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EDMUND SPENSER (1552?-1599)



When I behold that beauty's wonderment,
And rare perfection of each goodly part,
Of nature's skill the only complement,
I honor and admire the Maker's art.
But when I feel the bitter, baleful smart 5
Which her fair eyes unwares do work in

That death out of their shiny beams do dart,

I think that I a new Pandora see:
Whom all the gods in council did agree
Into this sinful world from heaven to send,
That she to wicked men a scourge should


For all their faults with which they did offend.

But since ye are my scourge, I will intreat

That for my faults ye will me gently beat.


Like as a ship, that through the ocean wide By conduct of some star doth make her way,

Whenas a storm hath dimmed her trusty guide,

Out of her course doth wander far astray; So I, whose star, that wont with her bright ray


Me to direct, with clouds is overcast,
Do wander now in darkness and dismay,
Through hidden perils round about me

Yet hope I well, that when this storm is past,


My Helicé, the lodestar of my life,
Will shine again, and look on me at last,
With lovely light to clear my cloudy grief;
Till then I wander careful, comfort-

In secret sorrow and sad pensiveness.


With which my silly bark was tossèd sore,
I do at length descry the happy shore,
In which I hope ere long for to arrive:
Fair soil it seems from far, and fraught
with store


After long storms and tempests' sad assay,
Which hardly I endured heretofore,
In dread of death, and dangerous dis-



Of all that dear and dainty is alive.
Most happy he that can at last achieve
The joyous safety of so sweet a rest;
Whose least delight sufficeth to deprive
Remembrance of all pains which him op-

All pains are nothing in respect of this, All sorrows short that gain eternal bliss.


Fresh Spring, the herald of love's mighty king,

In whose coat-armor richly are displayed All sorts of flowers the which on earth do spring,

In goodly colors gloriously arrayed;
Go to my love, where she is careless laid,5
Yet in her winter's bower not well awake;
Tell her the joyous time will not be stayed,
Unless she do him by the forelock take;
Bid her therefore herself soon ready make
To wait on Love amongst his lovely


Where everyone that misseth then her make1

Shall be by him amerced2 with penance


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So long as men can breathe or eyes can


So long lives this and this gives life to thee.

Full many a glorious morning have I seen
Flatter the mountain-tops with sovereign

Kissing with golden face the meadows


When, in disgrace with fortune and men's Gilding pale streams with heavenly al


I all alone beweep my outcast state,
And trouble deaf heaven with my bootless

And look upon myself and curse my fate,
Wishing me like to one more rich in
Featured like him, like him with friends
Desiring this man's art and that man's

With what I most enjoy contented least;
Yet in these thoughts myself almost de-

Haply I think on thee, and then my state,


Like to the lark at break of day arising
From sullen earth, sings hymns at heaven's

chemy, Anon permit the basest clouds to ride 5 With ugly rack2 on his celestial face, And from the forlorn world his visage hide, Stealing unseen to west with this disgrace: Even so my sun one early morn did shine With all-triumphant splendor on 5 my brow;


But out, alack! he was but one hour mine;
The region3 cloud hath masked him from


When to the sessions of sweet silent thought

I summon up remembrance of things past,
I sigh the lack of many a thing I sought,
And with old woes new wail my dear time's



Then can I drown an eye, unused to flow, 5 For precious friends hid in death's dateless night,


When I have seen by Time's fell hand defaced


For thy sweet love remembered such The rich proud cost of outworn buried age; wealth brings When sometime lofty towers I see downrazed,

That then I scorn to change my state
with kings.

And brass eternal slave to mortal rage;
When I have seen the hungry ocean gain 5
Advantage on the kingdom of the shore,
And the firm soil win of the watery main,.
Increasing store with loss and loss with

And weep afresh love's long-since cancelled woe,

And moan the expense1 of many a vanished

Then can I grieve at grievances foregone,
And heavily from woe to woe tell o'er
The sad account of fore-bemoanèd moan,
Which I new pay as if not paid before.

But if the while I think on thee, dear

All losses are restored and sorrows end.

1 loss.


me now.

Yet him for this my love no whit disdaineth;

Suns of the world may stain, when heaven's sun staineth.

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O, how shall summer's honey breath hold



Against the wrackful siege of batt'ring days,

When rocks impregnable are not so stout, Nor gates of steel so strong, but Time decays?

O fearful meditation! where, alack,

Shall Time's best jewel from Time's chest lie hid?


Or what strong hand can hold his swift

foot back?

Or who his spoil of beauty can forbid?

O, none, unless this miracle have might, That in black ink my love may still shine bright.

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Lest the wise world should look into your moan

And mock you with me after I am gone.


Tired with all these, for restful death I Death's second self, that seals up all in



In me thou see'st the glowing of such

As, to behold desert a beggar born,
And needy nothing trimmed in jollity,
And purest faith unhappily forsworn,
And gilded honor shamefully misplaced, 5
And maiden virtue rudely strumpeted,
And right perfection wrongfully disgraced,
And strength by limping sway disabled,
And art made tongue-tied by authority,
And folly, doctor-like, controlling skill, 10
And simple truth miscalled simplicity,1
And captive good attending captain ill.

Tired with all these, from these would I
be gone,

Save that, to die, I leave my love alone.


That time of year thou mayst in me behold

your love even with my life decay,

1 folly.

When yellow leaves, or none, or few, do hang

Upon those boughs which shake against

the cold,

Bare ruined choirs, where late the sweet
birds sang.

In me thou see'st the twilight of such day 5
As after sunset fadeth in the west;
Which by and by black night doth take

That on the ashes of his youth doth lie, 10
As the death-bed whereon it must ex-


Consumed with that which it was nourished by.

This thou perceiv'st, which makes thy love more strong,

To love that well which thou must leave ere long.


From you have I been absent in the spring,
When proud-pied2 April dressed in all his

Hath put a spirit of youth in every thing,
That heavy Saturn laughed and leaped

with him.

Yet nor the lays of birds nor the sweet smell


Of different flowers in odor and in hue
Could make me any summer's story tell,
Or from their proud lap pluck them where
they grew;

Nor did I wonder at the lily's white,
Nor praise the deep vermilion in the rose;
They were but sweet, but figures of de-




O, if, I say, you

look upon this verse

When I perhaps compounded am with Drawn after you, you pattern of all those. Yet seemed it winter still, and, you



Do not so much as my poor name re

hearse, But let


As with your shadow, I with these did play.

2 gorgeously variegated.

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