Sunday, February 6, 2011

Verse of the Day - Edmund Spenser

There are few poets who manage to capture the idea of perfect but lost love as the Elizabethans who wrote sonnets back in the 16th century. Edmund Spenser was born into a lower class family but this didn't stop him becoming one of the preeminant poets of his age.

When the Queen's treasurer balked at paying him for his verse on one occasion he wrote to the Queen in the form of a verse. He appears to have survived the Elizabethan era with his head firmly attached to his neck.

Edmund Spenser - Sonnet 75

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 doest in vain assay
A mortal thing so to immortalize,
For I myself shall like to this decay,
And eek my name be wiped out likewise.
Not so (quoth I), let baser things devise
To die in dust, but you shall live by fame:
My verse your virtues rare shall eternize,
And in the heavens write your glorious name.
Where whenas Death shall all the world subdue,
Out love shall live, and later life renew.


  1. Such romance. His words really capture the love he feels.

  2. Love it! I hopped over from Hannah's blog to say hello. :-)