Published in  , it is a nuptial song that he composed that year on the occasion of the twin marriage of the daughters of the Earl of Worcester , Elizabeth Somerset and Katherine Somerset, to Henry Guildford and William Petre, 2nd Baron Petre respectively. Prothalamion is written in the conventional form of a marriage song. The poem begins with a description of the River Thames where Spenser finds two beautiful maidens. The poet proceeds to praise them and wishing them all the blessings for their marriages. The poem begins with a fine description of the day when on which he is writing the poem: Calm was the day and through the trembling air The sweet breathing Zephyrus did softly play. The poet is standing near the Thames River and finds a group of nymphs with baskets collecting flowers for the new brides.
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With that, I saw two swans of goodly hue Come softly swimming down along the Lee; Two fairer birds I yet did never see.
The snow which doth the top of Pindus strew, Did never whiter shew, Nor Jove himself, when he a swan would be For love of Leda, whiter did appear: Yet Leda was they say as white as he, Yet not so white as these, nor nothing near. Eftsoons the nymphs, which now had flowers their fill, Ran all in haste, to see that silver brood, As they came floating on the crystal flood. Whom when they saw, they stood amazed still, Their wondering eyes to fill.
Two of those nymphs meanwhile, two garlands bound, Of freshest flowers which in that mead they found, The which presenting all in trim array, Their snowy foreheads therewithal they crowned, Whilst one did sing this lay, Prepared against that day, Against their bridal day, which was not long: Sweet Thames, run softly, till I end my song. Let endless peace your steadfast hearts accord, And blessed plenty wait upon your board, And let your bed with pleasures chaste abound, That fruitful issue may to you afford, Which may your foes confound, And make your joys redound Upon your bridal day, which is not long: Sweet Thames, run softly, till I end my song.
And gentle echo from the neighbour ground Their accents did resound. So forth those joyous birds did pass along, Adown the Lee, that to them murmured low, As he would speak, but that he lacked a tongue, Yet did by signs his glad affection show, Making his stream run slow. And all the fowl which in his flood did dwell Gan flock about these twain, that did excel The rest so far as Cynthia doth shend The lesser stars. So they, enranged well, Did on those two attend, And their best service lend, Against their wedding day, which was not long: Sweet Thames, run softly, till I end my song.
But ah, here fits not well Old woes but joys to tell Against the bridal day, which is not long: Sweet Thames, run softly, till I end my song. Above the rest were goodly to be seen Two gentle knights of lovely face and feature Beseeming well the bower of any queen, With gifts of wit and ornaments of nature, Fit for so goodly stature; That like the twins of Jove they seemed in sight, Which deck the baldric of the heavens bright.
Prothalamion summary Prothalamion, a spousal verse by Edmund Spenser is one of the loveliest wedding odes. Conversely, on comparison with Epithalamion, the verse is considered less realistic and unappealing. Spenser incorporates classical imagery strongly with a beautiful atmosphere in the poem. The emphasis of renaissance on Prothalamion brings a tinge of mythological figures like Venus, Cynthia and Titan. Stanza 1: The poet walks along the banks of River Thames to forget the worries of his personal life.
Life[ edit ] Edmund Spenser was born in East Smithfield, London, around the year , though there is still some ambiguity as to the exact date of his birth. His parenthood is obscure, but he was probably the son of John Spenser, a journeyman clothmaker. In , he became for a short time secretary to John Young , Bishop of Rochester. Raleigh acquired other nearby Munster estates confiscated in the Second Desmond Rebellion. Some time between and , Spenser acquired his main estate at Kilcolman, near Doneraile in North Cork. Its ruins are still visible today. Local legend has it that he penned some of The Faerie Queene under this tree.
Ye learned sisters which have oftentimes Beene to me ayding, others to adorne: Whom ye thought worthy of your gracefull rymes, That even the greatest did not greatly scorne To heare theyr names sung in your simple layes, But joyed in theyr prayse. And when ye list your owne mishaps to mourne, Which death, or love, or fortunes wreck did rayse, Your string could soone to sadder tenor turne, And teach the woods and waters to lament Your dolefull dreriment. Now lay those sorrowfull complaints aside, And having all your heads with girland crownd, Helpe me mine owne loves prayses to resound, Ne let the same of any be envide: So Orpheus did for his owne bride, So I unto my selfe alone will sing, The woods shall to me answer and my Eccho ring. Early before the worlds light giving lampe, His golden beame upon the hils doth spred, Having disperst the nights unchearefull dampe, Doe ye awake, and with fresh lusty hed, Go to the bowre of my beloved love, My truest turtle dove, Bid her awake; for Hymen is awake, And long since ready forth his maske to move, With his bright Tead that flames with many a flake, And many a bachelor to waite on him, In theyr fresh garments trim.