While The Faerie Queene counts as his masterpiece, it is in his shorter poetry that Edmund Spenser (c. 1552-99) showed his supreme versatility and skill as eulogist, satirist, pastoral poet and prophet.
The Shepheardes Calender marks a turning point in literary history, as the anonymous author confidently asserts his faith in the native vigour of the English language and stakes his claim to be the successor of Virgil and Chaucer. The Amoretti and Fowre Hymnes reveal an acute sense of how erotic and even religious love are shot through with vanity and narcissism. Mother Hubberds Tale -- an Elizabethan Animal Farm -- savagely satirizes the sexual jealousy and political disarray at the heart of the Queen's court. And even the Epithalamion, a rare celebration of consummated desire, is offset by far darker echoes.