As Shakespeare suggests his lover's name will live on in his (Will's) verses, so does Edmund Spenser in the one below. I wonder which author first had the idea.
One day I wrote her name upon the strand,
But came the waves and washèd 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 doest in vain assay,
A mortal thing so to immortalize,
For I myself shall like to this decay,
And eek my name be wipèd out likewise.
No so, (quod I) let baser things devise
To die in dust, but you shall live by fame:
My verse, your virtues rare shall eternize,
And in the heavens write your glorious name.
Where whenas death shall all the world subdue,
Our love shall live, and later life renew.
He writes her name in the sand, but the water keeps washing it away. Not to worry, sez he, your name shall live in this verse. But wait! I don't see her name in the verse, do you? Well, not unless she has a 'glorious' name, no.
Looking at various biographies of Spenser, it would appear that Elizabeth Boyle was the subject of this and other sonnets in the Amoretti series. I don't see a Gloria in that name anywhere. Still, we see other Elizabeths in other Spenser works, and the glory word appears a LOT.
See, for example, from the Faerie Queen:
Upon a great adventure he was bond,
That greatest Gloriana to him gave,
That greatest Glorious Queene of Faerie lond,
To win him worship, and her grace to have,
Which of all earthly things he did most crave;
And ever as he rode, his heart did yearn
To prove his puissance in battle brave
Upon his foe, and his new force to learn;
Upon his foe, a Dragon horrible and stern.
And, using the Search feature on your browser, do a Find for 'glor' on the Amoretti sonnets:
In fact, the one immediately preceding the tide-washed name one is:
Most happy letters fram'd by skillful trade,
With which that happy name was first designed:
The which three times thrice happy hath me made,
With gifts of body, fortune and of mind.
The first my being to me gave by kind,
From mother's womb deriv'd by due descent,
The second is my sovereign Queen most kind,
That honour and large riches to me lent.
The third my love, my life's last ornament,
By whom my spirit out of dust was raised:
To speak her praise and glory excellent,
Of all alive most worthy to be praised.
Ye three Elizabeths forever live,
That three such graces did unto me give.
Drat, now we have three Elizabeths: the Queen, Ms Boyle, and (apparently) Edmund's mother as well? What Gloria has to do with the name Elizabeth I can only guess. Perhaps a secret to all but the one to whom the poems were intended?
Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 03/20/2006 01:16PM by Hugh Clary.
Hugh, your observation here has sparked a hunt for poems written for anonymous lovers/wives, etc.
Let's start with this dedication by Seamus Heaney
Mossbawn: Two Poems in Dedication
There was a sunlit absence.
The helmeted pump in the yard
heated its iron,
in the slung bucket
and the sun stood
like a griddle cooling
against the wall
of each long afternoon.
So, her hands scuffled
over the bakeboard,
the reddening stove
sent its plaque of heat
against her where she stood
in a floury apron
by the window.
Now she dusts the board
with a goose's wing,
now sits, broad-lapped,
with whitened nails
and measling shins:
here is a space
again, the scone rising
to the tick of two clocks.
And here is love
like a tinsmith's scoop
sunk past its gleam
in the meal-bin.
2. The Seed Cutters
They seem hundreds of years away. Brueghel,
You'll know them if I can get them true.
They kneel under the hedge in a half-circle
Behind a windbreak wind is breaking through.
They are the seed cutters. The tuck and frill
Of leaf-sprout is on the seed potates
Buried under that straw. With time to kill,
They are taking their time. Each sharp knife goes
Lazily halving each root that falls apart
In the palm of the hand: a milky gleam,
And, at the centre, a dark watermark.
Oh, calendar customs! Under the broom
Yellowing over them, compose the frieze
With all of us there, our anonymities.
by Robert Louis Stevenson
MY first gift and my last, to you
I dedicate this fascicle of songs -
The only wealth I have:
Just as they are, to you.
I speak the truth in soberness, and say
I had rather bring a light to your clear eyes,
Had rather hear you praise
This bosomful of songs
Than that the whole, hard world with one consent,
In one continuous chorus of applause
Poured forth for me and mine
The homage of ripe praise.
I write the finis here against my love,
This is my love's last epitaph and tomb.
Here the road forks, and I
Go my way, far from yours.
SHE CANNOT END
--Johann Von Goethe
WHEN unto thee I sent the page all white,
Instead of first thereon inscribing aught,
The space thou doubtless filledst up in sport.
And sent it me, to make my joy grow bright.
As soon as the blue cover met my sight,
As well becomes a woman, quick as thought
I tore it open, leaving hidden nought,
And read the well-known words of pure delight:
MY ONLY BEING! DEAREST HEART! SWEET CHILD!
How kindly thou my yearning then didst still
With gentle words, enthralling me to thee.
In truth methought I read thy whispers mild
Wherewith thou lovingly my soul didst fill,
E'en to myself for aye ennobling me.
