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Take That, Death!

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Take That, Death!

Poetry endures.

Sonnet 75: One Day I Wrote her Name Upon The Strand

By Edmund Spenser (1552 – 1599)

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.’

Who is the poet talking to? Linda Sue Grimes (external link with analysis), suggests “that the woman is Elizabeth Boyle, his second wife, to whom the poet dedicated his sonnet sequence, Amoretti.”

“And in the heavens write your glorious name.” As John Travolta’s character in Pulp Fiction would say, “That’s a bold statement.”

Read by Jordan Harling

By thomasfarley01

Business writer and graphic arts gadfly.

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