The Poetry of Anne Boleyn: First Poem

by Heather R. Darsie

Anne Boleyn, Queen Consort of England and mother of Elizabeth I, was arrested on 2 May 1536 for allegedly committing adultery whilst married to Henry VIII of England. Anne’s trial came on 15 May, where she was found guilty of the charges. On 19 May 1536, Anne Boleyn was executed. During her time in the Tower, Anne may have written two poems. It is not certain whether she did indeed write these poems or on which days during her confinement, but it is worth speculating that the one below was written before Anne learned she would die.

(c) National Trust, Petworth House; Supplied by The Public Catalogue Foundation
(c) National Trust, Petworth House; Supplied by The Public Catalogue Foundation

“Defiled is My Name Full Sore,” a poem attributed to Anne Boleyn

Defiled is my name full sore
Through cruel spite and false report,
That I may say for evermore,
Farewell, my joy! adieu comfort!
For wrongfully ye judge of me
Unto my fame a mortal wound,
Say what ye list, it will not be,
Ye seek for that can not be found. 

One can only imagine the thoughts racing through Anne’s head when she sat down to compose this eloquent poem. What would be her fate? What would be the fate of her daughter, the toddler Princess Elizabeth? Would Henry VIII, for all the love he bore Anne, spare her in the end, as Arthur did Guinevere?


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Sources & Suggested Reading

  1. Boleyn, Anne. “Defiled is My Name Full Sore.”     Retrieved 7 May 2019.



9 thoughts on “The Poetry of Anne Boleyn: First Poem

  1. What a powerful and moving poem, especially considering the context! I’ve been watching the “Cromwell” show and wow Anne was quite a woman!


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