Un giorno scrissi il suo nome sulla spiaggia;
ma giunsero le onde e lo cancellarono:
lo scrissi di nuovo una seconda volta,
ma giunse la marea, e rese vani i miei sforzi.
Uomo vano, disse lei, che cerchi invano,
di rendere immortale in questo modo una cosa mortale,
poiché io stessa perirò in questo modo,
e anche il mio nome verrà spazzato via in modo simile.
Non sarà così, (dissi io) lascia che le cose più umili periscano
e diventino polvere, ma tu continuerai a vivere grazie alla fama:
la mia poesia renderà eterne le tue rare virtù,
e scriverà nei cieli il tuo nome glorioso.
Dove mentre la morte sottometterà il mondo,
il nostro amore continuerà a vivere, e rigenererà altra vita.
In the first quatrain the poet is walking along the beach with his beloved. At some stage he writes her name in the sand, but the waves wash it away. He writes it again but the tide wipes it away once more.
The second quatrain is spoken by the poet’s beloved. She reproaches/chides him saying that he is wasting his time trying to immortalize a mere human. She says that as the sea has washed away her name, so her mortal body will decay one day, and also her name will be forgotten.
The third quatrain and the final couplet contain the poet’s rejoinder. He answers that this will not happen: baser things will die/perish and will become dust, but she will continue to live through fame. He says that his poetry will eternize her rare virtues and will also write her name “in the heavens”, where their love will continue to live and will renew their life even after all other things have died.
In the quatrain the poet writes the name of his loved one in the sand, but the waves wash it away.
In the second quatrain his beloved uses his failure to write her name in the sand without the tide’s washing it away to chide him playfully for his foolishness and vanity.
In the third quatrain, the poet, who is not rebuffed by her criticism, takes her words about her own mortality as an opportunity for his rejoinder: she will continue to live by his verse and her name will be written “in the heavens”.
In the concluding couplet he refers not to his love for her, but to their love for each other.
Line 14 suggests that mutual love is an immortalizing and regenerative power.
The word “name” is used three times in the poem, in line 1, 8 and 12. In line 1 it is used in its literal meaning; in line 8 it refers to the personality of the poet’s beloved and becomes a metaphor for the lady herself; in line 12 it becomes an eternal inscription “in the heavens”.
The central theme of the poem is the immortality conferred by the poetry. This is a theme noted by several writers before Spencer, but here (in this sonnet) the lady herself comments on it.
The rhyming scheme of the sonnet is abab abab bcbc cdcd ee. This interwoven rhyming scheme was invented by Spencer himself. It’s a rhyming scheme which binds together the three quatrains through a common rhyme-sound. A rhyme-sound is carried over from a quatrain to another: it gives unity to the quatrains and gives continuity to the musical flow of the sonnet.
“strand”: Spencer probably refers to the beach at Younghal, near the town where his second wife (Elizabeth Boyle) lived, in County Cork in the south-east of Ireland. He probably walked along that beach together with Elizabeth on many occasions.
 Ad un certo punto
 “without” regge il gerundio. Without the tyde/tyde’s washing it away = Senza che la marea cancelli il suo nome
 witty reply = risposta arguta
 verse = poetry = poesia
line = verso
a poem = una poesia (componimento)
 non si riferisce a
 amore reciproco
 and it becomes a metaphor for the lady herself = e diventa una metafora della signora stessa
 to make a comment = to comment
 Il regime di rima alternata
 lega insieme
 flusso musicale