[PDF Notes] Comparing with Chaucer, describe the poetic qualities of Edmund Spencer

Chaucer is no doubt a great poet, and is rightly acknowledged as the father of English poetry.

But, as Matthew Arnold pointed out, his poetry lacks “high seriousness” which is an outstanding feature of classical poetry. In other words, Chaucer was deficient in the moral spirit. Spenser’s greatness lies in a rare combination of beauty and morality. Spenser’s poetry, specially the Fairy Queen, contains a moral doctrine which has ever since worked on the minds of men and inspired them to right thinking and right doing. Spenser’s poetry is a rare combination of all the different facets of human life. Hence it has been a source of inspiration to countless generations of poets, and poets of every taste and temperament have drunk deep from it as from a perennial spring.

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