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words: whoso list to hunt

September 4, 2009

I first read this poem in my English Lit class in grade 12. My textbook was a work in type-A organization; I labeled each poem with a sticky note colour-coded to time period. Oh to have the time to spend memorizing poetry once more. I have long since forgotten most of them, but can still remember the line: “noli me tangere for caesar’s I am.” I was reminded of it while watching The Tudors this afternoon and thought it merited another read.

Whoso List to Hunt by Thomas Wyatt

Whoso list to hunt, I know where is an hind,
But as for me, hélas, I may no more.
The vain travail hath wearied me so sore,
I am of them that farthest cometh 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,
Sithens 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 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.

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