A Short Analysis of Sir Thomas Wyatt’s ‘The Pillar Perished’

Interesting Literature

A summary of a classic early sonnet

Sir Thomas Wyatt wrote the earliest sonnets in English, and was a key figure in English Renaissance poetry. ‘The Pillar Perished’, as the sonnet beginning ‘The pillar perish’d is whereto I leant’ is sometimes known, is one of the most widely anthologised of Wyatt’s sonnets. At least, it’s now largely attributed to Wyatt, and certainly sounds like his work. Closer analysis of the sonnet’s language and imagery opens a window onto the world of the Tudor royal court, and reveals a heart-breaking expression of a man’s world that has crumbled around him.

The pillar perish’d is whereto I leant,
The strongest stay of my unquiet mind;
The like of it no man again can find,
From east to west still seeking though he went,
To mine unhap. For hap away hath rent
Of all my joy the very bark and rind:

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