Spenser’s strange forest speaks - the singer burns
in the knotted wood. one is a voice
carried in a burning cage by turns
above the tall spinney. wild man - rejoice
in your pain - let a debatable love
smoulder into ages of flame - a fire
be struck in wood’s heart - Janus a gate shoved
down in blazes to play Yule’s lyre
singing heat - flares at times vertical
or precipitous - at others low walk
on ember. runs this sung spectacle
of Amoretti from Bradden to Cork -
of lovers in dumbshow. love is no sport
from this choice; a lesson of fire - flesh caught.
26 May 2021
Edmund Rubbra’s Five Spenser Sonnets Op. 42 ( 1935 ), taken from Edmund Spenser’s sonnet collection ” Amoretti” ( 1595 ), which was written to court his second wife, Elizabeth Boyle in Cork, who had come from Bradden in Rubbra’s native Northamptonshire, a village which lies between Woodford Halse and Towcester. The sonnets which Rubbra selected from ” Amoretti” are nos 2, 4, 6, 43 and 68.