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Short poem

Edmund Spenser (1552-1599)

Amoretti LXXV: One Day I Wrote her Name

              1One day I wrote her name upon the strand,
              2But came the waves and washed it away:
              3Again I wrote it with a second hand,
              4But came the tide, and made my pains his prey.
              5"Vain man," said she, "that dost in vain assay,
              6A mortal thing so to immortalize;
              7For I myself shall like to this decay,
              8And eke my name be wiped out likewise."
              9"Not so," (quod I) "let baser things devise
            10To die in dust, but you shall live by fame:
            11My verse your vertues rare shall eternize,
            12And in the heavens write your glorious name:
            13Where whenas death shall all the world subdue,
            14Our love shall live, and later life renew."


1] A series of eighty-eight sonnets, published in 1595 and probably written between 1592 and 1594 during the poet's wooing of Elizabeth Boyle.

Online text copyright © 2003, Ian Lancashire for the Department of English, University of Toronto.
Published by the Web Development Group, Information Technology Services, University of Toronto Libraries.

Original text: Edmund Spenser, Amoretti and Epithalamion (P. S. for W. Ponsonby, 1595). STC 23076. Facs.edn. (Scolar Press, 1968). PR 2360 A5 1595E Robarts Library
First publication date: 1595
RPO poem editor: N. J. Endicott
RP edition: 2RP 1.113.
Recent editing: 4:2002/5/23

Composition date: 1592 - 1594
Form: Spenserian Sonnet
Rhyme: ababbcbccdcdee

Other poems by Edmund Spenser