Edmund Spenser

[One day I wrote her name upon the strand] (1595)

 

 

One day I wrote her name upon the strand,

 

But came the waves and washed it away:

 

Again I wrote it with a second hand,

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But came the tide, and made my pains his prey.

 

“Vain man,” said she, “that dost in vain assay

 

A mortal thing so to immortalize,

 

For I myself shall like to this decay,

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And eek my name be wiped out likewise.”

 

“Not so,” quod I, “let baser things devise

 

To die in dust, but you shall live by fame:

 

My verse your virtues rare shall eternize,

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And in the heavens write your glorious name;

 

Where whenas death shall all the world subdue,

 

Our love shall live, and later life renew.”