Edmund Spenser (1552-1599)

Edmund Spenser was born in London in 1552. He was of a noble origin. Spenser began to write at seventeen and had made a great contribution to the poetry: he invented “The Spenserian Stanza” — a special metre rhymed in a particular pattern: ababbcbcc “The Faerie Queene” (1589-1596) was written in such a way. It was devoted to Queen Elizabeth. The wonderful music of the lines, the magic of the sound create the atmosphere of sweetness, though it is rather difficult to read because of its allegorical form.

Spenser praised Queen Elizabeth in his great poem “The Shepherd’s Calendar”. This poem is written in twelve books, one for each month of the year. They are arranged in the form of discussion. Besides praising Queen Elizabeth the shepherds speak on various subjects. That’s why the English accepted the book as the beginning of a great literary age.

One of the beautiful Irish castles built soon after Norman invasion (1171) and repaired by Sir Henry Wallop in Elizabethan time was leased to Edmund Spenser.

In 1594 Spenser married Elizabeth Boyle and devoted to her his perfect marriage song “Epithalamion” (1559) and 88 Sonnets under the title “Amoretti”. It’s worth attention that Spenser’s friend, Sir Philip Sidney, was also a writer and a poet whose book of sonnets was published in 1591 after his death.

Another poet of those times was Sir Walter Raleigh. His poems have been lost, but the short pieces which remain show his real gift for lyrics:

If all the world and love were young

And truth in every shepherd’s tongue,

These pretty pleasures might me move

To live with thee and be thy love.

In those times Comedies and Tragedies began to appear. Drama was born. Drama was the main literary glory of the great Elizabethan age. It is important to mention the fact that comedies were much better than tragedies.

Read on Google Books

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