Amoretti XXX (30)
BY EDMUND SPENSER
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?
Explanation: This is a love poem. In the very first line of the first stanza, the poet has presented a striking image of his beloved and himself with the help of a simile. He compares her with Ice and himself with burning fire. Both the matters have distinct features, which show that the couple is standing with some kind of differences between them. In the second line, the poet expresses his surprise at how can she be such a cold-hearted who is very irresponsive towards the poet’s love. On the contrary, she becomes harder as much as the poet shows his love to her. Poet finds him unable to turn her feelings in love despite his burning zeal for love.
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?
Explanation: Here, in these lines poet tries to consider the fact that if he believes that she is not giving him love then why he himself cannot be hard towards her. Why is he unable to leave her and forget his love? On the other hand, as much as she ignores him is love becomes stronger rather than before. He says that his flames of love grow to manifold instead of becoming cold.
What more miraculous thing may be told,
That fire, which all things melts, should harden ice,
And ice, which is congeal’d with senseless cold,
Should kindle fire by wonderful device?
Explanation: In this stanza, the poet wants to gather the fact that is there anything that contains magical power to turn the nature of things, which is governing their mind and heart? In general, more powering heat can melt the Ice and more powering cold can congeal the fire. There is happing something unusual in which Ice becomes harder with fire and fire grows more with Ice.
Such is the power of love in gentle mind,
That it can alter all the course of kind.
Explanation: In this couplet, the poet finds his solution. He now understands that it is the power of his pure and noble love. He says love has such power, which can alter even the course of nature.
The theme of this sonnet is explaining the power of love, which can cause alteration of feelings, emotions, and the natural course of life. This sonnet, therefore, has a very popular subject matter- the lover trying hard to immortalize the relationship.
The poem is a sonnet grouped into three quatrains and a couplet. “Spencer splits his poem into four different sections, each section being a question “The lady in this sonnet is compared to ice whose feelings of coldness keep her disinterested towards the burning love of the speaker. She is a heartless, insensitive woman who is not ready to meltdown on the speaker's efforts and love. The speaker is thus shocked to notice such a type of behavior and wonders that his exceeding passions of love are responsible for the increasing indifference in the woman. The speaker surprisingly is hopeful that one day his burning passions of love will melt her down and she will understand his love and true feelings. Love sometimes seems unattainable but you do not truly know it is out of reach unless you try, Edmund Spenser portrays this message in his poem “My Love is Like to Ice.”
This poem was taken out from his literary work the “Amoretti,” which was written as a part of the courtship of his second wife Elizabeth Boyle. This poem shows his struggle for love, knowing the intent of the poet’s reason for writing such beautiful poetry gives us the advantage when analyzing. Spenser uses two interesting elements to convey his feelings and emotions in reference to love to show us why love is mutual and should not be given up upon. Symbolism is seen throughout the poem very often with respect to human emotions and feelings. The nature of these two elements shows the reader that there is no such thing as impossible love. Spenser splits his poem into four different sections, each section being a question, which illustrates human emotions and feelings through different states of love. The first section carries its own tone and mood, set by the first line, “My love is like to ice, and I to fire,” Spenser chooses two elements that are incompatible and completely opposite from each other. 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 are not necessarily 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 such as:-
ABAB/fire, great, desire, entreat
BCBC/heat, cold, sweat, manifold
CDCD/told, ice, cold, device
The first line is a simile that compares his 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. Nevertheless, these are not normal times, the speaker alleges. This is a time for miracles in the realm of romance. We are in an unusual 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.