The Elizabethan Age and Edmund Spencer: Queen Elizabeth Ruled is Also Called

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  • Introduction to Elizabethan age

  • Important writers of Elizabethan age

  • Introduction to Edmund Spencer

  • Life and works of Edmund Spencer

  • Spenserian Stanza

  • Questions

Queen Elizabeth Ruled is Also Called

  • Period of Renaissance

  • Golden age in the history of England

  • Shakespearean Age (Modern English)

Queen Elizabeth ruled is also called

Queen Elizabeth Ruled is Also Called

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Edmund Spenser (1552-1599)

  • Charles Lamb calls Edmund Spenser ‘the Poet’s Poet’

  • all the Elizabethans recognized him as ‘the Prince of Poets’

  • Born in East Smithfield, London to John Spenser, a cloth maker

  • Educated at Merchant Taylor’s School and at Pembroke Hall college, Cambridge.

  • Received his B.A degree in 1573 and M.A in 1576.

  • Became secretary to John Young, Bishop of Rochester in 1578.

The Shepheard’s Calendar

  • Spenser published his first poetic work, The Shepheard’s Calendar in 1579 at Kent.

  • Dedicated The Shepheard’s Calendar to Sir Philip Sidney.

  • Published The Shepheard’s Calendar anonymously under the Pseudonym “Immerit” meaning unworthy.

  • The Shepheard’s Calendar was modelled on Theocritus Idylls and classical poet Virgil’s Eclogues.

  • The Shepheard’s Calendar consists of 12 eclogues, one for each month which is sung by various shepherds.

  • The Shepheard’s Calendar expresses regret for a lost golden age.

The Faerie Queen

  • The first 3 books of The Faerie Queen was published in 1590.

  • The 6 books of The Faerie Queen were published together in 1596.

  • Only 6 books out of the 12 books planned were completed.

  • Considered to be the first major poem to be written in Spenserian Stanza.

The title of the Six Books of The Faerie Queen are:

  • Book - 1, Red Crosse Knight (Holiness)

  • Book - 2, Guyon (Temperance)

  • Book - 3, Britomart (Chastity)

  • Book - 4, Triamond and Campbell (Friendship)

  • Book - 5, Art gall (Justice)

  • Book - 6, Calidore (Courtesy)

Published a volume of 9 poems titled Complaints in 1591.

  • He published Daphnaida (1591), an elegy on the death of Lady Howard.

  • He published Amoretti and Epithalamion in 1595.

  • Amoretti is a sonnet sequence of 89 sonnets followed by 4 lyrics written

  • about his courtship with Elizabeth Boyle over a period of 2 years.


  • Published Prothalamion in 1596.

  • The word Prothalamion was invented by Spenser meaning “Spousal Verse”.

  • Prothalamion consists of 10 Stanzas modelled on Italian Canzoni.

Spenserian Stanza

  • He invented Spenserian Stanza; 8 lines of Iambic pentameter followed by an Alexandrine (iambic hexameter).

  • Rhyme Scheme of Spenserian Stanza - ababbcbcc.

  • Spenserian Sonnet - Interlocked quatrains, rhyme scheme: abab, bcbc, cdcd, ee.