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Edmund Spencer, Poet

Birthdate:
Birthplace: East Smithfield, London, England
Death: January 13, 1599 (41-50)
London, England
Place of Burial: London, Greater London, United Kingdom
Immediate Family:

Son of John Spencer and Elizabeth Spencer
Husband of Machabia Spencer and Elizabeth Spencer
Father of Sylvanus Spenser; Nicholas Spencer; Katherine Wiseman and Peregrine Spenser
Brother of John Spencer and Sarah Travers (Spenser)

Occupation: Poet
Managed by: Private User
Last Updated:

About Edmund Spenser

Edmund Spenser (/ˈspɛnsə/; c. 1552 – 13 January 1599) was an English poet best known for The Faerie Queene, an epic poem and fantastical allegory celebrating the Tudor dynasty and Elizabeth I. He is recognised as one of the premier craftsmen of Modern English verse in its infancy, and is often considered one of the greatest poets in the English language.

Edmund Spenser was born in East Smithfield, London, around the year 1552, though there is some ambiguity as to the exact date of his birth. As a young boy, he was educated in London at the Merchant Taylors' School and matriculated as a sizar at Pembroke College, Cambridge.[2][3] While at Cambridge he became a friend of Gabriel Harvey and later consulted him, despite their differing views on poetry. In 1578, he became for a short time secretary to John Young, Bishop of Rochester.[4] In 1579, he published The Shepheardes Calender and around the same time married his first wife, Machabyas Childe.[5]


In July of 1580, Spenser went to Ireland in service of the newly appointed Lord Deputy, Arthur Grey, 14th Baron Grey de Wilton. Spenser served under Lord Gray with Walter Raleigh at the Siege of Smerwick massacre.[6] When Lord Grey was recalled to England, Spenser stayed on in Ireland, having acquired other official posts and lands in the Munster Plantation. Raleigh acquired other nearby Munster estates confiscated in the Second Desmond Rebellion. Some time between 1587 and 1589, Spenser acquired his main estate at Kilcolman, near Doneraile in North Cork.[7] He later bought a second holding to the south, at Rennie, on a rock overlooking the river Blackwater in North Cork. Its ruins are still visible today. A short distance away grew a tree, locally known as "Spenser's Oak" until it was destroyed in a lightning strike in the 1960s. Local legend has it that he penned some of The Faerie Queene under this tree.[8]


In 1590, Spenser brought out the first three books of his most famous work, The Faerie Queene, having travelled to London to publish and promote the work, with the likely assistance of Raleigh. He was successful enough to obtain a life pension of £50 a year from the Queen. He probably hoped to secure a place at court through his poetry, but his next significant publication boldly antagonised the queen's principal secretary, Lord Burghley (William Cecil), through its inclusion of the satirical Mother Hubberd's Tale.[9] He returned to Ireland.


By 1594, Spenser's first wife had died, and in that year he married Elizabeth Boyle, to whom he addressed the sonnet sequence Amoretti. The marriage itself was celebrated in Epithalamion.[10]


In 1596, Spenser wrote a prose pamphlet titled A View of the Present State of Ireland. This piece, in the form of a dialogue, circulated in manuscript, remaining unpublished until the mid-seventeenth century. It is probable that it was kept out of print during the author's lifetime because of its inflammatory content. The pamphlet argued that Ireland would never be totally 'pacified' by the English until its indigenous language and customs had been destroyed, if necessary by violence.[11]


In 1598, during the Nine Years War, Spenser was driven from his home by the native Irish forces of Aodh Ó Néill. His castle at Kilcolman was burned, and Ben Jonson, who may have had private information, asserted that one of his infant children died in the blaze.[12]

In the year after being driven from his home, 1599, Spenser traveled to London, where he died at the age of forty-six. His coffin was carried to his grave in Westminster Abbey by other poets, who threw many pens and pieces of poetry into his grave with many tears. His second wife survived him and remarried twice. His sister Sarah, who had accompanied him to Ireland, married into the Travers family, and her descendants were prominent landowners in Cork for centuries.

Thomas Fuller, in Worthies of England, included a story where the Queen told her treasurer, William Cecil, to pay Spenser one hundred pounds for his poetry. The treasurer, however, objected that the sum was too much. She said, "Then give him what is reason". Without receiving his payment in due time, Spenser gave the Queen this quatrain on one of her progresses:


  • I was promis'd on a time,
  • To have a reason for my rhyme:
  • From that time unto this season,
  • I receiv'd nor rhyme nor reason.

