‘Whoso List to Hunt’ by Thomas Wyatt is again a typical Petrarchian sonnet. Though rather than describing the beauty of his lover Wyatt prefers to write of the loss of his freedom to woo her. The reader presumes the poem is about Wyatt’s supposed lover Anne Boleyn who became the second wife of Henry VIII. ‘Possibly the poem refers to Anne Boleyn, who was chased by Henry VIII. Wyatt is supposed to have warned the King against her as she was too free with her favours. ‘ (http://www. shakespeares-sonnets. com/Wyatt2.
htm#anchor003) Throughout the sonnet Wyatt likens his lover to a deer ‘Whoso list to hunt, I know where is an hind. ‘ He explains that anyone can hunt her if they want to but he may not ‘But as for me alas, I may no more. ‘ He speaks of his pursuit of her and her wildness like the wind; ‘Since in a net I seek to hold the wind. ‘ She is impossible to catch. The most significant part of this poem is the last four lines. ‘And graven with diamonds in letters plain There is written, her fair neck round about. “Noli me tangere, for Caesar’s I am,And wild for to hold, though I seem tame. ”
‘ The words ‘Noli me tangere’ are Latin, they mean ‘touch me not’ as Anne now belongs to the king, this links to the bible as this is what Jesus said to Mary Magdalene after the resurrection. Also it is said that the deer in Caesars forest wore a collar with a similar inscription to warn people against hunting them. It also links to a famous tale of Henry VIII and Wyatt, when they were arguing over a tennis game and Henry produced a necklace belonging to Anne to prove his point, meaning he had won the game and Anne.
(http://mths. metamora. k12. il. us/Departments/english/ronane/Renaissance%20Project/Wyatt. htm) They Flee from Me by Thomas Wyatt is written in three 7 line stanzas and alternate rhyming couplets. This poem, it is likely, could also speak of the loss of Anne Boleyn to the king as well as the change in power from the man to the woman. In Elizabethan times a man would rarely complain of rejection from a woman as he would move onto the next fairly soon. ‘Her power over him comes out in her questioning, “dear heart, how like you this?
” This time, she is the pleasure giver’ (http://rpo. library. utoronto. ca/poem/2407. html) The first stanza explains the woman who once came to him at his command now runs from him presumably to the arms of another man. The second stanza remembers her when he was under her power and she had control over him, she seduced him instead of him seducing her as was common at the time. ‘And she me caught in her arms long and small. ‘ In the third stanza he wants to believe that her flight was a dream but he is wrong.
She has left and forgotten him, ‘… into a strange fashion of forsaking. ‘ The last two lines explain that she treated him so kindly but he will never find out what he could give her in return as he never got the chance; ‘But since that I so kindly am served, I would fain know what she deserved. ‘ In each poem the mistress is portrayed in a different way. In the first ‘Shall I Compare Thee to a Summers Day by Shakespeare, the mistress is shown in the conventional way; unmatchable charm and exaggerated beauty.
In the second My Mistress’ Eyes are Nothing Like the Sun Shakespeare does not talk of beauty at all in fact his mistress in not considered beautiful at all, but he loves her just as much as he would had she been Venus herself. In the first of Wyatt’s poems covered in my essay the mistress is likened to a deer, free and a bit wild that has been caught and taken from him. The second of Wyatt’s and final poem in my essay the mistress is portrayed as a woman so incredible and maybe beautiful that she is capable of having power over man and then leaving him for someone else.
Each woman is portrayed in a different way the first conventional the others not so conventional showing four different ways in which Elizabethan poets represented their mistresses in their poetry.
Bibliography Katherine Duncan-Jones, (1997) Shakespeare’s Sonnets, London, Thompson Learning, pages 146/7 and 374/5 www. shakespeares-sonnets. com/Wyatt2. htm#anchor003 mths. metamora. k12. il. us/Departments/english/ronane/Renaissance%20Project/Wyatt. htm rpo. library. utoronto. ca/poem/2407. html Rachael Watkinson English 08/07/2008.