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The complexities of Spenser's compositional practices were lost on later readers; Robert Aikin is typical: "The Epithalamion composed for his own marriage, possesses feeling as well as fancy, and wants only judicious curtailment to make it a very pleasing piece" Works of Spenser 1:xlv-vi. Robert Southey : "The epithalamium on his own marriage is one of the very finest poems which was ever written; were but a few parts omitted, it might be pronounced perfect" Annual Review 4 Anna Jameson: "The Amoretti , as Spenser has fancifully entitled his Sonnets, are certainly tinctured with a good deal of the verbiage and pedantry of the times; but I think I have shown that they contain passages of earnest feeling, as well as high poetic beauty.
Spenser married his Elizabeth, about the year , and he has crowned his amatory effusions with a most impassioned and triumphant epithalamion on his own nuptials, which he concludes with a prophecy, that it shall stand a perpetual monument of his happiness, and thus it has been.
The passage in which he describes his youthful bride, is perhaps one of the most beautiful and vivid pictures in the whole compass of English poetry" Loves of the Poets Henry Hallam: "The English language seems to expand itself with a copiousness unknown before, while he pours forth the varied imagery of this splendid little poem. I do not know any other nuptial song, ancient or modern, of equal beauty.
It is an intoxication of ecstasy, ardent, noble, and pure. But it pleased not Heaven that these day-dreams of genius and virtue should be undisturbed" Literature of Europe ; Edwin Guest: "The broken stave was closed with an alexandrine at a very early period. The following intricate specimen ["Open the Temple-gates.
It may be considered as compounded of a ballet-stave of 6, a peculiar ballet-stave of 5 with three terminations, another ballet-stanza of 6, and a final couplet — the first and second staves receiving band from the rhime.
Each of the three staves breaks its last verse" History of English Rhythms Aubrey de Vere: "I have heard Wordsworth remark, more than once, that in its long and exquisitely balanced stanzas there was a swanlike movement and a subtle metrical sweetness, the secret of which he could never wholly discover; and the like of which he found nowhere else except in Milton's Lycidas " Essays chiefly on Poetry Ye learned Sisters, which have oftentimes Been to me aiding, others to adorn, Whom ye thought worthy of your graceful Rimes, That ev'n the greatest did not greatly scorn To hear their Names sing in your simple Layes, But joyed in their Praise; And when ye list your own Mishap so mourn, Which Death, or Love, or Fortune's Wreck did raise, Your String could soon to sadder Tenour turn, And teach the Woods and Waters to lament Your doleful Dreriment: Now lay those sorrowful Complaints aside, And having all your Heads with Girlands crown'd, Help me mine own Love's Praises to resound, Ne let the same of any be envide.
Bid her awake therefore, and soon her dight, For loe the wished Day is come at last, That shall for all the Pains and Sorrows past, Pay to her Usury of long Delight: And whilst she doth her dight, Do ye to her of Joy and Solace sing, That all the Woods may answer, and your Eccho ring. Bring with you all the Nymphs that you can hear, Both of the Rivers and the Forests green: And of the Sea that neighbours to her near, All with gay Girlands goodly well beseen.
And let them also with them bring in hand Another gay Girland, For my fair Love, of Lillies and of Roses, Bound true-love wise, with a blue silk Riband. And-let them make great Store of bridal Poses, And let them eke bring store of other Flowers To deck the bridal Bowers. And let the Ground whereas her Foot shall tread, For fear the Stones her tender Foot should wrong, Be strew'd with fragrant Flowers all along, And diapred like the discoloured Mead.
Which done, do at her Chamber-door await, For she will waken strait, The whiles do ye this Song unto her sing; The Woods shall to you answer, and your Eccho ring. And eke ye lightfoot Maids which keep the Deer, That on the hoary Mountain use to towre, And the wild Wolves which seek them to devour, With your steel Darts do chace from coming near, Be also present here, To help to deck her, and to help to sing; That all the Woods may answer, and your Eccho ring.
And ye three Handmaids of the Cyprian Queen, The which do still adorn her Beauty's Pride, Help to adorn my beautifullest Bride; And as ye her array, still throw between Some Graces to be seen: And as ye use to Venus, to her sing, The whiles the Woods shall answer, and your Eccho ring.
