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Best Famous Edmund Spenser Poems

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Written by Edmund Spenser | |

from Amoretti: Sonnet 67

Like as a huntsman after weary chase,
Seeing the game from him escap'd away,
Sits down to rest him in some shady place,
With panting hounds beguiled of their prey:
So after long pursuit and vain assay,
When I all weary had the chase forsook,
The gentle deer return'd the self-same way,
Thinking to quench her thirst at the next brook.
There she beholding me with milder look, Sought not to fly, but fearless still did bide: Till I in hand her yet half trembling took, And with her own goodwill her firmly tied.
Strange thing, me seem'd, to see a beast so wild, So goodly won, with her own will beguil'd.


Written by Edmund Spenser | |

A Ditty

In praise of Eliza Queen of the Shepherds


SEE where she sits upon the grassie greene, 
(O seemely sight!) 
Yclad in Scarlot, like a mayden Queene, 
And ermines white: 
Upon her head a Cremosin coronet 5 
With Damaske roses and Daffadillies set: 
Bay leaves betweene, 
And primroses greene, 
Embellish the sweete Violet.
Tell me, have ye seene her angelick face 10 Like Phoebe fayre? Her heavenly haveour, her princely grace, Can you well compare? The Redde rose medled with the White yfere, In either cheeke depeincten lively chere: 15 Her modest eye, Her Majestie, Where have you seene the like but there? I see Calliope speede her to the place, Where my Goddesse shines; 20 And after her the other Muses trace With their Violines.
Bene they not Bay braunches which they do beare, All for Elisa in her hand to weare? So sweetely they play, 25 And sing all the way, That it a heaven is to heare.
Lo, how finely the Graces can it foote To the Instrument: They dauncen deffly, and singen soote, 30 In their meriment.
Wants not a fourth Grace to make the daunce even? Let that rowme to my Lady be yeven.
She shal be a Grace, To fyll the fourth place, 35 And reigne with the rest in heaven.
Bring hether the Pincke and purple Cullambine, With Gelliflowres; Bring Coronations, and Sops-in-wine Worne of Paramoures: 40 Strowe me the ground with Daffadowndillies, And Cowslips, and Kingcups, and lov¨¨d Lillies: The pretie Pawnce, And the Chevisaunce, Shall match with the fayre flowre Delice.
45 Now ryse up, Elisa, deck¨¨d as thou art In royall aray; And now ye daintie Damsells may depart Eche one her way.
I feare I have troubled your troupes to longe: 50 Let dame Elisa thanke you for her song: And if you come hether When Damsines I gether, I will part them all you among.
GLOSS: medled] mixed.
yfere] together.
soote] sweet.
coronations] carnations.
sops-in-wine] striped pinks.
pawnce] pansy.
chevisaunce] wallflower.
flowre delice] iris.


Written by Edmund Spenser | |

Whilst it is prime

FRESH Spring, the herald of loves mighty king, 
In whose cote-armour richly are displayd 
All sorts of flowers, the which on earth do spring, 
In goodly colours gloriously arrayd¡ª 
Goe to my love, where she is carelesse layd, 5 
Yet in her winters bowre not well awake; 
Tell her the joyous time wil not be staid, 
Unlesse she doe him by the forelock take; 
Bid her therefore her selfe soone ready make, 
To wayt on Love amongst his lovely crew; 10 
Where every one, that misseth then her make, 
Shall be by him amearst with penance dew.
Make hast, therefore, sweet love, whilest it is prime; For none can call againe the pass¨¨d time.
GLOSS: make] mate.


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Written by Edmund Spenser | |

Easter

MOST glorious Lord of Lyfe! that on this day  
Didst make Thy triumph over death and sin; 
And having harrowd hell didst bring away 
Captivity thence captive us to win: 
This joyous day deare Lord with joy begin; 5 
And grant that we for whom thou diddest dye  
Being with Thy deare blood clene washt from sin  
May live for ever in felicity! 

And that Thy love we weighing worthily  
May likewise love Thee for the same againe; 10 
And for Thy sake that all lyke deare didst buy  
With love may one another entertayne! 
So let us love deare Love lyke as we ought  
¡ªLove is the lesson which the Lord us taught.


