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Tudor and Stuart Love Songs

Book Overview: 

The spirit of reform which was developed during the early part of the sixteenth century brought about a desire on the part of young men of means to travel on the continent of Europe. This was for the purpose of making themselves acquainted with the politics, social life, literature, art, science, and commerce of the various nations of the same, especially of France, Spain, and Italy. These young Englishmen on their return introduced into the society in which they mixed not only the politenesses of these countries, but the wit of Italy, and the character of the poetry which was then in vogue in Southern Europe. Among these travellers during the reign of Henry the Eighth were Sir Thomas Wyatt and the Earl of Surrey. These courtiers possessed the poetical faculty, and therefore paid special attention to literary form. As a result they introduced the Sonnet of the Petrarchan type into England. The amorous verse of the inhabitants of these sunny climes took hold of the young Englishmen. Many men of rank and education, who did not regard themselves as of the world of letters, penned pleasant verse, much of it being of an amatory character based upon that of the Italians. During the reign of "Good Queen Bess" England was full of song. Of the writers of love verses William Watson occupied a very high, probably the highest, position during the time of Elizabeth.

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Book Excerpt: 
. . .And wilt thou leave me thus?
Say nay! say nay!
And wilt thou leave me thus,
And have no more pity
Of him that loveth thee?
Alas! thy cruelty!
And wilt thou leave me thus?
Say nay! say nay!

Sir Thomas Wyatt.



Love, that liveth and reigneth in my thought,
That built his seat within my captive breast,
Clad in the arms wherein with me he fought,
Oft in my face he doth his banner rest:
She that me taught to love and suffer pain,
My doubtful hope and eke my hot desire
With shamefaced cloak to shadow and restrain,
Her smiling grace converteth straight to ire:
And coward Love then to the heart apace
Taketh his flight, whereas he lurks and plains
His purpose lost, and dare not show his face.
For my lord's guilt, thus faultless, bide I pains:
Yet from my lord shall not my foot remove;
Sweet is his deat. . . Read More