Quotations by Spenser, Edmund


Death slue not him, but he made death his ladder to the skies.

Edmund Spenser (c. 1552-1599) English poet
“An Epitaph upon Philip Sydney”, line 20
Added on 14-Sep-12 | Last updated 14-Sep-12
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I was promised on a time
To have reason for my rhyme;
From that time unto this season,
I received nor rhyme nor reason.

Edmund Spenser (c. 1552-1599) English poet
“Lines on His Promised Pension”
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Added on 1-Jun-20 | Last updated 1-Jun-20
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And as she looked about, she did behold
How over that same door was likewise writ,
Be bold, be bold, and everywhere Be bold,
That much she mused, yet could not construe it
By any riddling skill or common wit.
At last she spied at that room’s upper end
Another iron door, on which was writ,
Be not too bold.

Edmund Spenser (c. 1552-1599) English poet
The Faerie Queen, Book 3, Canto 11, st. 54 (1590-96)
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Added on 14-Apr-20 | Last updated 14-Apr-20
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Is not short paine well borne, that brings long ease,
And layes the soule to sleepe in quiet grave?
Sleepe after toyle, port after stormie seas,
Ease after warre, death after life, does greatly please.

Edmund Spenser (c. 1552-1599) English poet
The Faerie Queene, Book 1, Canto 9, st. 40 (1589-96)
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Added on 6-Jul-20 | Last updated 6-Jul-20
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Dearer is love than life, and fame than gold;
But dearer than them both, your faith once plighted hold.

Edmund Spenser (c. 1552-1599) English poet
The Faerie Queene, Book 5, Canto 11, st. 63 (1589-96)
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Added on 27-Jul-20 | Last updated 27-Jul-20
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O sacred hunger of ambitious minds
And impotent desire of men to reign,
Whom neither dread of God, that devils bindes,
Nor lawes of men, that commonweales containe,
Nor bands of nature, that wilde beastes restraine,
Can keepe from outrage and from doing wrong,
Where they may hope a kingdome to obtaine.
No faith so firme, no trust can be so strong,
No love so lasting then, that may endure long.

Edmund Spenser (c. 1552-1599) English poet
The Faerie Queene, Book 5, Canto 12, st. 1 (1589-96)
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Added on 3-Aug-20 | Last updated 3-Aug-20
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Ill can he rule the great, that cannot reach the small.

Edmund Spenser (c. 1552-1599) English poet
The Faerie Queene, Book 5, Canto 2, st. 43 (1589-96)
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Added on 22-Jun-20 | Last updated 22-Jun-20
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So oft as I with state of present time
The image of the antique world compare,
Whereas man’s age was in his freshest prime,
And the first blossom of faire vertue bare,
Such oddes I find twixt those and these which arc,
As that, through long continuance of his course,
Me seemes the world is runne quite out of square
From the first point of his appointed source;
And being once amiss, grows daily worse and worse: […]

For that which all men then did vertue call,
Is now cald vice; and that which vice was hight,
Is now hight vertue, and so us’d of all;
Right now is wrong, and wrong that was is right.

Edmund Spenser (c. 1552-1599) English poet
The Faerie Queene, Book 5, Proem, st. 1, 4 (1589-96)
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Added on 20-Jul-20 | Last updated 20-Jul-20
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But they that breake bands of civilitie,
And wicked customes make, those doe defame
Both noble armes and gentle curtesie.
No greater shame to man than inhumanitie.

Edmund Spenser (c. 1552-1599) English poet
The Faerie Queene, Book 6, Canto 1, st. 26 (1589-96)
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Added on 10-Aug-20 | Last updated 10-Aug-20
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For nothing is more blamefull to a Knight,
That court’sie doth as well as armes professe,
However strong and fortunate in fight,
Then the reproch of pride and cruelnesse:
In vain he seeketh others to suppresse,
Who hath not learned himself first to subdue:
All flesh is frayle and full of ficklenesse,
Subject to fortunes chance, still chaunging new;
What haps to-day to me to-morrow may to you.

Edmund Spenser (c. 1552-1599) English poet
The Faerie Queene, Book 6, canto 1, st. 41 (1590-96)
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Added on 15-Jun-20 | Last updated 15-Jun-20
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Who will not mercie unto others shew,
How can he mercy ever hope to have?

Edmund Spenser (c. 1552-1599) English poet
The Faerie Queene, Book 6, Canto 1, st. 42 (1589-96)
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See James 2:13.
Added on 8-Jun-20 | Last updated 8-Jun-20
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True is, that whilome that good poet sayd,
The gentle minde by gentle deeds is knowne:
For a man by nothing is so well bewrayd,
As by his manners.

Edmund Spenser (c. 1552-1599) English poet
The Faerie Queene, Book 6, Canto 3, st. 1 (1589-96)
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Spender is referencing Chaucer's "Wife of Bath's Tale" in the Canterbury Tales: "he is gentil that doth gentil dedis."
Added on 29-Jun-20 | Last updated 29-Jun-20
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For sure a foole I doe him firmely hold,
That loves his fetters, though they were of gold.

Edmund Spenser (c. 1552-1599) English poet
The Faerie Queene. Book 3, Canto 9, st. 8 (1589-96)
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Added on 13-Jul-20 | Last updated 13-Jul-20
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