Thomas Wyatt, Blage MS Poem 178

Accusyd thoo I be without desert,

    Noone can hit prove, yet ye beleve hit treue;

Nor never yet, sens that ye had my hart,

    Intendid I to be fals or untrewe.

Soner I wold of deth susteyne the smart

    Than breke one thyng of that I promast you;

Accept therfore my servyce in good parte;

    Noon ys a lyve that yll tonges can extew,

Hold them as false and let not us depart

    Oure frendship old in hoppe of any new.

Put not thy trust in suche as use to fayne,

    Except thow mynd to put thy frynds to payne.





       This may be the same Anne Stanhope who later became the second wife of Edward Seymour, Duke of Somerset and later Protector of the young Edward VII.  Notice that spelling had not yet been regularized.  Poets of Wyatt's day, like Chaucer over a hundred years before him, spelled words as they sounded to them.  This poem's 12 lines of iambic tetrameter, rhyming abababababcc, is an interesting transitional genre related to the English sonnet.  As you probably remember from high school, the sonnet is 14 lines of iambic pentameter, usually rhyming ababcdcdefefgg (typical "English"), or ababababcdcdcd (typical "Italian").  This shorter, tetrameter poem experiments with English sonnet's ending couplet, which was more dramatically compressed than the Italian sonnet's concluding sestet (6-line rhyming unit with a logical "turn" answering the situation in the preceding octave or 8-line unit).