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Edmund Spenser: One day I wrote her name upon the strand

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Edmund Spenser: One day I wrote her name upon the strand ©
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Karl-Franzens-Universität Graz - KFU
2012 B. Walter

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Edmund Spenser

One day I wrote her name upon the strand


Table of Content

1. Introduction

2. Overview

2.1 Theme

2.2 Content

2.3 Lyrical Speech Situation

2.4 Rhetorical Devices

2.5 Imagery

2.6 Rhythmic analysis

2.7 Meter

2.8 Rhyme

3. Interpretation

4. Summary

5. Appendix

6. Bibliography


Introduction

”One Day I Wrote Her Name Upon the Strand” is a sonnet within the sonnet cycle ‘Amoretti‘ by Edmund Spenser written in the 16th century.

The main content of this sonnet cycle, is the relationship between the poet and his beloved woman, Elizabeth Boyle, and their eventual marriage.  It was first published in 1595 in London by William Ponsonby as a part of a volume called ‘Amoretti and Epithalamion‘. The sonnet cycle included 89 sonnets and the poem ‘One Day I Wrote Her Name Upon the Strand‘ is sonnet number 75. In this paper I will analyze the poem “One Day I Wrote Her Name Upon the Strand“ with the knowledge and tools I acquired in this semester in the Literary Studies 1 course.

I will briefly talk about the theme, content and lyrical speech situation as well as about the rhetoric devices used in this poem and the imagery. Finally I will interpret the poem with focus on the love story.

2. Overview

2.1 Theme

The poem “One Day I Wrote Her Name Upon the Strand” is firstly about love. It is the attempt of a man to immortalize his love and his loved woman so they can be together for all eternity. Furthermore, the poem reveals the fact that humans cannot stop nature and death and therefore everyone as well as everything on earth is mortal. So another theme of the poem is mortality.


2.2 Content

The poem “One Day I Wrote Her Name Upon the Strand” describes the desperate attempt of a man to write his lover‘s name in the sand. However, in the very next moment, the waves com.....[read full text]

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The anaphor is found at the beginning of verse two and four, where both lines start with “But came the…“. This example is also an example of a parallelism. Other parallelisms are found in verse one and three where it says “[…] I wrote her name […] agayne I wrote it with a second hand“. Another parallelism is found in verse five and nine where it is written “vain man, sayd she […] not so, quod I“. “[…], quod I” and “[…] sayd she” are also examples of a inversion, as to the fact that one would usually say “I said” and “she said“.


Ellipse, homonym

An ellipse is found in verse two and four “But [then] came the …” and also in line five “that [you] doest in vain assay. There is also a homonym with the word “vain” to be found in verse five. The first “vain“ is describing the man and mend to be understood as to be proud of his beauty. The second “vain“, however, means “you try but you will never get it“.

Repetition, pleonasm

In verse seven, ten and 13 one finds an example of tautology or repetition with synonyms. The words “decay“ (V7) , “dy“(V10) as well as the word “death“ (V13) are all expressing the same meaning: passing away, doom, fall or decline.

Another rhetoric device is to be found in verse eight, where it says “[…] and eek my name bee wyped out lykewize“. Here we find a pleonasm, as the word “eek“ has more or less the same meaning as the word “lykewize“. Therefore it is an unnecessary repetition of a word because we do not get new information.


Onomatopo.....[read full text]

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Usually one days an animal makes another creature it’s pray, by this one means the animal hunts it. This constitutes a conventional vehicle to mean that something, in this case “my paynes“, is absorbed by something else, “the tyde”. The context implies that the tenor of “my paynes” is the lady‘s name, which in turn stands metaphorically for the young woman herself.

In verse seven, the woman says: “for I my selve shall lyke to this decay, and eek my name bee wyped out lykewize“.

Here we find a simile as well as a metaphor. The woman compares herself to the sand, this is because once she dies she will be turned into nature, in this context sand. The metaphor is then that she will be washed away too, not literally but in the memories of people. As she will be not visually seen anymore she will be forgotten as well.

The poem also closes with a metaphor in line 12, where it says: “and in the hevens wryte your glorious name“. This is not to be taken literal, as this is obviously impossible. However this quote wants to express that he, the speaker, will never let her vanish or be forgotten. As the sky is present every single day and night, to write her name on it would reinsure that she will never be forgotten.


2.6 Rhythmic analysis

,One Day I Wrote Her Name Upon the Strand‘ is characterized as a sonnet.

A sonnet is a form of a poem that originated in Europe, mainly in Italy. Commonly a sonnet contains 14 lines and follows a strict rhyme scheme and specific structure. The most common sonnet is an English sonnet also known as Shakespearean sonnet. In this specific sonnet the meter is, with only a rare exception, iambic pentameter and the used rhyme scheme is rhymed a-b-a-.....[read full text]

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