The Renaissance period brought a revival to all forms of the arts, including that of literature. Poetry became a way for writers to display their skill with language as they artistically sculpted the words and lines of their poems. Poetry at this time followed strict forms that gave the structure within which the poet can operate. One such form that became very popular throughout the Renaissance period was the sonnet. This form was very widely used, and two poets who became popular partially for their sonnets are Sir Thomas Wyatt, and Samuel Daniel.
Thomas Wyatt was one of the first from England to use the sonnet form. Because of this his sonnets follow the form that was first developed in Italy by the poet Petrarch. Wyatt's fourteenth sonnet, "My galley charged with Forgetfulness" likewise follows this petrarchan sonnet form. One of the principle practices of this period was that of imitation, where one poet would imitate the form or themes of other poets.
This is what Wyatt did in borrowing this petrarchan form. Like most petrarchan sonnets, this one is composed of an octet followed by a sestet. The rhyme scheme of the octet is the conventional, ABBA ABBA rhyme scheme, while Wyatt alters the form of the sestet from the early petrarchan sonnets as it follows a CDDC EE rhyme scheme. Also, as in nearly all poems, he uses iambic pentameter. This pattern of alternating weak and strong syllables is particularly useful in this poem as it resembles the rise and fall of a ship, which is the main image in the sonnet.
Wyatt further imitates Petrarch by using the petrarchan idea of women and love. The petrarchan love convention is one in which the writer (a man, as basically all writers were during the Renaissance period) expresses his...