Verse > Anthologies > William Stanley Braithwaite, ed. > The Book of Elizabethan Verse
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William Stanley Braithwaite, ed.  The Book of Elizabethan Verse.  1907.
 
To His Book
By Edmund Spenser (1552?–1599)
 
HAPPY 1 ye leaves when as those lily hands,
Which hold my life in their dead-doing might,
Shall handle you, and hold in love’s soft bands,
Like captives trembling at the victor’s sight:
And happy lines, on which with starry light        5
Those lamping eyes will deign sometimes to look
And read the sorrows of my dying sprite,
Written with tears in heart’s close bleeding book:
And happy rhymes, bathed in the sacred brook
Of Helicon, whence she derivèd is, 2        10
When ye behold that angel’s blessèd look,
My soul’s long lackèd food, my heaven’s bliss:
Leaves, lines, and rhymes, seek her to please alone,
Whom if ye please, I care for other none.
 
Note 1. This is the opening sonnet of the Amoretti, 1595. These sonnets furnish us with a circumstantial and interesting account of Spenser’s second courtship, which, after many repulses, was successfully terminated by the marriage celebrated in the Epithalamium. (See No. 392.) [back]
Note 2. Of Helicon whence she derivèd is: Dr. Grosart explains this obscure passage by the suggestion that the allusion is to the name (Elizabeth) of Spenser’s wife. (See note to No. 538.) In sonnet xxxix. of the Amoretti reference is made to My Helice, which would seem to confirm this idea (Helice—Elise?). [back]
 
 
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