Now is my Love all ready forth to come, Let all the Virgins therefore well await; And ye fresh Boys that tend upon her Groom, Prepare your selves, for he is coming strait.
Set all your things in seemly good array, Fit for so joyful Day: The joyfulst Day that ever Sun did see. But most of all, the Damzels do delite, When they their Timbrels smite, And thereunto do daunce and carrol sweet, That all the Senses they do ravish quite; The whiles the Boys run up and down the Street, Crying aloud with strong confused Noise, As if it were one Voice; Hymen, Io Hymen, Hymen they do shout, That even to the Heavens their shouting shrill Doth reach, and all the Firmament doth fill; To which the People standing all about, As in approvance do thereto applaud, And loud advance her Laud, And evermore they Hymen, Hymen sing, That all the Woods them answer, and their Eccho ring.
Loe where she comes along with portly Pace, Like Phoebe, from her Chamber of the East, Arising forth to run her mighty Race, Clad all in white, that seems a Virgin best.
So well it her beseems, that ye would ween Some Angel she had been: Her long loose yellow Locks like golden Wire, Sprinkled with Pearl, and perling Flowres atween, Do like a golden Mantle her attire: And being crowned with a Girland green, Seem like some maiden Queen.
Her modest Eyes abashed to behold So many Gazers, as on her do stare, Upon the lowly Ground affixed are; Ne dare lift up her Countenance too bold, But blush to hear her Praises sung so loud, So far from being proud. Nathless do ye still loud her Praises sing, That all the Woods may answer, and your Eccho ring.
Why stand ye still, ye Virgins in amaze, Upon her so to gaze, Whiles ye forget your former Lay to sing, To which the Woods did answer, and your Eccho ring? But if ye saw that which no Eyes can see, The inward Beauty of her lively Spright, Garnish'd with heavenly Gifts of high Degree, Much more then would ye wonder at that sight, And stand astonish'd like to those which red Medusa's mazeful Head.
Had ye once seen these her celestial Treasures, And unrevealed Pleasures, Then would ye wonder, and her Praises sing, That all the Woods should answer, and your Eccho ring.
Behold, whiles she before the Altar stands, Hearing the holy Priest that to her speaks, And blesses her with his two happy Hands, How the red Roses flush up in her Cheeks, And the pure Snow, with goodly vermil Stain, Like Crimsin dy'd in Grain: That even the Angels, which continually About the sacred Altar do remain, Forget their Service and about her fly; Oft peeping in her Face, that seems more fair, The more they on it stare.
But her sad Eyes still fastned on the Ground, Are governed with goodly Modesty, That suffers not one Look to glaunce awry, Which may let in a little Thought unsound. Why blush ye, Love, to give to me your hand, The Pledge of all our Band?
But for this time it ill ordained was, To chuse the longest Day in all the Year, And shortest Night, when longest fitter were; Yet never Day to long, but late would pass. Ring ye the Bells, to make it wear away, And Bonefires make all day, And daunce about them, and about them sing; That all the Woods may answer, and your Eccho ring.
Let no lamenting Cries, nor doleful Tears, Be heard all night within, nor yet without; Me let false Whispers, breeding hidden Fears, Break gentle Sleep with misconceived Doubt. Let none of these their drery Accents sing, Ne let the Woods them answer, nor their Eccho ring. But let still Silence true Night-Watches keep, That sacred Peace may in Assurance reign, And timely Sleep, when it is time to sleep, May pour his Limbs forth on your pleasant Plain; The whiles an hundred little winged Loves, Like divers-fethered Doves, Shall fly and flutter round about your Bed; And in the secret Dark, that none reproves, Their pretty Stealths shall work, and Snares shall spread, To filch away sweet Snatches of Delight, Conceal'd through covert Night.
All Night therefore attend your merry Play, For it will soon be Day: Now none doth hinder you, that say or sing, Ne will the Woods now answer, nor your Eccho ring. Who is the same, which at my Window peeps? Or whose is that fair Face which shines so bright? Is it not Cynthia, she that never sleeps, But walks about high Heaven all the Night?
