Mythic Monday: Edmund Spenser’s The Faerie Queene




John Melhuish Strudwick [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Author – Edmund Spenser
First Published – 1590
Genre – Allegorical Epic Poem based on the legend of King Arthur and his knights. King Arthur symbolized the virtue of Magnificence. Book I – Holiness, Book II – Temperance, etc.
Setting – a mythical faerieland
Protagonist – the Redcrosse Knight, representing Holiness
Heroine – Lady Una 
Antagonist – evil wizard Archimago
Star of the Book – The Faery Queene Gloriana, who symbolized Queen Elizabeth I. On one level the poem is a political allegory extolling her virtues and those of the Tudor Reformation. Queen Elizabeth became Spenser’s patron.
Favorite Secondary Character – a tie among the villainess Duessa and several fascinating dragons
Fun Tidbit – Spenser used language that was archaic for his time. Today it is at times even more difficult to decipher—but well worth it!
Favorite Line – “Gather the Rose of love, whilest yet is time.” The line is from the section known as the Bower of Bliss, which occurs in Book II, the Temperance section.

Cheers & Happy Reading!
Flossie Benton Rogers, Conjuring the Magic with Paranormal Fantasy Romance

11 thoughts on “Mythic Monday: Edmund Spenser’s The Faerie Queene

  1. carmens007

    Yes, Spenser, one of the greatest writers of the Elizabethan period, hailed to be one of the chief initiators of the Renaissance movement in English literature. I studied him in University but only briefly. The main highlight was on Shakespeare.
    Thank you for reminding me about this beautiful allegoric poem!

  2. Mae Clair

    I admit I’ve never attempted to read this, but I imagine the language to be beautiful, even if difficult. A lovely topic for a Mythic Monday, Flossie!

    1. Flossie Benton Rogers Post author

      You would enjoy it, Mae. It is very beautiful and fun to see the old way of writing– imagine us speaking that way. I was always drawn to Old English. His isn’t that drastic but does look strange on the page until you sound it out.

  3. Lexi Post

    Hmm the line you quoted reminded me of Robert Herrick’s poem titled “To the Virgins, to Make Much of Time. His first line is “Gather ye rosebuds while ye may. Old Time is still a-flying; And this same flower that smiles today To-morrow will be dying.” Interesting. Did they have plagiarism back then 😉

    1. Flossie Benton Rogers Post author

      Lexi, I just quoted that same Herrick line in a blog post last week! It is interesting how the rapid flying of time is a constant image in some eras. My favorite is Marvell’s “But at my back I always hear time’s winged chariot hurrying near.” Thanks for stopping by:)

      1. Lexi Post

        Wow, I guess great minds think alike 😉 For some crazy reason, I now have a line from a Styx song in my head and it won’t leave! “Time keeps on ticking, ticking, ticking into the future.” I love Styx but I think Marvell, Herrick and Spenser said it better 🙂


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