Amoretti: Sonnet 80 ("After so long a race as I have run") Edmund Spenser (1595) Like Sonnet 33, Sonnet 80, which is often featured in critiques of Amoretti that highlight its poetic achievement, contains direct references to Edmund Spenser's ongoing project in honor of Queen Elizabeth I,—that is, The Faerie Queen. He opens the sonnet by referring to the "long race"—the narrator's pursuit of his elusive Lady. However, Sonnet 80 mostly references the many years the author has spent on what was to become his magnum opus. The first three of a projected 12 books of The Faerie Queene were published in 1590 to great acclaim. In this context, in Sonnet 80 Spenser announces the completion of a total of six books. He then ends the sonnet by identifying the whole sonnet sequence as "handmayd" of the Faerie Queene, citing the book by name. (The edition including books 1-6 was published the next year, 1596). It is only with the third quatrain that Spenser readdresses the matter at hand, having also somewhat trivialized it as "pleasant mew," a form of leisurely entertainment to give him a break from the longer work.
Acknowledging the multiple narrative paths in this sonnet, critics have praised spenser's mastery in simultaneously referring to his other work; alluding to the fact that his Lady and his Queene are both named Elizabeth; and noting that, at least in the sense of her minor nobility, his Elizabeth is a handmaid to Queen Elizabeth just as this Amoretti is a sort of handmaid to The Faerie Queene, a minor work in which he hones his poetic skills. He simultaneously elevates his Lady by intimating that association with her will help him to "gather to myself new breath awhile" in order to complete his other, more momentous poetic work. she thus becomes the minor muse and inspiration of this piece, which allows him to later do justice to Queen Elizabeth.
Others have extended this interpretation to claims of a metapoetic intent for the entire sequence to be a demonstration on the part of the poet, spenser, of his versatility and accomplishment. sonnet 80 reveals the whole to be part of a career path to the status of poet laureate that he charts for himself, a way of claiming aesthetic ground that will grant him a measure of nobility he can never attain on the basis of birth or social station. This minor work advertises the major one, in anticipation of its completion and its success. Regardless of the autobiographical, aesthetic, or social frame given its intertextual references, this sonnet projects a meaning that breaks the love-story narrative of the whole sequence, making it stand as both triumph and symptom of the poet's work.
See also Amoretti (overview).
AMPLIFICATION Amplification is the deliberate repetition of words or phrases in a poem in order to create a mood, indicate emphasis, or heighten tension. Unlike anaphora, amplification may be accomplished through the use of synonyms. An excellent example can be found in Surrey's "Set me whereas the sonne
DOTH PERCHE THE GRENE."
See also Surrey, Henry Howard, earl of.
ANAGOGY This is a poetic technique wherein scriptural exegesis or other mystical interpretive tools are used to demonstrate allusions to or connections with heaven or the afterlife.
ANAPHORA Anaphora is a poetic device in which successive lines begin with the same word or phrase. Though similar to amplification, anaphora insists on the exact same phrasing, not simply synonyms.
ANDREAS CAPELLANUS (ANDRÉ THE CHAPLAIN) (late 12 th century) Andreas Capel-lanus is the author of one of the most influential medieval works, The Art of Courtly Love. Little is known about Andreas's life. He resided at the court of Count Henry of champagne, in Troyes (northwestern France), during the second half of the 12th century. He was most likely chaplain to Henry's wife, countess Marie, daughter of Eleanor of Aquitaine.
See also courtly love, lovesickness.
Cherchi, Paolo. Andreas and the Ambiguity of Courtly Love.
Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1994.
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