Elizabethan Sonnet Month

Henry Howard, Earl of Surrey (1517-1547)


Born: Hertfordshire, UK. 1517
Executed: Tower Hill, UK. 1547

1524: Granted the title Earl of Surrey when his father became Duke of Norfolk.

1529: Raised in Windsor with Duke of Richmond, the illegitimate son of Henry VIII.

1532: Accompanied Henry VII and Anne Boleyn to France. Married Lady Frances de Vere.

1533: Returned to England to serve at Anne Boleyn's coronation.

1535: Started living with his wife.

1536: Eldest son Thomas born. Duke of Richmond died. Served with his father quelling the Pilgrimage of Grace.

1537: Imprisoned at Windsor by order of the Privy Council. Released and served as a mourner at Jane Seymour's funeral.

1540: Returned to royal favour and excelled in the jousts celebrating Henry VIII's marriage to Anne of Cleves.

1541: Made Knight of the Garter and Steward of Cambridge University.

1542-43: Imprisoned twice for quarrelling and drunken behaviour.

1543: Served Henry VIII at Flanders supporting the Holy Roman Emperor Charles V.

1544: Wounded at siege of Montreuil.

1545: Made Commander of Guisnes.

1546: Arrested for high treason despite any real evidence.

1547 Executed at Tower Hill 19 January.

Surrey's poetry circulated in manuscript form at court. He published his Epitaph on Sir Thomas Wyatt, but most of his poetry first appeared in 1557, ten years after his death, in printer Richard Tottel's Songs and Sonnets written by the Right Honorable Lord Henry Howard late Earl of Surrey and other. Until modern times it was called simply Songs and Sonnets; but now it is generally known as Tottel's Miscellany. Of the 271 poems in the collection, 40 were by Surrey, 96 by Wyatt, and the rest by various courtier poets. Sir Philip Sidney lauded Surrey's lyrics for "many things tasting of a noble birth, and worthy of a noble mind"

Jem Farmer

"The soote season, that bud and bloom forth brings"

The soote season, that bud and bloom forth brings,
With green hath clad the hill, and eke the vale.
The nightingale with feathers new she sings ;
The turtle to her make hath told her tale.
Summer is come, for every spray5 now springs,
The hart hath hung his old head on the pale;
The buck in brake his winter coat he slings;
The fishes flete with new repairèd scale;
The adder all her slough away she slings;
The swift swallow pursueth the fliës smale;
The busy bee her honey now she mings;
Winter is worn that was the flowers' bale.
And thus I see among these pleasant things
Each care decays, and yet my sorrow springs!.

"Complaint of a Lover Rebuked"

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 taught me 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 shew his face.
For my Lord's guilt thus faultless bide I pains.
Yet from my Lord shall not my foot remove :
Sweet is his death, that takes his end by love.

"Complaint of the Lover Disdained"

In Cyprus springs, whereas Dame Venus dwelt,
A well so hot, that whoso tastes the same,
Were he of stone, as thawed ice should melt,
And kindled find his breast with fixed flame ;
Whose moist poison dissolved hath my hate.
This creeping fire my cold limbs so opprest,
That in the heart that harbour'd freedom, late :
Endless despair long thraldom hath imprest.
Another 1 so cold in frozen ice is found,
Whose chilling venom of repugnant kind,
The fervent heat doth quench of Cupid's wound,
And with the spot of change infects the mind ;
Whereof my dear hath tasted to my pain :
My service thus is grown into disdain.

"Praise of his Love Geraldine"

From Tuscane came my lady's worthy race ;
Fair Florence was sometime her ancient seat.
The western isle whose pleasant shore doth face
Wild Camber's cliffs, did give her lively heat.
Foster'd she was with milk of Irish breast :
Her sire an Earl, her dame of Prince's blood.
From tender years, in Britain doth she rest,
With Kinges child ; where she tasteth costly food.
Hunsdon did first present her to mine eyen :
Bright is her hue, and Geraldine she hight.
Hampton me taught to wish her first for mine ;
And Windsor, alas ! doth chase me from her sight.
Her beauty of kind ; her virtues from above ;
Happy is he that may obtain her love !

"The Frailty and Hurtfulness of Beauty"

Brittle beauty, that Nature made so frail,
Whereof the gift is small, and short the season;
Flowering to-day, to-morrow apt to fail ;
Tickle treasure, abhorred of reason :
Dangerous to deal with, vain, of none avail ;
Costly in keeping, past not worth two peason ;
Slipper in sliding, as is an eel's tail ;
Hard to obtain, once gotten, not geason :
Jewel of jeopardy, that peril doth assail ;
False and untrue, enticed oft to treason ;
Enemy to youth, that most may I bewail ;
Ah! bitter sweet, infecting as the poison,
Thou farest as fruit that with the frost is taken ;
To-day ready ripe, tomorrow all to-shaken.

