Edmund Spenser

(1552 - 13 January 1599 / London / England)

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My Love Is Like To Ice

My love is like to ice, and I to fire:
How comes it then that this her cold so great
Is not dissolved through my so hot desire,
But harder grows the more I her entreat?
Or how comes it that my exceeding heat
Is not allayed by her heart-frozen cold,
But that I burn much more in boiling sweat,
And feel my flames augmented manifold?
What more miraculous thing may be told,
That fire, which all things melts, should harden ice,
And ice, which is congeal's with senseless cold,
Should kindle fire by wonderful device?
Such is the power of love in gentle mind,
That it can alter all the course of kind.

Submitted: Friday, January 03, 2003

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Comments about this poem (My Love Is Like To Ice by Edmund Spenser )

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  • Jayatissa K. Liyanage (9/30/2014 9:04:00 PM)

    Conflicting ideas, views, concepts, attitudes and what else may collide, yet, love will survive amidst all that! An excellent theme and a wonderful write. I like it. (Report) Reply

  • Kay Staley (9/30/2014 9:49:00 AM)

    The last two lines are so very nice. Sometimes I wish that we still talked like that so I could learn to better understand the exact connotations on all the words he uses. There is no question as to why this poem is still around. I feel like there is more to it than what it says...I wonder what Edmund Spenser was thinking about when he wrote it? (Report) Reply

  • Gangadharan Nair Pulingat (9/30/2014 4:00:00 AM)

    such is the power of love in gentle mind. That it can alter all the course of kind. A great poem. More than four hundred years before the poem created and in such beauty and word power. The experience of reading such poems really feeling happiness. (Report) Reply

  • Liliana ~el (9/30/2013 6:03:00 PM)

    A very odd relationship indeed.. the phenomenas, mystery, unexpected...The power of lovely relationships! ! :) (Report) Reply

  • Karen Sinclair (9/30/2013 2:47:00 AM)

    Hahaha! Something's never change with time. The cool aloof lady warmed the cockles of his heart and this made him want her even more. I liked how this is relevant so much today as much as it did at the time. (Report) Reply

  • Deepak Malhotra (9/30/2013 2:43:00 AM)

    this love is not easy, just absorb in your mind
    it's a sea full of fire
    Love is drowning into boiling water (Report) Reply

  • Deepak Malhotra (9/30/2013 2:37:00 AM)

    this love is not easy, just absorb in your mind
    it's a sea full of fire
    Love is drowning into boiling water (Report) Reply

  • Ashley Felix (9/30/2011 9:09:00 PM)

    Beautiful Poem. I look up to poets like him. His poems still live, and I hope to be as great and known as him. (Report) Reply

  • Robert Graber (9/30/2011 2:05:00 PM)

    This is an exemplar of an artificial 'problem' created and then 'solved' to demonstrate the poet's wit-a basic feature of many Elizabethan courtly-love sonnets.

    Robert Bates Graber
    Author, PLUTONIC SONNETS (Report) Reply

  • R Stansfield (7/24/2011 3:17:00 PM)

    Spenser is the flame which is loving her. She is too cold but this doesn't stop him shining, only the love does not push her away, she simply doesn't care. As his love becomes stronger, it is making her colder, love is a flame which is different to any other emotion, because it cannot melt anything.
    LOVLEY POEM, this is just my opinion, im not trying to be clever (Report) Reply

  • Ramesh T A (9/30/2010 3:06:00 AM)

    In Nature fire can melt ice and melted ice, water can subside fire! But in love force cannot melt ice of love! Wonderful message! (Report) Reply

  • Michael Pruchnicki (9/30/2009 6:35:00 PM)

    The speaker in Spenser's sonnet 'My Love Is Like to Ice' is the mask the poet adopts, using an ancient rhetorical device. The poet and the speaker (or persona, which literally means 'mask') are not necessarily one and the same. You can consider it the perceiving consciousness, if you prefer; the main thing is to avoid the confusion and misunderstanding that accompanies the error. Please remember that a poet like Spenser was always in complete control of his subject. He was not given to flights of fancy in any way whatsoever!

    The poem is a sonnet grouped into three quatrains and a couplet. The rhyme scheme of the first quatrain is ABAB / fire, great, desire, entreat; the second is BCBC / heat, cold, sweat, manifold; the third rhymes CDCD / told, ice, cold, device; and the couplet rhymes EE / mind, kind. The rhyme includes near rhyme in great/entreat and heat/sweat. Keep in mind that in Spenser's day, poetry was considered a rhetorical game more often than not.

    The first line is a simile that compares his love/beloved one to ice and the speaker to a fire that for some reason does not thaw his frozen love. The more he pursues her, the faster she flees (the colder she gets!) . There is a 'law of contraries' being created here that defies natural law - those laws like gravity that operate on one and all in normal circumstances. But these are NOT normal times, the speaker alleges. This is a time for miracles in the realm of romance. We are in a foreign place where the usual laws do not apply. The couplet resolves the dilemma by sleight of language - the power of love can overrule natural love and change our very nature. Our 'kind' (mankind) can be changed to its very core. (Report) Reply

  • Ravi A (9/30/2009 11:57:00 AM)

    The landing space is perfect. That tells the essence of the poem. (Report) Reply

  • Akachukwu Chukwuemeka (9/30/2009 9:56:00 AM)

    the hotter he burn with love, the harder the stubborn ice of her emotion (she plays hard to get) . sometimes we fall in love with those that have no fellings for us thus, we burn with pain to no avail...sometimes it becomes important to allow nature to melt this ice so hard for our human fire to dissolve; you allow this ice to melt naturally and flow into the burnt out ashes of your emotions... (Report) Reply

    Gangadharan Nair Pulingat (9/30/2014 4:01:00 AM)

    Surely the comments much interested and meaningful.Thanks

  • Kevin Straw (9/30/2009 5:49:00 AM)

    Robert Frost's (appropriate name!) 'Some say the world will end in fire;
    Some say in ice...' Seems to be contradicted by Spenser's assertion that love and hate are miraculously eternal. (Report) Reply

  • Kevin Straw (9/30/2009 5:47:00 AM)

    Robert Frost's (appropriate name!) 'Some say the world will end in fire;
    Some say in ice...' Seems to be contradicted by Spenser's assertion that love and hate are mysteriously eternal. (Report) Reply

Read all 26 comments »

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