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Analysis Edmund Spenser's Amoretti: Sonnet 15

Analysis of Edmund Spenser's Amoretti #15


Edmund Spenser's Amoretti contains 89 sonnets that he wrote about his courtship with Elizabeth Boyle. He follows Amoretti with Epithalamion (wedding song), which we wrote about his wedding with Elizabeth. Sonnet 15 is an example of blazon sonnet. Blazon is when there is a series of comparisons or depictions that catalogue a lady's body parts. In this sonnet, Spenser spends a great deal of time describe the beautiful features of his beloved; to him she is the greatest treasure ever
discovered, and wonders why merchants travel so far to find beautiful objects when there is the most beautiful treasure close by. He describes her body in an ogling manner, and even seems to invite others to leer at her almost as if to say 'look at the beautiful creature that I have and you don't.' It sort of comes off a little juvenile. In the end of the sonnet, he says that the most precious part of her is her mind; he values her mind above all else because of her virtues. It is the one thing that few people will ever get to see, which makes it the most coveted.

You merchants exhaust yourselves seeking out beautiful treasures, pillaging the East and West Indies to increase your wealth. Why do you to venture so far when you are unsuccessful?

My beloved contains within herself all of the riches of the world. If you want sapphires look no further than her eyes, which are perfect sapphires. If you want rubies, then look upon her lips, which are flawless rubies.

If you are looking for pearls then look upon her teeth, which are pure and round. If you want ivory then look at her forehead, which is the most beautiful ivory. If you want gold then look upon her hair, which is the finest gold on Earth. If silver is what you are after then look at her silver hands shine brightly.

However, the fairest thing about her is only seen by a few. Her mind is enhanced with her many virtues.


Sources


Spenser, Edmund. "Amoretti: Sonnet #15." The Norton Anthology of Poetry. 5th ed. Ed. Margaret Ferguson. New York: Norton, 2005. 139-40.

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