Homework Help

Write a critical note and summary of Sonnet 68 of the Amoretti cycle, "Most glorious...

user profile pic

kareemoo | Student, Undergraduate | Valedictorian

Posted December 14, 2011 at 12:49 AM via web

dislike 1 like

Write a critical note and summary of Sonnet 68 of the Amoretti cycle, "Most glorious Lord of life,"  by Edmund Spenser.

1 Answer | Add Yours

user profile pic

Karen P.L. Hardison | College Teacher | eNotes Employee

Posted December 14, 2011 at 4:58 AM (Answer #1)

dislike 1 like

Spenser's sonnets in his Amoretti sonnet cycle reveal a complexity that foretells that of the then upcoming Epithelamion. Spenser accomplished (at least) two ends with his Amoretti: (1) he chronicled his difficult courtship of Elizabeth Boyle and (2) he gave a sonneteer's representation of the Anglican daily liturgy as laid out in the Book of Common Prayer. Any analysis of Amoretti 68 has to include consideration of both aspects.

Briefly, the three quatrains celebrate the religious events of Easter day, as it aligns with the liturgical calendar--the marking of time--that demarcates Easter Sunday. The third quatrain, following the second volta (turn), celebrates the love that Easter promises, teaches, and embodies. The ending rhyming couplet invites Elizabeth as "dear love" to practice the lesson of love as taught by the Lord on Easter Day and to love Spenser, "Let us love," thus making his courtship successful.

Critically, Amoretti 68 employs the double volta, lines 5 and 9, contrary to Petrarch's single line 9 volta, thus allowing for two changes of subject under the sonnet topic of the "most glorious Lord ... on this day." The couplet of lines 13 and 14 offers the resolution to the 3 quatrains by beseeching application of the lessons of the sonnet. After the first quatrain (lines 1-4) celebration of the Lord's "triumph over death and sin," the second quatrain turns at line 5 to beseeching "felicity" for those "for whom [the Lord] diddest die." The second turn into the third quatrain at line 9 introduces the lesson of love and beseeches that love be the gift of person to person just as love was the gift from the Lord to each: "With love may one another entertain."

The rhyme scheme is the Spenserian sonnet scheme of ababbcbccdcd ee with concatenation (linking) at lines 4/5 and 7/8--where the voltas come in. The meter is iambic pentameter with some elision of syllables to compress the sounds in a given foot, as in "glor'-i-ous" elided to "glori'us" in line 1:

Most glor' / i_ous Lord' / of life,' / that on' / this day,'

Sources:

Join to answer this question

Join a community of thousands of dedicated teachers and students.

Join eNotes