Sonnet 75 by Edmund Spenser


A sequence of sonnets entitled “Amoretti,” of which Sonnet 75 is a part was written by Edmund Spenser. “Amoretti was published in 1595 and contained 89 sonnets and a collection of short poems called Anacreontics and Epithalamion. The volume was titled” Amoretti and Epithalamion. Sonnet 75 is part of Amoretti, a sonnet cycle that depicts Spenser’s courtship and marriage to Elizabeth Boyle. We can get a better picture of what their relationship was like by reading through some of them, and how Spenser could bring his deep feelings that he loved towards his wife into verse.

Summary of Sonnet 75

“A series of sonnets entitled” Amoretti “was written by Edmund Spenser, of which Sonnet 75 is part. Also entitled “One Day I Wrote Her Name Upon the Strand”, Edmund Spenser weaves a tale about the ocean, love and immortality. He is writing about being with his beloved on the beach and writing her name in the sand. A wave arrives and washes away her name, as expected. With the same outcome, he tries it over again. The woman speaks up and says it is unfair for him to continue writing her name because it will only continue to be washed away by the ocean. She relates that to her death, that just as her name is erased from the ocean, she will finally be erased from the sand. The speaker in the sonnet then responds that, by writing about her in his poem, he would make her immortal. That way, their names and their love for one another will live on forever.

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Analysis of Sonnet 75

This sonnet seems to be about the author’s attempts to immortalize his wife or the love of his life. Spencer starts the poem with a quatrain recalling an incident that could have happened any summer day at the beach. He writes his beloved’s name in the stand at the beach, but the ocean’s waves wipe it away, just as time destroys all man-made things. He again wrote it with a second hand but received the same outcome.

The next quatrain describes the woman’s reaction to the man’s charming attempt to immortalize her. She claims that the man’s attempts were in vain and that no mortal being can be immortalized due to the cruelness of time. She harshly mocks at the lover’s futile efforts to immortalize her name as well as herself.

The next quatrain represents a turning point in the poem and the author reveals that his wife will be eternally remembered in his poems and his verse. The final couplet at the end, ” Where whenas death shall all the world subdue, Our love shall live, and later life renew.” summarizes the poem by comparing the eternalness of love and death to the brevity of life and humanity.

Spencer uses the rhyme scheme of this poem to create a contrast between earthly ideas an nd objects that will eventually be destroyed and heavenly ones that will last forever. The first two quatrains focus on the author’s vain attempts to write his wife’s name. Time and nature are shown to destroy the author’s manmade works and his attempts are thwarted. The author then switches gears and shows how he immortalized his wife in the very poem he is writing. Spencer uses a very melodic rhythm and iambic pentameter to create a calm and pleasant sounding poem. His frequent use of alliteration such as, “die in the dust” and “vers in virtue” helps to paint the complete picture of the poem and tie the themes of the poem together.

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Short Answer Questions

1. What is the theme of Edmund Spencer’s sonnet 75?

Answer: The theme of this poem by Edmund Spencer is that life is temporal. No one can live forever as death is inevitable. However, eternity can be achieved through art.

2. What was the speaker trying to do?
Answer: The speaker was trying to woo his lady love by making her immortalize forever.

3. Who is the speaker?

Answer: The speaker is a young man. He is madly in love with his lady love. He is expressive and desires to leave an everlasting impression on the mind of his lady love. He is relentless in his efforts. He finds poetry as the medium to immortalize his lady love.

4. How many lines does a sonnet have?
Answer: A sonnet comprises of fourteen lines.

5. What secret about life is revealed in this poem? Edmund spencer’s sonnet “ Answer: One Day I Wrote Her Name” is a highly philosophical poem. it reveals the true nature of life. Life is short and can not last forever. Even love will come to an end with death.

6. Name the masterpiece of Edmund Spencer.
Answer: Edmund Spencer’s masterpiece is ” The Faerie Queene”.

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