Edmund Spenser

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What is the summary and critical analysis of Edmund Spenser's "Amoretti 67"?

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Amoretti was a sonnet cycle written in the sixteenth century by Edmund Spenser. Sonnet 67, "Like as a huntsman after weary chase," is written in the form of an English or Shakespearean sonnet, consisting of four open quatrains followed by a couplet, often with the rhyme scheme ABAB CDCD EFEF GG. The lines are written in iambic pentameter, albeit with several substitutions, such as the initial trochaic substitution in the second line.

The poem is written in first person. It is an extended simile, comparing the lover to a hunter and the beloved to a doe. The poet compares the lover to a hunter pursuing a doe unsuccessfully. When the lover/ hunter sits down to rest, tired from the extended chase, the doe returns to drink at a brook.

This suggests that perhaps in love, aggressive pursuit is not the only successful technique; instead, the beloved needs to consent of her own free will, as we see in the following lines, which describe how the the doe/ beloved

Sought not to fly, but fearless still did bide:

Till I in hand her yet half-trembling took,

And with her own goodwill here firmly tied.

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  • The Amoretti, by Sir Edmund Spender, is a series of sequential sonnets.  "Sonnet 67" picks up where "Sonnet 66" leaves off.
  • Whereas most of Petrarch's sonnets end with death or unfulfillment, Spencer's sonnets in the Amoretti end with union.
  • Here, in this bestiary sonnet, love is seen as a hunt, and the hunted has her own motives and desires, as she can be beguiling during the chase and then meek and gentle during the return.
  • Like many sonnets, Spencer juxtaposes attitudes about his subject, presenting her problem (the chase: playing hard to get) in the octet and offering a solution (physical or emotional union, marriage) in the sestet.
  • Man and beast, love and lover, male and female play a game of courtship: both relish in the chase and then, when tired, gives in to being led meekly away, presumably to marriage or the bed and, not, using the hunting metaphor, toward death.

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