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Edmund Spenser

Edmund Spenser

 

Poet: Edmund Spenser

Dates: 1552 – 13 January 1599

Nationality: English

Title of Poem: Amoretti LXXV: One Day I Wrote Her Name

One day I wrote her name upon the strand,
But came the waves and washed it away:
Again I wrote it with a second hand,
But came the tide, and made my pains his prey.
“Vain man,” said she, “that dost in vain assay,
A mortal thing so to immortalize;
For I myself shall like to this decay,
And eke my name be wiped out likewise.”
“Not so,” (quod I) “let baser things devise
To die in dust, but you shall live by fame:
My verse your vertues rare shall eternize,
And in the heavens write your glorious name:
Where whenas death shall all the world subdue,
Our love shall live, and later life renew.”

 

Brief Biography: Spenser is best known for his fantastical allegory poem Faerie Queene, celebrating the Tudor Dynasty and Elizabeth I. He is considered one of the premier craftsmen of modern English verse when it was in its infancy and is still considered one of the greatest poets in the English language. Spenser spent much of his life in Ireland only returning to England when he and his family were driven out of Ireland by the Aodh Ó Néill during the Nine Years War. On his death his coffin was carried to Westminster Abbey by other poets who then threw pens and pieces of poetry into his grave. Spenser also created the Spenserian stanza, which he used throughout Faerie Queene, and his on variation of the sonnet, the Spenserian Sonnet.

Author’s Notes: Faerie Queene is an enormous epic poem so sadly I cannot even begin to cover it here but I strongly recommend it to anyone who loves reading poetry on a grand scale as it is a delight in verse. It can be found in its entirety here – Faerie Queene 

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