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Best Famous Edmund Spenser Poems

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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.


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.


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.


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.


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.
"


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.


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.


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.
"


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.
"


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.


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.


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.


by Edmund Spenser | |

Sonnet I

 HAppy ye leaues when as those lilly hands,
which hold my life in their dead doing might
shall handle you and hold in loues soft bands,
lyke captiues trembling at the victors sight.
And happy lines, on which with starry light, those lamping eyes will deigne sometimes to look and reade the sorrowes of my dying spright, written with teares in harts close bleeding book.
And happy rymes bath'd in the sacred brooke, of Helicon whence she deriued is, when ye behold that Angels blessed looke, my soules long lacked foode, my heauens blis.
Leaues, lines, and rymes, seeke her to please alone, whom if ye please, I care for other none.


by Edmund Spenser | |

Sonnet XXVI

 SWeet is the Rose, but growes vpon a brere;
Sweet is the Iunipere, but sharpe his bough;
sweet is the Eglantine, but pricketh nere;
sweet is the firbloome, but his braunches rough.
Sweet is the Cypresse, but his rynd is tough, sweet is the nut, but bitter is his pill; sweet is the broome-flowre, but yet sowre enough; and sweet is Moly, but his root is ill.
So euery sweet with soure is tempred still, that maketh it be coueted the more: for easie things that may be got at will, most sorts of men doe set but little store.
Why then should I accoumpt of little paine, that endlesse pleasure shall vnto me gaine.


by Edmund Spenser | |

The Tamed Deer

 Like as a huntsman after weary chase
Seeing the game from him escaped 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 returned 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 good-will her firmly tied.
Strange thing, me seemed, to see a beast so wild So goodly won, with her own will beguiled.


by Edmund Spenser | |

Sonnet XXX

 MY loue is lyke to yse, and I to fyre;
how comes it then that this her cold so great
is not dissolu'd through my so hot desyre,
but harder growes the more I her intreat?
Or how comes it that my exceeding heat
is not delayd by her hart frosen cold:
but that I burne much more in boyling sweat,
and feel my flames augmented manifold?
What more miraculous thing may be told
that fire which all things melts, should harden yse:
and yse which is congeald with sencelesse cold,
should kindle fyre by wonderfull deuyse.
Such is the powre of loue in gentle mind, that it can alter all the course of kynd.


by Edmund Spenser | |

Sonnet LXXVI

 FAyre bosome fraught with vertues richest tresure,
The neast of loue, the lodging of delight:
the bowre of blisse, the paradice of pleasure,
the sacred harbour of that heuenly spright.
How was I rauisht with your louely sight, and my frayle thoughts too rashly led astray? whiles diuing deepe through amorous insight, on the sweet spoyle of beautie they did pray.
And twixt her paps like early fruit in May, whose haruest seemd to hasten now apace: they loosely did theyr wanton winges display, and there to rest themselues did boldly place.
Sweet thoughts I enuy your so happy rest, which oft I wisht, yet neuer was so blest.


by Edmund Spenser | |

Amoretti LXVII: Like as a Huntsman

 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.


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.


by Edmund Spenser | |

So Let Us Love

 Most glorious Lord of life! that on this day
Didst make thy triumph over death and sin,
And having harrowed hell, didst bring away
Captivity thence captive, us to win:
This joyous day, dear Lord, with joy begin;
And grant that we, for whom Thou diddest die,
Being, with thy dear blood, clean washed from sin,
May live for ever in felicity;
And that thy love we weighing worthily,
May likewise love Thee for the same again;
And for thy sake, that all like dear didst buy,
With love may one another entertain.
So let us love, dear Love, like as we ought: Love is the lesson which the Lord us taught.