Written by Edmund Spenser | |

From Daphnaïda

An Elegy


SHE fell away in her first ages spring, 
Whil'st yet her leafe was greene, and fresh her rinde, 
And whil'st her braunch faire blossomes foorth did bring, 
She fell away against all course of kinde.
For age to dye is right, but youth is wrong; 5 She fel away like fruit blowne downe with winde.
Weepe, Shepheard! weepe, to make my undersong.
Yet fell she not as one enforst to dye, Ne dyde with dread and grudging discontent, But as one toyld with travaile downe doth lye, 10 So lay she downe, as if to sleepe she went, And closde her eyes with carelesse quietnesse; The whiles soft death away her spirit hent, And soule assoyld from sinfull fleshlinesse.
How happie was I when I saw her leade 15 The Shepheards daughters dauncing in a rownd! How trimly would she trace and softly tread The tender grasse, with rosie garland crownd! And when she list advance her heavenly voyce, Both Nymphes and Muses nigh she made astownd, 20 And flocks and shepheards caus¨¨d to rejoyce.
But now, ye Shepheard lasses! who shall lead Your wandring troupes, or sing your virelayes? Or who shall dight your bowres, sith she is dead That was the Lady of your holy-dayes? 25 Let now your blisse be turn¨¨d into bale, And into plaints convert your joyous playes, And with the same fill every hill and dale.
For I will walke this wandring pilgrimage, Throughout the world from one to other end, 30 And in affliction wast my better age: My bread shall be the anguish of my mind, My drink the teares which fro mine eyed do raine, My bed the ground that hardest I may finde; So will I wilfully increase my paine.
35 Ne sleepe (the harbenger of wearie wights) Shall ever lodge upon mine ey-lids more; Ne shall with rest refresh my fainting sprights, Nor failing force to former strength restore: But I will wake and sorrow all the night 40 With Philumene, my fortune to deplore; With Philumene, the partner of my plight.
And ever as I see the starres to fall, And under ground to goe to give them light Which dwell in darknes, I to minde will call 45 How my fair Starre (that shinde on me so bright) Fell sodainly and faded under ground; Since whose departure, day is turnd to night, And night without a Venus starre is found.
And she, my love that was, my Saint that is, 50 When she beholds from her celestiall throne (In which shee joyeth in eternall blis) My bitter penance, will my case bemone, And pitie me that living thus doo die; For heavenly spirits have compassion 55 On mortall men, and rue their miserie.
So when I have with sorowe satisfide Th' importune fates, which vengeance on me seeke, And th' heavens with long languor pacifide, She, for pure pitie of my sufferance meeke, 60 Will send for me; for which I daylie long: And will till then my painful penance eeke.
Weep, Shepheard! weep, to make my undersong!


Written by Edmund Spenser | |

Sonnet 30 (Fire And Ice)

 My love is like to ice, and I to fire:
how comes it then that this her cold so great
is not dissolv'd through my so hot desire,
but harder grows, the more I her entreat?

Or how comes it that my exceeding heat
is not delayed 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 thing melts, should harden ice:
and ice which is congealed with senseless cold,
should kindle fire by wonderful device?

Such is the pow'r of love in gentle mind
that it can alter all the course of kind.


Written by Edmund Spenser | |

Sonnet 75

 One day I wrote her name upon the strand,
But came the waves and washed it away:
Agayne I wrote it with a second hand,
But came the tyde, and made my paynes his pray.
"Vayne man," sayd she, "that doest in vaine assay.
A mortall thing so to immortalize, For I my selve shall lyke to this decay, and eek my name bee wyped out lykewize.
" "Not so," quod I, "let baser things devize, To dy in dust, but you shall live by fame: My verse your vertues rare shall eternize, And in the heavens wryte your glorious name.
Where whenas death shall all the world subdew, Our love shall live, and later life renew.
"


Written by Edmund Spenser | |

Sonnet 54

 Of this worlds theatre in which we stay,
My love like the spectator ydly sits
Beholding me that all the pageants play,
Disguysing diversly my troubled wits.
Sometimes I joy when glad occasion fits, And mask in myrth lyke to a comedy: Soone after when my joy to sorrow flits, I waile and make my woes a tragedy.
Yet she, beholding me with constant eye, Delights not in my merth nor rues my smart: But when I laugh she mocks, and when I cry She laughs and hardens evermore her heart.
What then can move her? if nor merth nor mone, She is no woman, but a senceless stone.


