Love through the ages

Edmund Spencer (1552-1599)

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Edmund Spencer (1552-1599)


pencer is perhaps best known for ‘The Faerie Queene’, an epic poem celebrating the Tudors, in particular Elizabeth I. Spencer was born in London, but lived in Ireland for much of his life in the service of the Queen.

The language of his poetry is purposely archaic, echoing that of Chaucer’s. Spencer’s influence can be found in many later writers, including Wordsworth, Keats, Byron and Tennyson.

My Love Is Like To Ice (published 1595)
My love is like to ice, and I to fire:
How comes it then that this her cold so great
Is not dissolved through my so hot desire,
But harder grows the more I her entreat?
Or how comes it that my exceeding heat
Is not allayed by her heart-frozen cold,
But that I burn much more in boiling sweat,
And feel my flames augmented manifold?
What more miraculous thing may be told,
That fire, which all things melts, should harden. ice,
And ice, which is congeal's with senseless cold,
Should kindle fire by wonderful device?
Such is the power of love in gentle mind,
That it can alter all the course of kind.

Renaissance Period – 1485-1660

Elizabethan Period – 1558-1603

William Shakespeare (1564-1616)


hakespeare is possibly the most well known writers of English Literature. His work exemplifies the Renaissance period. Born in Stratford-upon-Avon, Shakespeare moved to London where he became known as an actor, playwright and poet. His identity has been a controversial point for many years, some people believing that the name Shakespeare refers to a group rather than an individual.

Sonnet 130 (published 1609 as part of a collection of sonnets)

My mistress' eyes are nothing like the sun;

Coral is far more red than her lips' red;

If snow be white, why then her breasts are dun;

If hairs be wires, black wires grow on her head.

I have seen roses damasked, red and white,

But no such roses see I in her cheeks;

And in some perfumes is there more delight

Than in the breath that from my mistress reeks.

I love to hear her speak, yet well I know

That music hath a far more pleasing sound;

I grant I never saw a goddess go;

My mistress when she walks treads on the ground.

And yet, by heaven, I think my love as rare

As any she belied with false compare.

At the time there was a great rise in Elizabethan Theatre/ English Renaissance Theatre. The period was known at the ‘Golden Age’ and is considered to be the height of the English Renaissances

Renaissance Period – 1485-1660

Elizabethan Period – 1558-1603

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