Les said: "your observation here has sparked a hunt for poems written for anonymous lovers/wives, etc."
What it caused me to stumble across, was the origin of "nimrod" as a derogaroty term. it seems that Bugs Bunny sarcastically called the not-so-great hunter Elmer Fudd "Nimrod" and people assumed it was an insult, like "Maroon"
Keep stumbling Johnny, Bugs is an icon. I wonder if anyone else here misses "Fractured Flickers".
I thought Americans knew their bibles, so why would they assume Nimrod was an insult? "Therefore it is said, 'Like Nimrod, a mighty hunter before the Lord.'" Genesis, 10-9.
Elgar's Enigma Variations uses the movement Nimrod to represent his friend Jaeger.
Why is "maroon" an insult? Dark red, a firework sent up as a destress signal, to abandon.
According to my dictionary, a maroon is also 'one of a group of Negroes, originally slaves, living in the wilder parts of the West Indies and the Guianas'. It can also mean someone who has been marooned. I guess either of those meanings, if used metaphorically, would not be intended as a compliment.
Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 03/21/2006 05:06PM by IanB.
I always thought maroon was Bugs's variation on moron.
Linda I agree, it seems oso obvious, yet the word has taken on a connotation of doltishness, like a clean version of dumbass or dickhead
Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 03/20/2006 09:09PM by JohnnySansCulo.
Thanks for the link, John. It's been years since I've seen one of those episodes, I think I'm gonna buy the set.
What happened to Hugh's original discussion? Somehow, I don't think he had Bugs Bunny in mind when he posed his provocative query about Spenser, Shakespeare, Elizabeth, and the mysterious "Gloria." I haven't been able to shed much light on the topic and am hoping that someone can. Perhaps, we can move this to a new thread, sans the Bugs Bunny/Nimrod stuff. How about it, Les?
What happened to Hugh's original discussion?
A name living on....but not in the expected way....it seems relevant to me, but that's just me
Les, non-coincedntally, the "Gabbo" episode of The Simpsons was on last night....another name living on
Having hijacked my fair share of threads, the wandering of this one bothers me not. Still, reading poetry is so often like figuring out a riddle that I am constantly on the lookout for the hidden message. Often one that is not there, right.
Shakespeare, for example, never gave us the name(s) of his lover(s) mentioned in the Sonnets, but one infers there is a youth, a rival poet, and a dark lady as subjects addressed in many of them. It would be delicious if their names could be determined from reading the works, where they are somehow hidden, that is.
Looking at those where the poem promises to keep the person alive for eternity, such examples might be,
Nor shall Death brag thou wander'st in his shade,
When in eternal lines to time thou growest:
So long as men can breathe or eyes can see,
So long lives this and this gives life to thee.
Not much to see there, unless one can spot a name anagram somewhere.
So, till the judgment that yourself arise,
You live in this, and dwell in lover's eyes.
Hmmm ... is a name hidden in 'lover's eyes' perhaps? One can see 'Vere' (as in Edward De Vere), but then we need the dwell word to get a D, so let's assume the answer lies in 'anddwellinloverseyes'. Aha! Now we get,
Sly Will's on E De Vere
Coincidence? Well, yeah, probably, but what if, huh?
Other such sonnets to be considered might be,
And yet to times in hope my verse shall stand,
Praising thy worth, despite his cruel hand.
His beauty shall in these black lines be seen,
And they shall live, and he in them still green.
O, none, unless this miracle have might,
That in black ink my love may still shine bright.
You still shall live--such virtue hath my pen--
Where breath most breathes, even in the mouths of men.
If I weren't so lazy, I would chase these down in hopes of spotting yet more abnormalities. Lazy I am, though.
such virtue hath my pen
Hump thy c--t, shivaree
Joe, the beauty of this forum is that there is room for discussion about all things. If there is enough interest, the discussion will come around to the topic. Consider this poem by Edmund Spenser:
My Love Is Like To Ice
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.
Was he talking about/to a particular person? I don't think so.
I seem to remember that all the Amoretti sonnets (and this is number 30) were supposedly written to/about Elizabeth Boyle. Is there an intended pun in the 'boiling sweat' above? Your call, but note the original spelling:
MY loue is lyke to yse, and I to fyre;
how comes it then that this her cold so great
is not dissolu'd through my so hot desyre,
but harder growes the more I her intreat?
Or how comes it that my exceeding heat
is not delayd by her hart frosen cold:
but that I burne much more in boyling sweat,
and feel my flames augmented manifold?
What more miraculous thing may be told
that fire which all things melts, should harden yse:
and yse which is congeald with sencelesse cold,
should kindle fyre by wonderfull deuyse.
Such is the powre of loue in gentle mind,
that it can alter all the course of kynd.
boyling sweat, yeah that turnes on the chickes
Hugh, I think that perhaps in Elizabethan times it might have been considered inartistic to "dedicate" poems.