Edmund Spenser’s poem: Amoretti: Sonnet 81

Fayre is my love, when her fayre golden heares,

with the loose wynd ye waving chance to marke;

fayre when the rose in her red cheekes appeares,

or in her eyes the fyre of love does sparke.

Fayre when her brest lyke a rich laden barke,

with pretious merchandize she forth doth lay;

fayre when that cloud of pryde, which oft doth dark

her goodly light with smiles she drives away.

But fayrest she, when so she doth display,

the gate with pearles and rubyes richly dight;

through which her words to wise do make their way

to beare the message of-her gentle spright.

The rest be works of natures wonderment,

but this the worke of harts astonishment.

 

Translation (straight)

Fair is my love, when her fair golden hairs
with the loose wind the waving chance to mark:
fair when the rose in her red cheeks appears,
or in her eyes the fire of love does spark.

Fair when her breast like a rich laden bark
with precious merchandise she forth doth lay:
fair when that cloud of pride, which oft doth dark
her goodly light, with smiles she drives away.

But fairest she, when so she doth display
the gate with pearls and rubies richly dight
through which her words so wise do make their way
to bear the message of her gentle spright.

The rest be works of nature’s wonderment,
but this the work of heart’s astonishment.

 

Interpretation

Spenser adores this female, and he describes her in a respectful and admiring way.

He speaks of how her gentle touch can whipe away his anger and his pride. He speaks of the gate being open. He speaks of the women opening herself up to receive a gift. Here, I think THE GATE refers to her mouth. When she speaks up, she’s the prettiest. She is knowledgeable and kind.

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