Wyatt's "Who list his wealth and ease retain" in Manuscript
This poem occurs in only in the Blage manuscript, where it is identifiable as probably Wyatt's because of the "Viat" in the rebus below, which stands on the page immediately above the poem. In the Norton 6th edition, the rebus was included as a "title." The editors of the Norton 7th edition apparently believe that this series of words, though appearing above the poem in the manuscript, are not connected to it. They may be right because of the recently established scholarly opinion that manuscript-tradition poets did not title their words, but as a super-compressed aesthetic use of words thematically relevant to the poem, it bears witness to what the manuscript reader would have encountered on the page. The last line is adapted from Psalm 16, where the enemies surround the speaker's soul. See R. A. Rebholz's notes on this poem in Sir Thomas Wyatt: The Complete Poems (New Haven: Yale UP, 1978) for a standard interpretation in which the moral virtues defend Wyatt from his enemies. However, those "virtues" also surround "Viat." Could they be "enemies" of a different sort in a dangerous court where truth and faith and innocence might put one at risk? Especially, read the last stanza carefully. (For another similarly ambiguous poem on this topic, see Chaucer's "Truth.")
Here is rebus found above the Wyatt poem, "Who list his wealth and ease retain," followed by an English translation:
Veritas Viat Fides
Circumdederunt me inimici mei
Truth Wyatt Faith
My enemies surround me.