Defining Rhetoric : THE AMORETTI (Sonnet 75): Edmund Spenser


                 Edmund Spenser - Sonnet 75

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 doest 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 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,
Out love shall live, and later life renew.

“ One day I wrote her name upon the strand ’’

This a case of Hyperbaton because the normal order of wards has been changed .The ordinary syntactic order world have been  “I wrote her name upon the strand’’.

“Again I wrote it with a second hand,
But came the tyde , and made my paynes  his pray ’’

This  is a case of   Transferred Epithet  [ Hypallage ] The  epithet ‘ second ’ properly belongs to time rather than to hand .
It may also a case of personification since ‘tide’ is seen as hunting down the efforts of the poet.

‘ For I myself shall  like to this decay, 
And eek my name by urped out likeirse”  -

This is a case of simile .The poet points to the similarity between the destruction of the engraved name by the sea and the death caused to the lady by time, the similarity is explicitly stated by the use of word ‘like’.

“Not so,’ quod  I, “ let baser things devize ”
To die in dust but you shall live by fame ’ –

 This is a case of antithesis where two opposed ideas are balanced against  each other to the same effect .The two ideas contrasted are the idea of the meaner things being reduced to dust by time on the one hand, and the idea of the superior beloved  ‘ transcending this by fame , on the other .

“Where when as death shall all the world subdew, 
Our love shall live, and later life renew ”

      It is a case of Antithesis since the two opposed ideas of the death of the world and the living of their love are balanced against each other.   
This is also a cause of Epigram .Ordinarily the idea of the renewal of love after life may seem absurd, but on thinking more deeply one realizes that their love would indeed be renewed by the later generations of lovers who would model their love on the poet’s.

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