Whoso list to hunt is a fourteen line poem which follows a strict rhythmic pattern of “abba abba cddc ee”, has an iambic pentameter and therefore is known as a sonnet. It is not just any type of sonnet, but actually a Petrarchan sonnet. The sonnet is constructed by an octave, which are two quatrains combined then a sestet following after that. It was one of the thirty sonnets written by Sir Thomas Wyatt, and was believed to be written for Anne Boleyn, the second wife of King Henry VIII and the woman he broke out of the Catholic Church for in order to marry.
Since she was involved with Henry VIII, the poem is a warning to stay away from her due to the fact that she already has come to the attention of the king. Whoso list to hunt means ‘whoever wishes’ to hunt. The hind, which in order words can be referred to as a female deer of the hunt is an obvious reference to Anne Boleyn. He talks about how he wishes to “hunt and catch” her. He demonstrates aspects of the “Code of Chivalry” expressing knighthood qualities such as bravery, courtesy, honor, and respect when pursuing her.
The sonnet voices Wyatt’s surrender to the one he loves. His pursuit, though long and tedious, has brought him to the conclusion that the woman he loves, Anne Boleyn is incapable of showing love with lifelong companionship and he compares her to the hind. As far as beauty is concerned, the hind is matchless and irresistibly tempting, but on the other hand it is incapable of understanding love and loyalty. It may be bought but can never be made to love its master. Captivity is rather against its nature. It loves to be free which somewhat reflects Anne’s flirtatious nature.
The pursuit of her troubles Wyatt so much to the point that he seems to have had enough, and seeing that many other suitors seem ahead of him in the chase, mainly King Henry VIII, he decides to give up: “But as for me, allas! I may no more. The vain travail hath worried me so sore, I am of them that furthest come behind. ” and “… as she fleeth afore Fainting I follow. I leave off therefore … ” Wyatt also seems to warn other suitors of the pointlessness of the hunt: “Who list her hunt, I put him out of doubt, As well as I, may spend his time in vain”.
Wyatt warns other suitors the danger of pursuing her at all, and also talks about a diamond necklace worn by the hind, which has inscribed on it the phrase: “And graven in diamonds in letters plain There is written, her fair neck round about: Noli me tangere, for Caesar’s I am, And wild to hold, though I seem tame”. The meaning of this phrase, or rather, warning was: “Noli me tangere, for Caesar’s I am”; Noli me tangere which was Latin for “touch me not”, and Caesar obviously being King Henry VIII, hence the warning: “Do Not Touch; Property of the King”.
The warning of Anne Boleyn belonging to the King became known across the nation, but eventually, just a year and a child after Anne’s marriage to the king, several men along with Wyatt and Anne Boleyn herself were arrested and charged with disloyalty and treason. Wyatt escaped judgment, but others suffered a grisly execution, as did Queen Anne. In conclusion, a mistress may be loyal and obedient but she is not bound by the bonds of marriage to stay with her love. The sonnet was written before King Henry VIII married Anne Boleyn.
She was the King’s mistress tame but free till the king married her. The sonnet reflects a mood of bitter dejection and absolute despair. Works Cited “Whoso List to Hunt” “Whoso List to Hunt Study Guide – Thomas Wyatt. ” 2011. eNotes. com. 14 November 2011 . “Poetry Analysis – Whoso List To Hunt” “Poetry Analysis – Whoso List To Hunt – Term Paper. ” 2011. Savemeplease8. 14 November 2011 . “Analysis of Sir Thomas Wyatt’s “Whoso list to hunt”. ” “Analysis of Sir Thomas Wyatt’s “Whoso list to hunt”.. ” 2011. 14 November 2011 .