One day I wrote her name upon the strand,
But came the waves and washed it away:
Again I wrote it with a second hand,
But came the tide, and made my pains his prey.
“Vain man,” said she, “that dost in vain assay.
A mortal thing so to immortalise,
For I myself shall like to this decay,
And eek my name bee wiped out likewise.”
“Not so,” quoth I, “let baser things devise,
To die in dust, but you shall live by fame:
My verse your virtues rare shall eternise,
And in the heavens write your glorious name.
Where whenas death shall all the world subdue,
Our love shall live, and later life renew.”
Edmund Spenser (1552/1553-1599)