Thomas Wyatt and Francis Bryan

Jason Powell

in The Oxford Handbook of Tudor Literature

Published in print September 2009 | ISBN: 9780199205882
Published online September 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks of Literature

 Thomas Wyatt and Francis Bryan

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In the sixteenth century, both Sir Thomas Wyatt and Sir Francis Bryan were elevated as models of one or another virtue. However, the characterizations of both men were flawed. Wyatt was perhaps the country's most important poet since Chaucer, but he was not quite the figure of honour portrayed by the Earl of Surrey. Bryan was hardly a poet at all: his one known piece of extant verse is clumsy and derivative even by the standards of early Tudor imitation, and there is little evidence that he authored any of the anonymous poems in Tottel's Miscellany. Nevertheless, Tudor commentators got one thing right: as writers, Wyatt and Bryan epitomized two models of early Tudor ‘virtue’ in an age of profoundly shifting ethical value systems. These two models play out most dramatically in the shifting, ironic voices of Wyatt's third satire, ‘A spending hand’, dedicated to Bryan.

Keywords: poets; writers; early Tudor virtue; ethics; satire

Article.  8228 words. 

Subjects: Literature ; Literary Studies (1500 to 1800)

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