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Edmund Spenser
(1552-1599)

English Poet, friend of Sir Philip Sidney; known for The Faerie Queen and for the Spenserian Stanza. Poet Laureate from 1591.


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71 I joy to see
76 One day I wrote her name

Sonnet 76

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 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,
Our love shall live, and later life renew.


LXXI

I joy to see how in your drawen work,
Yourself unto the bee ye do compare:
And me unto the Spider that doth lurk,
In close await to catch her unaware.
Right so youself were caught in cunning snare
Of a dear foe, and thralled to his love:
In whose straight bands ye now captived are
So firmly, that ye never may remove.
But as your work is woven all above,
With woodbine flowers and fragrant Eglantine;
So sweet your prison you in time shall prove,
With many dear delights bedecked fine.
And all thenceforth eternal peace shall see,
Between the spider and the gentle bee.


   

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2001 Elena and Yakov Feldman