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Edmund Spenser

Edmund Spenser

Poet: Edmund Spenser

Dates: 1552 – 13 January 1599

Nationality: English

Title of Poem: Ice and Fire

My love is like to ice, and I to fire:
How comes it then that this her cold so great
Is not dissolved through my so hot desire,
But harder grows the more I her entreat?
Or how comes it that my exceeding heat
Is not allayed by her heart-frozen cold,
But that I burn much more in boiling sweat,
And feel my flames augmented manifold?
What more miraculous thing may be told,
That fire, which all things melts, should harden ice,
And ice, which is congeal’d with senseless cold,
Should kindle fire by wonderful device?
Such is the power of love in gentle mind,
That it can alter all the course of kind.


Brief Biography: Spenser is best known for his fantastical allegory poem The Faerie Queen, 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 The Faerie Queen, and his on variation of the sonnet, the Spenserian Sonnet.