One Day I wrote Her Name Critical Analysis | One Day I Wrote Her Name Poem Analysis

One Day I wrote Her Name… , this is A sonnet Lxxv (75) in spenser’s sequence entitled ‘Amoretti’, a collection of eighty eight sonnets published in an Octavo volume in 1595 , though it may have been composed anytime between 1592 to 1594. 

The ‘Amoretti‘ series of sonnets, records spenser’s courtship of Elizabeth Boyle, his future wife, and his choice of title, ‘Amoretti‘, drawn from contemporary Italian rather than to the persons involved in the courtship. 

       ‘Amoretti‘ is a word may simply mean ‘little love offerings ‘or ‘love tokens’. 

Form of the poem One Day I Wrote Her Name-

   This sonnet One Day I Wrote Her Name is a typical Spenserian in structural form. First eight line is called ‘octave‘ and last six line is called ‘Sestet‘. 

Meter -Iambic pentameter is used in this poem One Day I wrote Her Name

Rhyme Schme-The first eight lines(octave) of the sonnet “One Day I wrote her name” follows the ab, ab, bc, bc. And then the last six lines followed by a sestet rhyming cd,cd. ee.

And the rhythm which is used in this poem is ‘da-dam’, ‘da -dam‘ but in the word “vain -man” here ‘dam-dam’ is used insted of ‘da-dam’ and the rhythm ‘dam-dam‘ is called Spondy.

One Day I wrote Her Name Critical Analysis
One Day I wrote Her Name

Stanza pattern– Like others poem , in this sonnet have three quatrains and one couplet. This sonnet follow  typical Spenserian format.

   So a  organic unity or structural unity has in Edmund Spenser ‘s sonnet One Day I Wrote Her Name and the unity is only used in Spenser’s sonnet. 

Setting of the poem – The setting of the sonnet One Day I Wrote Her Name is romantic.

Mood of the poem-The mood of the sonnet One Day I Wrote Her Name is also romantic and initially narrative. 

Speaker of the poem-The speaker of the sonnet One Day I Wrote Her Name is the poet-lover.

Opening of the Sonnet– The sonnet One Day I Wrote Her Name opens with narrative feelings in the line ‘ One day I wrote her name upon the strand‘.

One Day I Wrote Her Name Poem Analysis Line By Line

“One day I wrote her name upon the strand, 

But came the waves and washed it away :

Again I wrote it with a second hand, 

But came the tide, and made my pains his prey”.

   —   Explain this lines based on Edmund Spenser’s sonnet ” One Day I Wrote Her Name “.

     These lines have been taken from Edmund Spenser’s sonnet Lxxv from his sonnet sequence entitled ‘Amoretti‘. 

    The poet describes how his attempt to write his beloved’s name on the sandy beach failed repeatedly because of the waves. 

      The poet says that one day he wrote his beloved’s name on the sandy shore but was soon erased by the waves. And though he wrote her name again for a second time, the tide came and thus turned all his efforts into futile romantic pursuits. 

     This separation lines are deceptively simple because behind the simplicity of these lines lies the saga of a human being’s great struggle against the tide of time. The poet ‘s romantic attempt to write his Love’s name on the sandy surface of the beach becomes then a mere poetic narration, a lover’s leisure for those letters, in fact, in reality be identified with his lady in person and who will be ‘washed away’ by the inescapable tide of the time sometime in future. 

    This, in the allegorical level, these lines become a moving picture of the constant strife ensuing between poetic idealism, and romanticism, against the onslaught of time and realism


“Vain man “, said she, ” that dost in vain assay, 
A mortal thing so to immortalize;
For I myself shall like to this decay, 
And eke my name be wiped out likewise “.

 —- Explain this lines based on Edmund Spenser’s  poem One Day I wrote Her Name. 

                  These lines have extracted from Edmund Spenser’s sonnet Lxxv that appears in his sequence called ‘Amoretti‘. 

    The poet’s beloved playfully chides him for his vain attempts to write and retain her name name on the sands. She calls him a headstrong, foolish man who essays in vain to make a mortal thing, such as she is, immortal. The lady affirms that she too will decay just as her name gets washed away each time the lover writes. 

    It is a rare composition in which the beloved has been invested with her own voice and an independent mind. Though the conventional deification of the ladylove is not prominently discernible in these lines, these lines fullfil the need of a strong reason which, when ruled out by the lover-poet’s argument, will make the sonnet more appealing and strong.

  The harsh diction of reality is emunciated through the lady’s simple sense and simple words that bear out the grim law of reality and mortality. 

“Not so , ” (quod I) let baser things devise
To die in dust, but you shall live by fame ;
My verse your virtues rare shall eternize , 
And in the heavens write your glorious name :
Where whenas Death shall all the world subdue, 
Our love shall live, and later life renew”.

—– Explain this lines based on Edmund Spenser’s sonnet “One Day I wrote Her Name”.

           In these lines poet counterpoises his lady’s realist arguments with his highly idealist thoughts and assures her eternal life through his verse. 

    The poet does not acquiesce in his lady’s perspective of utmost morality. And he argues that only baser things- referring here to the physical elements– can perish into dust. He affirms that she herself will remain popular forever through his verse that he will write her glorious name in heaven. While the word itself may be overpowered by the relentless time, their love will live forever being empowered through his immortal verse. 

     A curious question that arises is if this sonnet of Spenser wills to praise his and his beloved lady’s mutual faith and adoration, or this verse itself. 

     One solution would be to think of it in terms of being an inter-dependent matter which exists because it was inspired by the lady, and she herself lives through it. 

   Nonetheless, the theme of immortality through verse is not Spenser’s original and can be found in Horace’s Ode,  ‘Exegi monumentum aere perennius‘, 

   The concluding couplet necessarily talks about their mutual love, and as in Donne or other ‘metaphysical ‘ giants, a greater part of the Shakespearean corpus besides, it is “mutual ” Love that can generate enough power to raise the basest human being to a higher spiritual level. 

   The poet’s creation itself becomes a product of such regenerative love which is immortal. 

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