Download PDF PDF Page Citation Cite Share Link Share

Last Updated September 5, 2023.

Behold whiles she before the altar stands

Hearing the holy priest that to her speakes

And blesseth her with his two happy hands,

How the red roses flush up in her cheekes

Having waited impatiently since midnight, the groom is pleased to see his bride at the altar and to proceed with the wedding ceremony conducted by the "holy priest." Spenser is famous for his vivid imagery, which involves description using the five senses. In this verse, we can see the happy "red roses flush" his beloved's cheeks as the two are wed.

Now al is done; bring home the bride againe,

Bring home the triumph of our victory ...

Spenser weaves many classical allusions into this poem. In "triumphs," ancient Romans would display their spoils of war in parades throughout Rome. Here, Spenser’s speaker expresses his sense of victory and joy in having wedded his bride by describing her as a hard-won possession, implicitly likening love to warfare and marriage to a conquest. This imagery might make us uncomfortable today, as it implies ownership of the bride.

Ah when will this long weary day have end,

And lende me leave to come unto my love?

With the wedding over, the bridegroom now turns his thoughts to consummating his marriage. He is impatient with the festivities, wanting to be alone with his wife.

And in her bed her lay;

Lay her in lillies and in violets,

And silken courteins over her display,

And odourd sheetes, and Arras coverlets.

Behold how goodly my faire love does ly

In proud humility

Above is an example of Spenser's use of rich, sensuous imagery as the groom imagines his wife in her wedding bed amid flowers, silk curtains, and scented sheets.

Poure out your blessing on us plentiously,

And happy influence upon us raine,

That we may raise a large posterity

The marriage consummated, the poet asks for blessings and a large family.

See eNotes Ad-Free

Start your 48-hour free trial to get access to more than 30,000 additional guides and more than 350,000 Homework Help questions answered by our experts.

Get 48 Hours Free Access