Amoretti LV: So oft as I her beauty do behold

By Edmund Spenser 1552–1599 Edmund Spenser
So oft as I her beauty do behold,
And therewith do her cruelty compare,
I marvel of what substance was the mould
The which her made at once so cruel-fair.
Not earth; for her high thoughts more heavenly are:
Not water; for her love doth burn like fire:
Not air; for she is not so light or rare:
Not fire; for she doth freeze with faint desire.

Then needs another element inquire
Whereof she might be made; that is, the sky.
For to the heaven her haughty looks aspire,
And eke her love is pure immortal high.
   Then since to heaven ye likened are the best,
   Be like in mercy as in all the rest.


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Poet Edmund Spenser 1552–1599

POET’S REGION England

SCHOOL / PERIOD Renaissance

Subjects Love, Unrequited Love

 Edmund  Spenser

Biography

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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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Love, Unrequited Love

POET’S REGION England

SCHOOL / PERIOD Renaissance

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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