Homework Help

I really need someone to explain the meaning of this sonnet by Edmund Spenser...Most...

user profile pic

hcps-didlakemc | Student, Undergraduate | eNotes Newbie

Posted January 6, 2010 at 9:57 AM via web

dislike 1 like

I really need someone to explain the meaning of this sonnet by Edmund Spenser...

Most glorious Lord of life, that on this day

Didst make thy triumph over death and sin,

And having harrowed hell, didst bring away

Captivity thence captive, us to win:

This joyous day, dear Lord, with joy begin,

And grant that we, for whom thou diddest die,

Being with thy dear blood clean washed from sin,

May live forever in felicity:

And that thy love we weighing worthily,

May likewise love thee for the same again;

And for thy sake, that all like dear didst buy,

May love with one another entertain.

So let us love, dear love, like as we ought,

Love is the lesson which the Lord us taught.

3 Answers | Add Yours

Top Answer

user profile pic

pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted January 6, 2010 at 10:07 AM (Answer #1)

dislike 1 like

The occasion of this poem is Easter -- they day when Christians say that God redeemed the sin of the world.  The overall theme of this sonnet is love, specifically God's love.  The speaker is asking God to teach him or allow him to love in the way God wants him to.

The first four lines address God and say what he did -- he defied Hell to bring human beings out of damnation, triumphing over death and sin.

The next four ask God to allow us to live forever in happiness.  It notes that God (Jesus) died for us, to wash our sins and allow us to live forever.

The next four ask God that we people will be able to love each other in the way that God loved us.

And the couplet repeats this -- let us love in the right way, this is God's lesson.

 

user profile pic

marbar57 | Elementary School Teacher | (Level 3) Associate Educator

Posted January 6, 2010 at 1:59 PM (Answer #2)

dislike 1 like

The meaning is simple.  The author is simply telling us how Jesus Christ atoned for our sins by giving his life upon the cross and shedding his blood for our sakes.  If you are a Christian and student of the Bible, you have surely read the following, "For God so loved the world that He gave his only begotten son."  and to quote another famous verse, "No greater love hath a man than that he lay down his life for another."

It takes a courage of the purest, most noble kind, to want to die for someone else.  And, even more than that, is to want to live for someone else!  The Saviour died for us and he also lived and lives for us.  We show our love and gratitude to Him by following Him and keeping the commandments of His father, whom he loved as much as The Father loved him!

The Saviour bought us with his blood and is asking us to prove ourselves by good works, faith on Him, and living our religion, whatever it be.

user profile pic

coachingcorner | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Senior Educator

Posted January 6, 2010 at 7:10 PM (Answer #3)

dislike 1 like

In this sonnet by Edmund Spenser the poet is asking for something very simple - happiness. It is a generous request because he does not just ask for happiness for himself, but for all mankind. The mood of the poem is joyful, even exultant or ecstatic, probably partly due to the fact that it is about Easter. In olden times, there was no central heating for homes, people had just been through the dark, feezing, post-Christmas anti-climactic depressing times of Lent. To make matters worse, Lent itself was a time of self-punishment - of going without good things ( such as meat, colorful ornament and diversion, music,dancing etc) so Easter literally was a time of illumination, redemption and celebration of all the good things in life - and Christ's resurrection was a prime part of that. No wonder the poet was feeling liberated and full of the joys of spring - thankful to Our Lord for his sacrifice in giving his life to redeem us from the darkness and misery of sin and wishing for all the world to share the happiness with him.

Join to answer this question

Join a community of thousands of dedicated teachers and students.

Join eNotes