Spencer’s Sonnets are but trails of pebbles leading the readers to a spiraling whirlpool combining sinful flattery with divine eloquence. Each sonnet is placed to lure the reader further towards the ciaos of emotion in order to discover a worthy resolution. He presents the biblical narrow gate, showing the best journey to be, “…straitened and compressed that leads away to life, and few are they who find it” (Mathew 7:14). His path of stones make the journey difficult, but temptation must pursue before it can be denied; so Spencer’s sonnets convey the struggle of the sinner at temptation’s side; they collectively develop an understanding through learned experience.
The underlying vanity of this sinner babbles like the brook, spewing forth towards the heavens with a plea for immortality, crashing down upon him with a dispersal of emotions. The battling courtship of the “Amoretti” tells as much of Spencer’s ambitious vanity as it does the love for his willful bride. Her eternal glory can only be accomplished through his mortal hand etching her flattering faults to the future. Mark Twain perhaps thought of Spencer when he said, “There are no grades of vanity, there are only grades of ability in concealing it.” Disguising himself as a meager pauper, Spencer continually turns the subject back to the poetry itself; where his angel meets his queen and the games of love are not always the subject. Spencer understands that the importance of acceptance weighs just as heavily on his poetry as it does for his love. By portraying himself as weak and undeserving of praise, he in turn uplifts his work through automatic reflection. Skillful in his abilities of concealment, one thinks that like Shakespeare, Spencer “doth protest too much” (Hamlet, III, II, 239), dimly illuminating his work for the reader’s inspection.
To speak now of Spencer’s divinity of eloquence; how the ornamental reign that he tied on Icarus thus
saved him from the heat of the sun and brought about the perspective of angels who fly a bit too low and wax
themselves with mortals. Spencer learns through this journey of sonnets that passion is fleeting and idols are
base. Instead, he uses the power of his words to bring his angel down to earth and unite on his territory where
he holds the literary power. It is here that his happy leaves prove worthy of praise with strength surpassing
ocean tides, making even the likes of Hephaestus envy such craftsmanship. Such proof as found in the binds
today cannot warrant objection; later life has well renewed the favor. To which the pebbled path again leads to
an everlasting eloquence that cannot be ignored. For that I as what beauty rare was ever extracted from
conformity? So Petrarch did wonder; “Where are the numerous constructions erected by Agrippa, of which
only the Pantheon remains? Where are the splendorous palaces of the emperors?” They are hidden under the
laurel leaf of Spencer, who cannot be contained in the likes of Wyatt and Howard, but surpasses them all into
undiscovered lands of requited love.