Other literary forms

(British and Irish Poetry, Revised Edition)

Sir Thomas Wyatt’s Plutarckes Boke of the Quyete of Mynde, a prose translation of Plutarch’s essay on the quiet of mind, which he read in Guillaume Budé’s Latin version, was made at the request of Queen Katherine of Aragon and published in 1528—his only notable work published in his lifetime. His original prose works are interesting in their own right. The state papers contain several fine examples of his correspondence. His most polished prose works are the defense he prepared for his trial in 1541 and his two letters of moral advice to his son. These letters make explicit the moral stance that underlies his poems, especially extolling honesty, which comprises “wisdome, gentlenes, sobrenes, disire to do good, frendlines to get the love of many, and trougth above all the rest.” Wyatt’s prose is distinguished by its clarity and directness, its easy, colloquial use of language, its lively intelligence, and its wit. Often in the diplomatic letters he makes his style more immediate by using direct discourse to report conversations.