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Renaissance Love Poems

A Selection of Poems from the English Renaissance


Woman in Renaissance dress with rear screen of landscape painting
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Throughout the middle ages, an evolution of poetry took place in western Europe. Slowly, and with influence from movements like Courtly Love, the epic ballads of battles and monsters like Beowulf were transformed into romantic adventures, such as the Arthurian legends.

As the Renaissance unfolded, literature and poetry evolved still further. A more personal style developed, and poems clearly showed themselves as a way for the poet to reveal his feelings to the one he loved. In the middle of the sixteenth century a plethora of poetic talent appeared in England, influenced by the art and literature of the Italian Renaissance a century before.

Here are just a few English poems from the crest of the English Renaissance of letters.

Two lesser-known poems: When to her Lute Corinna Sings by Thomas Campion and Diaphenia by Henry Constable

To Cecilia by Ben Jonson

The Passionate Shepherd to His Love by Christopher Marlowe

The Nymph's Reply to the Shepherd by Sir Walter Raleigh

The Eighteenth Sonnet by William Shakespeare

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