Iambicum Trimetrum

By Edmund Spenser 1552–1599 Edmund Spenser
Unhappy verse, the witness of my unhappy state,
      Make thy self flutt'ring wings of thy fast flying
      Thought, and fly forth unto my love, wheresoever she be:
Whether lying restless in heavy bed, or else
      Sitting so cheerless at the cheerful board, or else
      Playing alone careless on her heavenly virginals.
If in bed, tell her, that my eyes can take no rest:
      If at board, tell her, that my mouth can eat no meat:
      If at her virginals, tell her, I can hear no mirth.
Asked why? say: waking love suffereth no sleep:
      Say that raging love doth appal the weak stomach:
      Say, that lamenting love marreth the musical.
Tell her, that her pleasures were wont to lull me asleep:
      Tell her, that her beauty was wont to feed mine eyes:
      Tell her, that her sweet tongue was wont to make me mirth.
Now do I nightly waste, wanting my kindly rest:
      Now do I daily starve, wanting my lively food:
      Now do I always die, wanting thy timely mirth.
And if I waste, who will bewail my heavy chance?
      And if I starve, who will record my cursed end?
      And if I die, who will say: "This was Immerito"?

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Poet Edmund Spenser 1552–1599


SCHOOL / PERIOD Renaissance

Subjects Relationships, Love, Desire, Infatuation & Crushes, Unrequited Love, Realistic & Complicated

 Edmund  Spenser


To understand Edmund Spenser's place in the extraordinary literary renaissance that took place in England during the last two decades of the reign of Queen Elizabeth, it is helpful to begin with the remarks of the foremost literary critic of the age, Sir Philip Sidney. In The Defence of Poetry, (1595), written in the early 1580s, Sidney looked back on the history of English literature and sees little to admire. He mentions the . . .

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SUBJECT Relationships, Love, Desire, Infatuation & Crushes, Unrequited Love, Realistic & Complicated


SCHOOL / PERIOD Renaissance

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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