What similar poetic devices appear both in Edmund Spenser's Amoretti 75 and in Shakespeare's sonnet 116?

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Sonnet 75 from Edmund Spenser’s Amoretti sequence and sonnet 116 from Shakespeare’s collection of sonnets both use a number of similar literary devices.  Among those devices are the following:

  • Line one of sonnet 75 uses assonance, the repetition of similar vowel sounds; so does line 5 of Shakespeare’s sonnet:

One day I wrote her name upon the strand . . . .


O, no, it is an ever-fixed mark

  • Line 4 of Spenser’s sonnet uses alliteration, the repetition of consonant sounds (“made my paynes his prey”). So, too, does line 1 of Shakespeare’s poem “Let me not to the marriage of true minds . . . .”).
  • Line 4 of Spenser’s sonnet uses personification (“But came the tyde, and made my paynes his prey”). So, too, does line 9 of Shakespeare’s poem (“Love’s not Time’s fool”).
  • Lines 9-10 of Spenser’s sonnet use enjambment, in which the poet uses no punctuation at the end of a line and thus runs the sense of the phrasing smoothly into the next line:

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

To die in dust, but you shall live by fame . . . .”

Shakespeare uses this device frequently throughout his sonnet, as in lines 1-2:

Let me not to the marriage of true minds

Admit impediments . . . .

  • Both poems use imagery of nature to emphasize their points (as in lines 1-2 of Spenser’s sonnet and in lines 6 and 10 of Shakespeare’s poem).

Both poems celebrate true love (as opposed to selfish desire). Spenser’s is literally more dramatic, since both the male and the female speak; Shakespeare’s poem, on the other hand, presents simply the voice of the speaker himself.

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