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Book of Sir Thomas Wyatt

Speculation about Wyatt’s relationship with Anne Boleyn has gone on since Elizabeth’s reign, with numerous autobiographical references proposed in his writing. In fact, Wyatt refers to Anne in only four genuine poems. 

The clearest is 'If waker care, if sudden pale colour', written after he had fallen for Elizabeth Darell, whom he calls Phyllis: 'If thou ask whom, sure since I did refrain Brunet that set my wealth in such a roar The unfeigned cheer of Phyllis hath the place That Brunet had: she hath and ever shall.' That Anne was Brunet is clear because the correction shows that Wyatt originally wrote ‘Her that did set our country in a roar’. 

This does indicate that he had been one of Anne’s suitors. The other genuine poems suggest that on Wyatt’s side his feelings went beyond the flirtatious game of courtly love but were not reciprocated by Anne. Already married but separated from his wife, Wyatt had nothing to offer.

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