The Love Sonnet
Spencer, author of The Faerie Queene, was a well-loved poet in England during his lifetime. He was buried in Westminster Abbey near Geoffrey Chaucer with a monument inscribed: “The Prince of Poets in His Tyme.” At his burial, poets tossed elegiac poems into his grave. Ah . . . poets.
The following sonnet was published in Amoretti, a collection of poems dedicated to his wife Elizabeth Boyle.
One day I wrote her name upon the strand
But came the waves and washed it away:
Again I wrote it with a second hand,
But came the tide, and made my pains his prey.
Vain man, said she, that dost in vain assay
A mortal thing so to immortalize,
For I myself shall like to this decay,
And eek my name be wiped out likewise.
Not so (quoth I), let baser things devise
To die ...