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Best Famous Edmund Spenser Poems

Here is a collection of the all-time best famous Edmund Spenser poems. This is a select list of the best famous Edmund Spenser poetry. Reading, writing, and enjoying famous Edmund Spenser poetry (as well as classical and contemporary poems) is a great past time. These top poems are the best examples of 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 |

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!

More great poems below...

Written by Edmund Spenser |


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 |

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.

Written by Edmund Spenser |

Poem 18

 NOw welcome night, thou night so long expected,
that long daies labour doest at last defray,
And all my cares, which cruell loue collected,
Hast sumd in one, and cancelled for aye:
Spread thy broad wing ouer my loue and me,
that no man may vs see,
And in thy sable mantle vs enwrap,
>From feare of perrill and foule horror free.
Let no false treason seeke vs to entrap, Nor any dread disquiet once annoy the safety of our ioy: But let the night be calme and quietsome, Without tempestuous storms or sad afray: Lyke as when Ioue with fayre Alcmena lay, When he begot the great Tirynthian groome: Or lyke as when he with thy selfe did lie, And begot Maiesty.
And let the mayds and yongmen cease to sing: Ne let the woods them answer, nor theyr eccho ring.

Written by Edmund Spenser |

Sonnet LXIII

 AFter long stormes and tempests sad assay,
Which hardly I endured heretofore:
in dread of death and daungerous dismay,
with which my silly barke was tossed sore.
I doe at length descry the happy shore, in which I hope ere long for to arryue, fayre soyle it seemes from far & fraught with store of all that deare and daynty is alyue.
Most happy he that can at last atchyue, the ioyous safety of so sweet a rest: whose least delight sufficeth to depriue, remembrance of all paines which him opprest.
All paines are nothing in respect of this, all sorrowes short that gaine eternall blisse.

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 |

Poem 20

 BVt let stil Silence trew night watches keepe,
That sacred peace may in assurance rayne,
And tymely sleep, when it is tyme to sleepe,
May poure his limbs forth on your pleasant playne,
The whiles an hundred little winged loues,
Like diuers fethered doues,
Shall fly and flutter round about your bed,
And in the secret darke, that none reproues,
Their prety stealthes shal worke, & snares shal spread
To filch away sweet snatches of delight,
Conceald through couert night.
Ye sonnes of Venus, play your sports at will, For greedy pleasure, carelesse of your toyes, Thinks more vpon her paradise of ioyes, Then what ye do, albe it good or ill.
All night therefore attend your merry play, For it will soone be day: Now none doth hinder you, that say or sing, Ne will the woods now answer, nor your Eccho ring.

Written by Edmund Spenser |


 COmming to kisse her lyps, (such grace I found)
Me seemd I smelt a gardin of sweet flowres:
that dainty odours from them threw around
for damzels fit to decke their louers bowres.
Her lips did smell lyke vnto Gillyflowers, her ruddy cheekes lyke vnto Roses red: her snowy browes lyke budded Bellamoures, her louely eyes lyke Pincks but newly spred, Her goodly bosome lyke a Strawberry bed, her neck lyke to a bounch of Cullambynes: her brest lyke lillyes, ere theyr leaues be shed, her nipples lyke yong blossomd Iessemynes, Such fragrant flowres doe giue most odorous smell, but her sweet odour did them all excell.

Written by Edmund Spenser |

Sonnet LXXII

 OFt when my spirit doth spred her bolder winges,
In mind to mount vp to the purest sky:
it down is weighd with thoght of earthly things:
and clogd with burden of mortality,
Where when that souerayne beauty it doth spy,
resembling heauens glory in her light:
drawne with sweet pleasures bayt, it back doth fly,
and vnto heauen forgets her former flight.
There my fraile fancy fed with full delight, doth bath in blisse and mantleth most at ease: ne thinks of other heauen, but how it might her harts desire with most contentment please, Hart need not with none other happinesse, but here on earth to haue such heuens blisse.

Written by Edmund Spenser |

Sonnet XXII

 THis holy season fit to fast and pray,
Men to deuotion ought to be inclynd:
therefore, I lykewise on so holy day,
for my sweet Saynt some seruice fit will find.
Her temple fayre is built within my mind, in which her glorious ymage placed is, on which my thoughts doo day and night attend lyke sacred priests that neuer thinke amisse.
There I to her as th'author of my blisse, will builde an altar to appease her yre: and on the same my hart will sacrifise, burning in flames of pure and chast desyre: The which vouchsafe O goddesse to accept, amongst thy deerest relicks to be kept.

Written by Edmund Spenser |

Sonnet XXXV

 MY hungry eyes through greedy couetize,
still to behold the obiect of their paine:
with no contentment can themselues suffize,
but hauing pine and hauing not complaine.
For lacking it they cannot lyfe sustayne, and hauing it they gaze on it the more: in their amazement lyke Narcissus vaine whose eyes him staru'd: so plenty makes me poore Yet are mine eyes so filled with the store of that faire sight, that nothing else they brooke, but lothe the things which they did like before, and can no more endure on them to looke.
All this worlds glory seemeth vayne to me, and all their showes but shadowes sauing she.

Written by Edmund Spenser |

Amoretti LXXIX: Men Call you Fair

 Men call you fair, and you do credit it,
For that your self ye daily such do see:
But the true fair, that is the gentle wit,
And vertuous mind, is much more prais'd of me.
For all the rest, how ever fair it be, Shall turn to naught and lose that glorious hue: But only that is permanent and free From frail corruption, that doth flesh ensue.
That is true beauty: that doth argue you To be divine, and born of heavenly seed: Deriv'd from that fair Spirit, from whom all true And perfect beauty did at first proceed.
He only fair, and what he fair hath made, All other fair, like flowers untimely fade.

Written by Edmund Spenser |

The Faerie Queene: Book I Canto I

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.