Spenser: One Day I Wrote Her Name

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1. How did the poet try to immortalize the name of his beloved?
Ans. Spenser begins the sonnet No. 65 with a simple yet archetypal and obsessive and symbolic act on the part of a lover. One day in the presence of his beloved he wrote the name of his beloved on the sea-beach in the hope that he would be able to immortalize her name. But he very tragically found it being washed away by the waves. He tried for the second time. But in same way his second attempt was futile.
2. Why did the beloved rebuke the poet?
Ans: One day in the presence of his beloved he wrote the name of his beloved on the sea-beach in the hope that he would be able to immortalize her name. But he very tragically found it being washed away by the waves. He tried for the second time. But in same way his second attempt was futile. Seeing her name thus being repeatedly wiped out, the beloved reminded him that he was trying to immortalize a mortal thing, as like her name she would also one day be wiped out from this world. Unusually for a Renaissance lady, the beloved has been given a voice here, and she seems to understand the symbolic and archetypal significance of the waves leveling the sand. The evidence of the destructive properties of time available in the natural world has been grafted on to the context of the human world by the beloved.
3. How does the poet-lover answer the beloved’s questionings about his attempt at immortalizing her name?
Ans: The speaker starts with a belief of the renaissance alchemy that baser elements naturally perish in the dust. For him, however, “baser things” symbolize the earthly things subject to decay and death. What he seeks to immortalize is not the physical beauty of the beloved, but those spiritual qualities which provide the beloved with spiritual beauty. The poet is hopeful that his verses will be able to eternalise the memory of the spiritual beauty of the beloved and transfigure her into a heavenly being. Thus he will be successful in preserving her name even after the world is destroyed in the Apocalypse. The poet finally wants to use this kind of idealization as a way to preserving and immortalizing their love; for, in accordance with the Platonic belief, realization of the spiritual beauty of the beloved will lead them to the realization of the supreme beauty of God. He hopes further that this will help them to transcend their mundane existence and find a permanent place in the divine scheme of things.

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