Verse > Anthologies > Hunt and Lee, eds. > The Book of the Sonnet
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Hunt and Lee, comps.  The Book of the Sonnet.  1867.
 
II. To One Who Objected to Pride in His Mistress
By Edmund Spenser (1552?–1599)
 
RUDELY thou wrongest my dear heart’s desire,
In finding fault with her too portly pride.
The thing which I do most in her admire
Is of the world unworthy most envìde:
For in those lofty looks is close implied        5
Scorn of base things, and ’sdain of foul dishonor;
Threatening rash eyes which gaze on her so wide,
That loosely they ne dare to look upon her.
Such pride is praise; such portliness is honor,
That boldened innocence bears in her eyes;        10
And her fair countenance, like a goodly banner,
Spreads in defiance of all enemies.
  Was never in this world aught worthy tried,
  Without some spark of such self-pleasing pride. 1
 
Note 1. This sonnet, saving the repeated i’s in the rhymes, is good; but I must beg leave not to like the woman. Why should she be always defying what nobody, most likely, intended? Something however is to be said for her, if she was the same person—as she is believed to have been—whom the poet describes as being of humble origin, and whom he subsequently married. [back]
 
 
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