How might one interpret the poem "Hate whom ye list, for I care not," by Sir Thomas Wyatt?

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Some say this ode is written to Anne Boleyn, Henry VIII's second wife, whom Wyatt pursued and was imprisoned for pursuing.

Whether or not Anne Boleyn is the subject, the poem is a sonnet addressed to a lady. The speaker talks to her directly, expressing his seeming indifference to her. The poem opens with the following lines:

Hate whom ye [you] list [wish] for I care not.
Love whom ye list and spare not.

The speaker goes on to tell the women that she should do whatever she wants, because he doesn't care. The implication is that he is tired of being jerked around by her. This is suggested in such directives as "spare not," which indicates that she doesn't spare her lovers pain and anguish.

The injured way the poet rejects the lady implies that she has wounded him deeply, so much so that he withdraws from her. But his dismissal and stinging protestations that he doesn't care—"dotes not"—are so full of repressed emotion that one can't help but feel he does still care. Despite his denials, he uses the poem to lash out at her because he still loves her.

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This poem is based on much Italian sixteenth-century poetry in which the poet carries the worship of his beloved to extreme lengths and lamenting the woman's callous and cruel treatment.   Wyatt's version, however, flips this theme on its side in order to draw the lady in.  If you think Wyatt is protesting to much, you're right.

In summary, Wyatt tells the difficult lady that she can love whomever she wants because he simply doesn't care; he tells her to do and to think whatever she wants because, as far as he's concerned, he doesn't care who she loves or who she hates.  In a typical Wyatt stance, the poet says that he "dotes not" on her love, that is, he doesn't care whether she loves him or not, and he wants her to keep in mind that he doesn't care what she does.

In poetic terms, this is called a conceit--in this case, by telling the lady repeatedly how little he cares about her love, she is supposed to understand he is absolutely unstrung without her love.

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