Epithalamion Quotes
by Edmund Spenser

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Quotes

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 waiting 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 is 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 through Rome. Here, Spenser expresses his sense of victory and joy in having wedded Elizabeth 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?
The wedding over, the bride groom 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 [curtains] 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.