Edmund Spenser

(1552 - 13 January 1599 / London / England)

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Ice and Fire


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'd 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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  • Nerys Williams (7/8/2014 2:01:00 PM)

    She never loved him but he wouldn't give up until she married him but she still didn't love him and he loved her too much but she was a tyrant to him was what he said somewhere else during my research but I can't find it now. Saw his grave last week in Westminster Abbey, hidden behind stacks of chairs, not a great way to treat one of our greatest poets. (Report) Reply

  • * Sunprincess * (1/8/2014 8:59:00 AM)

    .........wooaaa I never looked at desire this way before....desire is better when 'tis fire and fire.... (Report) Reply

  • Veeraiyah Subbulakshmi (1/8/2013 8:06:00 PM)

    a good and educational poem! 1. During the process of living, when one takes the heat from the heart of another object to be hot, it is naturally possible one to be frozen and the other to be extremely hot.2. so to maintain the temperature of love, people must learn to respect their better half.. Otherwise, we have to write a poem as this poet! any way this poem is beautiful! Thank you for sharing, Late! Edmund Spencer (Report) Reply

  • Mythri Srinivasan (1/8/2010 11:40:00 PM)

    Sweet more than love...
    Pleasing more than a hymm...
    This man must have experienced someone really cold in his life...lol! .. (Report) Reply

  • Rachael Yates (1/8/2010 12:51:00 PM)

    There is deep irony here - yes, Love can do the unimaginable, like fire making ice colder and vice versa, but his love, (actually I think its lust and passion not love) is not making the woman love him back. The first 8 lines are talking about how he can't get what he wants; the next four are talking about the amazing power love has; and then he sums it up in the last two lines - not exaclty sure what his conclusion is. Hmmm - noticing how he describes her rejection as 'senseless' and using a 'device' to make him more heated. Makes me think he's used to making women 'melt' and can't believe his charms aren't working! (Report) Reply

  • Joseph Poewhit (1/8/2010 10:48:00 AM)

    As they say, opposites usually attract like the poles of a magnet. Maybe an insight into the creation of love by GOD. (Report) Reply

  • Ramesh T A (1/8/2010 10:12:00 AM)

    Love is all powerful force in the world! Remaining cold love only can kindle fire in others! Love has the power to stop hunger and even taste like sweet or bitter or salt as nothing and ineffective to love striken ones! Spencer has nicely the contradiction of love with nice example of cold and fire in the sonnet! (Report) Reply

  • King Happy (1/8/2009 2:52:00 AM)

    Sorry I had to cry laughing at the post below me. Keep writing? Dude hes been dead for 400 years. (Report) Reply

  • Anjali Mandokhot (1/8/2008 11:07:00 PM)

    That fire, which all things melts, should harden ice,
    And ice, which is congeal'd with senseless cold,
    Should kindle fire by wonderful device?
    ...i find this the most beautiful part...beautifully describing the power of love (Report) Reply

Read all 14 comments »

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