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

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.

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