Shakespeare's Sonnets Questions and Answers
by William Shakespeare

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Compare and contrast the themes of Edmund Spenser's "One day I wrote her name" to William Shakespeare's Sonnet 18.

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Both of these poems share the same central concern and preoccupation: to immortalise the beloved of the speaker through verse. Both poems recognise that death and time render beauty and love temporary. In Sonnet 18, for example, trying to find a comparison for his beloved's beauty is impossible, because even the beauty of a "summer's day" is subject to change and the capricious whims of the weather. In the same way, the attempts of the speaker in "One day I wrote her name" to immortalise his love for his beloved is prevented by the sea that seeks to destroy any record of his love. However, in both cases, the speaker concludes the poem by stating that the very nature of commemorating their love in the form of verse guarantees immortality for that love. Spenser for example writes:

My verse your vertues rare shall eternize,
And in the heavens write your glorious name:
Where whenas death shall all the world subdue,
Our love shall live, and later life renew.
 
This of course compares to the...

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