Edmund Spenser: One day i wrote her name upon the sand

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Edmund Spenser

One Day I wrote Her Name Upon the Sand

This poem by Edmund Spenser is about capturing not just a singular moment but a whole lifetime as he attempts to immortalise his loved one, despite her protestations and accusations of his vanity for trying to achieve the impossible. But as marks in the sand are washed away and the sands of time will too eventually run out, Spenser’s verse does ‘eternize’ her and them both and comes as a fine example of how poetry may just come the closest to ensuring that moments of glorious emotion and intensity do indeed last forever. This sonnet is part of one of Spenser’s most famous works, Amoretti, a sonnet cycle consisting of 89 sonnets which describe his courtship and wedding to Elizabeth Boyle (who was immortalised to an extent which she could never have imagined). It also utilises Spenser’s own…

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