Lesson 3.03: Love and Hate SonnetsEdmund SpenserEdmund Spenser (1552-1599) Edmund Spenser did not come from a wealthy family like many of the writers of his day. He worked his way through Cambridge University, as, what was then labeled, "a poor scholar." We still have this practice today. Colleges and universities offer "work study" to students who demonstrate financial need.He was an avid reader of literature in French, Greek, Latin, and Italian; he often translated the literature he read into English. He published his first group of translations when he was only sixteen-years-old. Spenser's greatest masterpiece is an epic poem called The Faerie Queen. Like Beowulf, it shows a world of dragons and monsters-and of course heroic acts. He had planned for The Faerie Queen to consist of twelve separate books, but he only finished six before his death. Each book tells of a knight doing noble deeds for a glorious fairy queen, who Spenser identifies as Queen Elizabeth. In each book, the knight stands for a different virtue, such as justice or courtesy. Of course, the knighthas to fight all kinds of evil.Edmund Spenser also wrote many sonnets, and their theme is often the impermanence of life and beauty, a common theme of Elizabethan poets. In fact, the poem you are about to read, "Sonnet 75," addresses the same theme. The poet writes the name of his love in the sand, and the waves come in and wash it away.