And thou, fair Hebe, and thou Hymen free, Grant that it so may be. Till which we cease your further Praise to sing, Ne any Woods shall answer, nor your Eccho ring. And ye high Heavens, the Temple of the Gods, In which a thousand Torches, flaming bright, Do burn, that to us wretched earthly Clods In dreadful Darkness lend desired Light; And all ye Powers which in the same remain, More than we Men can feign, Pour out your Blessing on us plenteously, And happy Influence upon us rain, That we may raise a large Posterity, Which from the Earth, which they may long possess, With lasting Happiness, Up to your haughty Palaces may mount, And for the Guerdon of their glorious Merit, May heavenly Tabernacles there inherit, Of blessed Saints for to increase the Count.
So let us rest, sweet Love, in hope of this, And cease till then our timely Joys to sing, The Woods no more us answer, nor our Eccho ring.
Song made in lieu of many Ornaments, With which my Love should duly have been deckt, Which cutting off through hasty Accidents, Ye would not stay your due time to expect, But promis'd both to recompence; Be unto her a goodly Ornament, And for short time an endless Monument. Hughes ]. Facsimile Menston: Scolar, Book I. Canto II. Canto III. Canto IV. Canto IX. Canto V. Canto VI. Canto VII. Canto VIII. Canto X. Canto XI. Canto XII. Book II.
Book III. Contayning the Legend of Sir Guyon, or of Temperance. Contayning, the Legend of Britomartis, or of Chastitie. Formerly translated. Gabriell Harvey, Doctor of the Lawes. Book IV. Book V. Book VI. Book VII. Contayning the Legend of Artegall or of Justice. Contayning the Legend of Sir Calidore, or of Courtesie. Edmond Spenser. Edmund Spenser. By Edmund Spenser. With an exact Collation of the Two Original Editions. A new Edition.
In Two Volumes. In Eight Volumes. Probe einer Ubersetzung. In six Volumes. Phineas Fletcher, To Master W. Valentines Day. John Donne, Ecclogue. December John Donne, Epithalamion made at Lincolnes Inne. Phineas Fletcher, Epithalamium.
Hierome Weston. The morning after the Marriage of the Earl of Barymore with Mrs. Martha Laurence. William Thompson, Thames: a Canto. On the Royal Nuptials in May In imitation of Spenser. Lewis Bagot, [Untitled,"Nymphs, that mountain, wood, or hill.
In imitation of Spencer.
Spenser's Amoretti and Epithalamion Summary and Analysis of Epithalamion Stanzas 1 through 12
Edmund Spenser is considered one of the preeminent poets of the English language. Prose Home Harriet Blog. Visit Home Events Exhibitions Library. Newsletter Subscribe Give. Poetry Foundation.
Edmund Spenser’s “Epithalamion” and Strategic Spatiality
The complexities of Spenser's compositional practices were lost on later readers; Robert Aikin is typical: "The Epithalamion composed for his own marriage, possesses feeling as well as fancy, and wants only judicious curtailment to make it a very pleasing piece" Works of Spenser 1:xlv-vi. Robert Southey : "The epithalamium on his own marriage is one of the very finest poems which was ever written; were but a few parts omitted, it might be pronounced perfect" Annual Review 4 Anna Jameson: "The Amoretti , as Spenser has fancifully entitled his Sonnets, are certainly tinctured with a good deal of the verbiage and pedantry of the times; but I think I have shown that they contain passages of earnest feeling, as well as high poetic beauty. Spenser married his Elizabeth, about the year , and he has crowned his amatory effusions with a most impassioned and triumphant epithalamion on his own nuptials, which he concludes with a prophecy, that it shall stand a perpetual monument of his happiness, and thus it has been. The passage in which he describes his youthful bride, is perhaps one of the most beautiful and vivid pictures in the whole compass of English poetry" Loves of the Poets Henry Hallam: "The English language seems to expand itself with a copiousness unknown before, while he pours forth the varied imagery of this splendid little poem. I do not know any other nuptial song, ancient or modern, of equal beauty.
Edmund Spenser's Epithalamion: Definition, Summary & Analysis
Epithalamion , marriage ode by Edmund Spenser , originally published with his sonnet sequence Amoretti in Taken as a whole, the group of poems is unique among Renaissance sonnet sequences in recording a successful love affair culminating in marriage. The stanza poem begins with the predawn invocation of the Muses and follows the events of the wedding day. The speaker, reflecting on the private moments of the bride and groom, concludes with a prayer for the fruitfulness of the marriage. The mood of the poem is hopeful, thankful, and very sunny. Info Print Cite. Submit Feedback.