"Complaint by Night of the Lover Not Beloved"

Alas! so all things now do hold their peace!
Heaven and earth disturbed in no thing ;
The beasts, the air, the birds their song do cease,
The nightès car the stars about doth bring.
Calm is the sea ; the waves work less and less :
So am not I, whom love, alas ! doth wring,
Bringing before my face the great increase
Of my desires, whereat I weep and sing,
In joy and woe, as in a doubtful case.
For my sweet thoughts sometime do pleasure bring ;
But by and by, the cause of my disease
Gives me a pang, that inwardly doth sting,
When that I think what grief it is again,
To live and lack the thing should rid my pain.

"When Windsor walls sustain'd my wearied arm;"

When Windsor walls sustain'd my wearied arm;
My hand my chin, to ease my restless head;
The pleasant plot revested green with warm;
The blossom'd boughs, with lusty Ver1 y-spread;
The flower'd meads, the wedded birds so late
Mine eyes discover ; and to my mind resort
The jolly woes, the hateless, short debate,
The rakehell 2 life, that 'longs to love's disport.
Wherewith, alas! the heavy charge of care
Heap'd in my breast breaks forth, against my will
In smoky sighs, that overcast the air.
My vapour'd eyes such dreary tears distil,
The tender spring which quicken where they fall;
And I half bend to throw me down withal.

"A Vow to Love Faithfully"

The soote season, that bud and bloom forth brings,
With green hath clad the hill, and eke 2 the vale.
The nightingale with feathers new she sings ;
The turtle 3 to her make 4 hath told her tale.
Summer is come, for every spray5 now springs,
The hart 6 hath hung his old head 7 on the pale;8
The buck in brake 9 his winter coat he slings ;
The fishes flete 10 with new repairèd scale ;
The adder all her slough away she slings ;
The swift swallow pursueth the fliës smale ;11
The busy bee her honey now she mings ;12
Winter is worn13 that was the flowers' bale.14
And thus I see among these pleasant things
Each care decays, and yet my sorrow springs !.

"I Never Saw My Lady Lay Apart"

I never saw my Lady lay apart
Her cornet1 black, in cold nor yet in heat,
Sith first she knew my grief was grown so great ;
Which other fancies driveth from my heart,
That to myself I do the thought reserve,
The which unawares did wound my woful breast ;
But on her face mine eyes might never rest.
Yet since she knew I did her love and serve,
Her golden tresses clad alway with black,
Her smiling looks that hid thus evermore,
And that restrains which I desire so sore.
So doth this cornet govern me alack !
In summer, sun, in winter's breath, a frost ;
Whereby the light of her fair looks I lost.

"Request to his Love to Join Bounty With Beauty"

The golden gift that Nature did thee give,
To fasten friends and feed them at thy will,
With form and favour, taught me to believe,
How thou art made to shew her greatest skill.
Whose hidden virtues are not so unknown,
But lively dooms1 might gather at the first
Where beauty so her perfect seed hath sown,
Of other graces follow needs there must.
Now certes, Garret,2 since all this is true,
That from above thy gifts are thus elect,
Do not deface them then with fancies new ;
Nor change of minds, let not thy mind infect :
But mercy him thy friend that doth thee serve ;
Who seeks alway thine honour to preserve.

"Set me whereas the sun doth parch the green "

Set me whereas the sun doth parch the green
Or where his beams do not dissolve the ice,
In temperate heat where he is felt and seen;
In presence prest of people, mad or wise;
Set me in high or yet in low degree,
In longest night or in the shortest day,
In clearest sky or where clouds thickest be,
In lusty youth or when my hairs are gray.
Set me in heaven, in earth, or else in hell;
In hill, or dale, or in the foaming flood;
Thrall or at large, alive whereso I dwell,
Sick or in health, in evil fame or good:
Hers will I be, and only with this thought
Content myself although my chance be nought.

"Of The Death Of Sir Thomas Wyatt"

Divers thy death do diversely bemoan :
Some, that in presence of thy livelihed
Lurked, whose breasts envy with hate had swoln,
Yield Cæsar's tears upon Pompeius' head.
Some, that watched with the murd'rer's knife,
With eager thirst to drink thy guiltless blood,
Whose practice brake by happy end of life,
With envious tears to hear thy fame so good.
But I, that knew what harbour'd in that head ;
What virtues rare were tempered in that breast ;
Honour the place that such a jewel bred,
And kiss the ground whereas the corpse doth rest ;
With vapour'd eyes : from whence such streams availe,1
As Pyramus did on Thisbe's breast bewail.

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Only after the last tree has been cut down
Only after the last river has been poisoned
Only after the last fish has been caught
Only then will we realise that money cannot be eaten
- Cree Indian Prophesy