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him. Nothing could be more natural, than that such a circumstance should, in a mind addicted to the muses, produce pastoral poetry; accordingly, he wrote his “Shepheards Calender,” a part of which is devoted to amorous complaints, and of which the general strain is serious and pensive. This he published in 1579, dedicated, under the humble signature of Immerito, to Mr. afterwards Sir Philip Sidney. To the acquaintance of this celebrated person he was introduced by a friend named Gabriel Harvey. It is not to be doubted that Sidney was a warm and liberal friend to Spenser. He caused him to quit his rural retreat, and try his fortune at court; and by his means Spenser was made known to the earl of Leicester, and finally to queen Elizabeth. The earl of Leicester’s friendship produced some valuable fruits. In 1579 he sent Spenser upon some commission to France; and it was probably through this nobleman’s recommendation, that he was appointed secretary to Arthur Lord Grey of Wilton, when he went as lord-deputy to Ireland, in 1580. In this situation Spenser displayed those talents for business, which many examples show to be very compatible with a genius for elegant literature. He wrote a “Discourse on the State of Ireland,” containing many judicious observations on the schemes of policy proper for that country. His services to the crown were rewarded with a grant of 3028 acres in the county of Cork, out of the vast forfeited property of the earl of Desmond:—an ample possession, upon an insecure tenure; like all those which different rebellions have conveyed from Irish to English proprietors, and which have been usually bestowed with a profuseness proportional to the celerity with which they were acquired. Spenser's residence was the castle of Kilcolman near Doneraile, one of the Earl of Desmond's seats. Here he describes himself in

the style of pastoral poetry, as keeping his sheep “under the foot of Mole, that mountain hore,” and frequenting “the cooly shade of the green alders by the Mulla's shore;”—names which have in some measure been rendered classical by his Muse. It was here that he first received a visit from that splendid character, Sir Walter Raleigh, then a captain under Lord Grey. In his pastoral fiction, Spenser gives Raleigh the title of the Shepherd of the Ocean, and highly extols his courtesy and elegant accomplishments. Raleigh proved his friendship by some court services which he rendered the oets; indeed Spenser says, that he “first en#. to him the grace of his queen.” Perhaps he was instrumental in procuring from the crown a confirmation of Spenser's grant of land, which he obtained in 1585. They went together to England, where it seems that our poet wished to obtain a settlement, rather than to continue in a country which, whatever might be its rural charms, was little better than barbarous in point of society and civilization. It might be during his attendance on the court in this visit, that he was made fully sensible of the chagrins and mortifications which he has so forcibly described in the following best lines of his “ Mother Hubbard’s Tale:”

Full little krowest thou that hast not try’d,
What hell it is in suing long to byde;
To lose good days that might be better spent,
To waste long nights in pensive discontent;
To speed to-day, to be put back to morrow,
To feed on hope. to pine with fear and sorrow;
To have thy prince's grace, yet want her peers',
To have thy asking, yet wait many years;
To fret thy soul with crosses and with cares,
To eat thy heart with comfortless despairs;
To fawn, to crouch, to wait, to ride, to run,
To spend, to give, to want, to be undone.

Spenser returned to Ireland; and if the leisure of an involuntary retreat was the cause of his writing

the Faery Queene, we must rejoice at the disappointment of his wishes, which detached him from the obscure group of placemen and courtiers. Of that poem, it appears from the author’s letter to Sir Walter Raleigh, that the whole plan was formed, and three books were written, in the beginning of 1589. These were published with a dedication to Queen Elizabeth, in 1590; and it can scarcely be doubted, that in a learned and poetical age they would excite much notice and admiration. The queen rewarded him for his poetry and compliments by a pension of 50l. per annum, granted in February, 1591, and he may thenceforth be considered as her laureate, though the title was not formally given him. It was not till his fortieth year that he repaired the loss of his Rosalinde, by a marriage with “a country lass of low degree,” but who had a stock of charms sufficient to inspire the happy lover with matter for a very poetical and rapturous epithalamium. It is to be supposed, that with such a partner his life passed more agreeably in his rural banishment, and that he ceased to regret that court, the disquiets of which he had so acutely felt. In 1596 he published a new edition of the Faery, Queene, with the addition of three more books, which only half completed his design. If the traditionary story be true, that the remaining six books were lost by a servant who had the charge of bringing them over to England, the event may be reckoned among the most afflictive that could happen to a poet, and would probably be felt by him as severely as his subsequent misfortune of the plunder of his house, and the destruction of his whole property, in the rebellion of Tyrone. He himself was driven for refuge to England, where he soon after died, in 1598, probably a victim to grief or despondence. He was interred in Westminster-abbey, near the remains of his poetical father, Chaucer, and at the

charge of the noble minded, though imprudent and unfortunate, Earl of Essex. Several of his brother poets (Shakespeare was probably of the number) attended his obsequies, and threw into his grave copies of verses to his honour. Jonson held the pall. Nothing is known of his family or posterity, further than that one of his descendants came over from Ireland in king William’s reign, as a claimant of his estate. Of the manners, conversation, and private character of Spenser, we have no information from contemporaries; our conclusions must therefore be only drawn from his writings, and the few known events of his life. To the intimate friend of Sidney and Raleigh, especially of the former, it is reasonable to attribute virtue as well as genius. His works breathe a fervent spirit of piety and morality; and it would be difficult to conceive anything base or dissolute in conduct, in conjunction with the dignity of sentiment which is uniformly supported in the productions of his Muse. A querulous disposition, however, occasionally breaks forth; nor does he seem to have been contented while enjoying a fortune more affluent than usually falls to the lot of a poet. He paid considerable court to the great, but without that extravagance of adulation which was not uncommon even among the eminent persons of that age. He possessed friends as well as patrons, and his death was lamented as a public loss to the literature of his country. We are now to speak of Spenser in his poetical capacity. Fraught with the stores of ancient learning and of the school-philosophy of his time, and conversant with the poets of Italy, and the tales of popular romance, he came fully prepared for the execution of any plan of poetical invention which his genius, modelled by the taste of the age, might suggest; and he found his native language sufficiently cultivated to serve as a vehicle of poetical conceptions of any class. The revival of letters had not as yet produced in Europe the revival of that pure and natural taste which distinguished the best periods of Greece and Rome. A passion for marvellous adventure, carried to the limits of the absurd and burlesque, and a disposition to veil truth under the disguise of allegory, characterized the writers who were the favourites of the day. Spenser did not possess that rare elevation of genius which places a man above the level of the age ; but he had the richness of invention, and the warmth of feeling, which present the manner of the age in its highest form. His first performance the Shepheard's Calender did not, however, indicate a marked superiority over the contemporary poets of his country. The Faery Queene, the inseparable companion of Spenser's fame, is one of the most singular poems extant in our language; and, from the unfinished state in which we possess it, we should probably have found it impossible to form a clear conception of the author's plan in writing it, had he not, in a letter to Sir Walter Raleigh, prefixed to the publication of the first three books, given its general argument. We there learn, that his leading purpose—a truly noble one—was to train a erson of rank in “virtuous and gentle discipline,” |. exhibiting a perfect example of the twelve private moral virtues, as they are enumerated by Aristotle. This is done in “a continued allegory or dark conceit,” rendered more dark than the usual obscurity of allegorical fiction, by an extraordinary involution of the plot. The general hero, or image of perfect excellence, is the British prince Arthur, so renowned in legendary history; yet each several book has its particular hero, whose adventures allegorically display the exercise of that virtue which is the proper subject of the book. In order, therefore, to preserve the unity of the whole,

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