Write a paragraph describing the dramatic power of the opening stanzas of Spenser’s The Fairie Queene. Try to point out why this poem is really worth reading.
Before Canto I of The Faerie Queen even begins, Spenser writes 4 stanzas as a sort of preface to the poem detailing the excitment that the reader is yet to come by as they continue reading. This preface tells of the adventures to come and expresses to the reader why they should continue to read and find out more about this quest.
These first four stanzas tell the audience about the dramatic events that will be depicted in the rest of the epic poem and leave the reader wanting more; wanting to find out how and why these events unfold. By opening the poem with the lines, “Lo I the man, whose Muse whilome did maske,/ As time her taught, in lowly Shepherds weeds,/ Am now enforst a far unfitter task,” Spenser expresses that the following events are so noble and soimportant that he is not even worthy to tell them. This creates a sense of drama and urges readers to continue. He then pleads that his telling of the events be good enough for the grand events asking “O helpe though my weak wit, and sharpen my dull tongue,” using metaphor to express the importance of this. Throughout the stanzas, Spenser gives the audience a taste of the action to come using phrases such as “fierce warres and faithfull loves”, “murderous spolies and bloudy rage allayd”, and “that glorious fire,kindled in his hart.” The use of such dramatic imagery tells the reader just how much more action, drama and adventure is to come. By not telling the audience the details of the events outlined, a sense of mystery is created which makes the audience excited to read on and find out about these knights and monsters and to learn of these deeds that are so great that the poet himself id not worthy to tell of them.