How is love presented in "Whoso List to Hunt," and Sonnet 130? How may these poems have a similar meaning?

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huntress | College Teacher | (Level 2) Associate Educator

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In Whoso List to Hunt, Sir Thomas Wyatt presents his love as an endless and ultimately fruitless chase. He writes of his doe ("hind"). He is weary from the chase but cannot help himself continuing to follow her, even though she wears a (proverbial) collar that announces "Noli me tangere," meaning "Touch me not" (13). She is unattainable: "wild for to hold, though I seem tame" (14). 

In Sonnet 130, Shakespeare's object of affection is not physically beautiful. As a matter of fact, he goes out of his way to apparently insult her physical attributes. Her hair is not like silk (as goes the cliche), but like wires (4). Her cheeks aren't rosy. Her eyes are ordinary "nothing like the sun" (1). However, to him, she is even more beautiful than "any she belied with false compare" (14), meaning that women who are physically beautiful cannot be compared to her, as her beauty is on a higher plane than theirs. 

The similar meaning lies in Wyatt's words: 

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. (7-10)
Both sonnets are about unusual women, with rare qualities that men sense but cannot see. Wyatt says that he pursues this "hind," but realizes that he cannot catch her ("in a net, I seek to hold the wind"), but he knows other men will have as little luck as he. She is, like Shakespeare's love, a woman of hidden power, "rare." She seems tame, but she is wild and ultimately unattainable. 

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