Verse > Anthologies > Elizabethan Sonnets > Amoretti and Epithalamion
Seccombe and Arber, comps.  Elizabethan Sonnets.  1904.
Amoretti and Epithalamion
Sonnet XXIII. Penelope, for her Ulysses’ sake
Edmund Spenser (1552?–1599)
PENELOPE, for her Ulysses’ sake,
Devis’d a web her wooers to deceive;
In which the work that she all day did make,
The same at night she did again unreave:
Such subtle craft my damsel doth conceive,        5
Th’ importune suit of my desire to shun:
For all that I in many days do weave,
In one short hour I find by her undone.
So, when I think to end that I begun,
I must begin and never bring to end:        10
For with one look she spills that long I spun;
And with one word my whole year’s work doth rend.
  Such labour like the spider’s web I find,
  Whose fruitless work is broken with least wind.

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