One Day I wrote Her Name Poem Summary | One day I wrote her name upon the strand

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.

  In the 16th century, another sonnet form was devised by Edmund Spenser. He discovered that the shakespearean sonnet lack a structural unity or coherence, because all the quatrains are not related to one another. Instead each quatrains forms its own rhyme scheme. Thus spenser’s evollved a new variety; abab, bcbc,cdcd, ee. Here each of the quatrains is linked up with the other. 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‘.

One Day I wrote Her Name Poem Summary

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

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

One Day I wrote Her Name Poem Summary
One day I wrote her name

      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.  

    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. 

    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. 

More Poem Question :

Leave a Comment