Written by Edmund Spenser | |

Sonnet 81

 Fair is my love, when her fair golden hears
with the loose wind the waving chance to mark:
fair when the rose in her red cheeks appears, 
or in her eyes the fire of love does spark.
Fair when her breast like a rich laden bark with precious merchandise she forth doth lay: fair when that cloud of pride, which oft doth dark her goodly light, with smiles she drives away.
But fairest she, when so she doth display the gate with pearls and rubies richly dight through which her words so wise do make their way to bear the message of her gentle spright.
The rest be works of nature's wonderment, but this the work of heart's astonishment.


Written by Edmund Spenser | |

Sonnet 75

 One day I wrote her name upon the strand,
But came the waves and washed it away:
Agayne I wrote it with a second hand,
But came the tyde, and made my paynes his pray.
"Vayne man," sayd she, "that doest in vaine assay.
A mortall thing so to immortalize, For I my selve shall lyke to this decay, and eek my name bee wyped out lykewize.
" "Not so," quod I, "let baser things devize, To dy in dust, but you shall live by fame: My verse your vertues rare shall eternize, And in the heavens wryte your glorious name.
Where whenas death shall all the world subdew, Our love shall live, and later life renew.
"


Written by Edmund Spenser | |

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.
"


Written by Edmund Spenser | |

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.


Written by Edmund Spenser | |

The Faerie Queene: Book I Canto I

 THE FIRST BOOKE OF THE FAERIE QUEENE
Contayning
THE LEGENDE OF THE KNIGHT OF THE
RED CROSSE, OR OF HOLINESSEProemi
Lo I the man, whose Muse whilome did maske,
As time her taught in lowly Shepheards weeds,
Am now enforst a far unfitter taske,
For trumpets sterne to chaunge mine Oaten reeds,
And sing of Knights and Ladies gentle deeds;
Whose prayses having slept in silence long,
Me, all too meane, the sacred Muse areeds
To blazon broad emongst her learned throng:
Fierce warres and faithful loves shall moralize my song.
ii Helpe then, O holy Virgin chiefe of nine, Thy weaker Novice to performe thy will, Lay forth out of thine everlasting scryne The antique rolles, which there lye hidden still, Of Faerie knights and fairest Tanaquill, Whom that most noble Briton Prince so long Sought through the world, and suffered so much ill, That I must rue his undeserved wrong: O helpe thou my weake wit, and sharpen my dull tong.
iii And thou most dreaded impe of highest Jove, Faire Venus sonne, that with thy cruell dart At that good knight so cunningly didst rove, That glorious fire it kindled in his hart, Lay now thy deadly Heben bow apart, And with thy mother milde come to mine ayde: Come both, and with you bring triumphant Mart, In loves and gentle jollities arrayd, After his murdrous spoiles and bloudy rage allayd.
iv And with them eke, O Goddesse heavenly bright, Mirrour of grace and Majestie divine, Great Lady of the greatest Isle, whose light Like Phoebus lampe throughout the world doth shine, Shed thy faire beames into my feeble eyne, And raise my thoughts too humble and too vile, To thinke of that true glorious type of thine, The argument of mine afflicted stile: The which to heare, vouchsafe, O dearest dred a-while.
CANTO I


Written by Edmund Spenser | |

Poem 1

 YE learned sisters which haue oftentimes
beene to me ayding, others to adorne:
Whom ye thought worthy of your gracefull rymes,
That euen the greatest did not greatly scorne
To heare theyr names sung in your simply layes,
But ioyed in theyr prayse.
And when ye lift your owne mishaps to mourne, Which death, or loue, or fortunes wreck did rayse, Your string could soone to sadder tenor turne, And teach the woods and waters to lament Your dolefull dreriment.
Now lay those sorrowfull complaints aside, And hauing all your heads with girland crownd, Helpe me mine owne loues prayses to resound, Ne let the same of any be enuide, So Orpheus did for his owne bride, So I vnto my selfe alone will sing, The woods shall to me answer and my Eccho ring.


Written by Edmund Spenser | |

Sonnet LIIII

 OF this worlds Theatre in which we stay,
My loue lyke the Spectator ydly sits
beholding me that all the pageants play,
disguysing diuersly my troubled wits.
Sometimes I ioy when glad occasion sits, and mask in myrth lyke to a Comedy: soone after when my ioy to sorrow flits, I waile and make my woes a Tragedy.
Yet she beholding me with constant eye, delights not in my merth nor rues my smart: but when I laugh she mocks, and when I cry she laughes, and hardens euermore her hart.
What then can moue her? if nor merth nor mone, she is no woman, but a sencelesse stone.