Edmund Spenser: poetic work

Edmund Spencer, born probably in 1552 and died 1599, an acknowledged master in the poetic art and one of the greatest poets in English literature, planned to write a monumental poem that would present the total civilisation of his era, along the lines of the classical epics or Homer and Virgil, or the new poetry of Ariosto and Tasso (who were Italian writers). Instead of using the heroic tales from the classical world, however, he chose the Arthurian legends. This masterpiece was The Fearie Queene. It was meant to be twelve books, each divided into twelve cantos. In it King Arthur, depicted as an ideal Renaissance gentleman, sets out with twelve Knights to find the fairy queen for example Queen Elizabeth. The queen holds a festival that lasts twelve days, on each of which a knight accomplished some gallant deed: each knight symbolises one special virtue, and King Atthur sums up all of them. Of the twelve books which were meant to compose the poem only six were completed between 1590 and 1596. This allegory continues the tradition of the Middle Ages, but The Faerie Queene is also a rich example is a renaissance literary splendour and its wealth of decorative descriptions and the musical cadence is the stanzas give it a kind of dreamy charm. For his poem Spencer devised a nine-line stanza, rhyming abanbcbcc, which is known as the "Spensierian stanza". The first eight lines are in iambic hexameter. In his collection of sonnets, Amoretti, he celebrated the courtship of his future wife.

Even Sir Philip Sidney wrote both prose and poetry and is the author of Astrophel and Stella a collection of love sonnets in the Renaissance fashion.

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