Edmund Spenser

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Edmund Spenser (c. 1552 - January 13, 1599) was an English poet, who wrote such pastorals as The Shepheardes Calendar, Astrophell and Colin Clouts Come Home Againe, but is probably best known for the multi-layered allegorical romance The Faerie Queene.


  • I trow that countenance cannot lie,
    Whose thoughts are legible in the eie.
    • An Elegie, or Friends Passion, for his Astrophill, Line 108 (1586)
  • Death slue not him, but he made death his ladder to the skies.
    • Another [Epitaph] of the Same, line 20 (1586)
  • I learned have, not to despise,
    What ever thing seemes small in common eyes.
    • Visions of the Worlds Vanitie line 69 (1591)
  • For of the soule the bodie forme doth take;
    For the soule is forme, and doth the bodie make.
    • An Hymne in Honour of Beautie, line 132 (1596)
  • For all that faire is, is by nature good;
    That is a signe to know the gentle blood.
    • An Hymne in Honour of Beautie, line 139

[http://www.bartleby.com/106/53.html Prothalamion (1596)

  • Calm was the day, and through the trembling air
    Sweet-breathing Zephyrus did softly play—
    A gentle spirit, that lightly did delay
    Hot Titan's beams, which then did glister fair
    • Line 1
  • Sweete Themmes runne softly, till I end my Song.
    • The last line of each stanza
    • This is often attributed to T. S. Eliot, who does indeed quote it in The Waste Land.
  • With that I saw two swans of goodly hue
    Come softly swimming down along the Lee:
    Two fairer birds I yet did never see;
    The snow which doth the top of Pindus strow
    Did never whiter show,
    Nor Jove himself, when he a swan would be
    For love of Leda, whiter did appear
    • Line 37

The Faerie Queene (1589-1596)

  • Fierce warres and faithfull loves shall moralize my song.
    • Book I, Introduction, stanza 1
  • A Gentle Knight was pricking on the plaine.
    • Book I, canto 1, stanza 1
  • But of his cheere did seeme too solemne sad;
    Yet nothing did he dread, but ever was ydrad.
    • Book I, canto 1, stanza 2
  • A bold bad man, that dar'd to call by name
    Great Gorgon, Prince of darknesse and dead night.
    • Book I, canto 1, stanza 37
  • Is not short paine well borne, that brings long ease,
    And layes the soul to sleepe in quiet grave?
    Sleepe after toyle, port after stormie seas,
    Ease after warre, death after life does greatly please.
    • Book I, canto 9, stanza 40
  • And all for love, and nothing for reward.
    • Book II, canto 8, stanza 2
  • Through thicke and thin, both over banke and bush
    In hope her to attaine by hooke or crooke.
    • Book III, canto 1, stanza 17
  • Into the woods thenceforth in hast she went,
    To seeke for hearbes, that mote him remedy;
    For she of hearbes had great intendiment,
    Taught of the Nymphe, which from her infancy
    Her nourced had in trew Nobility:
    There, whether it divine Tobacco were,
    Or Panachaea, or Polygony,
    She found, and brought it to her patient deare
    Who al this while lay bleeding out his hart-bloud neare.
    • Book III, canto 5, stanza 32
  • And as she lookt about, she did behold,
    How over that same dore was likewise writ,
    Be bold, be bold, and every where Be bold,
    That much she muz'd, yet could not construe it
    By any ridling skill, or commune wit.
    At last she spyde at that same roomes upper end,
    Another yron dore, on which was writ,
    Be not too bold.
    • Book III, canto 11, stanza 54
  • Dan Chaucer, well of English undefyled,
    On Fames eternall beadroll worthie to be fyled.
    • Book IV, canto 2, stanza 32
  • As withered weed through cruell winters tine,
    That feeles the warmth of sunny beames reflection,
    Liftes up his head, that did before decline
    And gins to spread his leafe before the faire sunshine.
    • Book IV, canto 12, stanza 34
  • Me seemes the world is runne quite out of square,
    From the first point of his appointed sourse,
    And being once amisse growes daily wourse and wourse.
    • Book V, Introduction, stanza 1
  • Ill can he rule the great, that cannot reach the small.
    • Book V, canto 2, stanza 43
  • A monster, which the Blatant beast men call,
    A dreadfull feend of gods and men ydrad.
    • Book V, canto 12, stanza 37
  • The gentle minde by gentle deeds is knowne.
    For a man by nothing is so well bewrayd,
    As by his manners.
    • Book VI, canto 3, stanza 1
  • And in his hand a sickle he did holde,
    To reape the ripened fruits the which the earth had yold.
    • Book VII, canto 7, stanza 30

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