Sir Thomas Wyatt

(1503-1542 / Kent / England)

Whoso List to Hunt


Whoso list to hunt, I know where is an hind,
But as for me, helas! I may no more.
The vain travail hath wearied me so sore,
I am of them that furthest come behind.
Yet may I by no means, my wearied mind
Draw from the deer; but as she fleeth afore
Fainting I follow. I leave off therefore,
Since in a net I seek to hold the wind.
Who list her hunt, I put him out of doubt,
As well as I, may spend his time in vain;
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.'

Submitted: Friday, January 03, 2003
Edited: Saturday, January 25, 2014

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  • Elly . (1/25/2014 2:59:00 AM)

    'Noli me tangere quia Caesaris sum' ('Touch me not, for I am Caesar's') was inscribed on the collars of Caesar's hinds, which were then set free and were presumably safe from hunters.

    Also the word 'worried' in lines 3 & 5 is incorrect - it should be 'wearied'. (Report) Reply

  • John Minigan (8/30/2007 7:35:00 AM)

    Wyatt based his poem on Petrarch's Sonnet 190. The similarity is remarkable, but so is the slight change of 'form.' Wyatt was probably expressing his feelings on the loss of Anne Boleyn, believed to be his mistress, to Henry VIII. (Report) Reply

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