each star,

That is in heaven above,

May frown on me to mar

The hope that I have in love!

Wyatt pleads his innocence by wishing that his love for his beloved would not meet with success if he is lying about not having said the words of which he is accused of uttering. Again and again, he pleads his innocence by wishing bad things upon himself if he is lying. He builds his defence on his essential truthfulness:

You know that I have never swerved,

You never found me liar.

The poem then is a defence of Wyatt's character against an accusation that has been made by his lover.

 

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