She immediately ordered the treasurer pay Spenser the original £100.


This story seems to have attached itself to Spenser from Thomas Churchyard, who apparently had difficulty in getting payment of his pension, the only other pension Elizabeth awarded to a poet. Spenser seems to have had no difficulty in receiving payment when it was due as the pension was being collected for him by his publisher, Ponsonby.[13]

Spenser's masterpiece is the epic poem The Faerie Queene. The first three books of The Faerie Queene were published in 1590, and a second set of three books were published in 1596. Spenser originally indicated that he intended the poem to consist of twelve books, so the version of the poem we have today is incomplete. Despite this, it remains one of the longest poems in the English language.[14] It is an allegorical work, and can be read (as Spenser presumably intended) on several levels of allegory, including as praise of Queen Elizabeth I. In a completely allegorical context, the poem follows several knights in an examination of several virtues. In Spenser's "A Letter of the Authors," he states that the entire epic poem is "cloudily enwrapped in allegorical devises," and that the aim behind The Faerie Queene was to “fashion a gentleman or noble person in virtuous and gentle discipline.”

Spenser published numerous relatively short poems in the last decade of the sixteenth century, almost all of which consider love or sorrow. In 1591, he published Complaints, a collection of poems that express complaints in mournful or mocking tones. Four years later, in 1595, Spenser published Amoretti and Epithalamion. This volume contains eighty-nine sonnets commemorating his courtship of Elizabeth Boyle. In “Amoretti,” Spenser uses subtle humour and parody while praising his beloved, reworking Petrarchism in his treatment of longing for a woman. “Epithalamion,” similar to “Amoretti,” deals in part with the unease in the development of a romantic and sexual relationship. It was written for his wedding to his young bride, Elizabeth Boyle. The poem consists of 365 long lines, corresponding to the days of the year; 68 short lines, claimed to represent the sum of the 52 weeks, 12 months, and 4 seasons of the annual cycle; and 24 stanzas, corresponding to the diurnal and sidereal hours.[citation needed] Some have speculated that the attention to disquiet in general reflects Spenser’s personal anxieties at the time, as he was unable to complete his most significant work, The Faerie Queene. In the following year Spenser released "Prothalamion," a wedding song written for the daughters of a duke, allegedly in hopes to gain favor in the court.[15]

Spenser used a distinctive verse form, called the Spenserian stanza, in several works, including The Faerie Queene. The stanza's main meter is iambic pentameter with a final line in iambic hexameter (having six feet or stresses, known as an Alexandrine), and the rhyme scheme is ababbcbcc. He also used his own rhyme scheme for the sonnet.

Though Spenser was well read in classical literature, scholars have noted that his poetry does not rehash tradition, but rather is distinctly his. This individuality may have resulted, to some extent, from a lack of comprehension of the classics. Spenser strove to emulate such ancient Roman poets as Virgil and Ovid, whom he studied during his schooling, but many of his best-known works are notably divergent from those of his predecessors.[16] The language of his poetry is purposely archaic, reminiscent of earlier works such as The Canterbury Tales of Geoffrey Chaucer and Il Canzoniere of Francesco Petrarca, whom Spenser greatly admired.


Spenser was called a Poets' Poet and was admired by William Wordsworth, John Keats, Lord Byron, and Alfred Lord Tennyson, among others. Walter Raleigh wrote a dedicatory poem to The Faerie Queene in 1590, in which he claims to admire and value Spenser’s work more so than any other in the English language. In the eighteenth century, Alexander Pope compared Spenser to “a mistress, whose faults we see, but love her with them all."[17]

In his work A View of the Present State of Ireland, Spenser devises his ideas to the issues of the nation of Ireland. These views are suspected to not be his own but based on the work of his predecessor, Lord Arthur Grey de Wilton who was appointed Lord Deputy of Ireland in 1580.[18] Lord Grey was a major figure in Ireland at the time and Spenser was influenced greatly by his ideals and his work in the country, as well as that of his fellow countrymen also living in Ireland at the time.[19]


The goal of this piece was to show that Ireland was in great need of reform. Spenser believed that "Ireland is a diseased portion of the State, it must first be cured and reformed, before it could be in a position to appreciate the good sound laws and blessings of the nation".[20] In A View of the Present State of Ireland, Spenser categorizes the “evils” of the Irish people into three prominent categories: laws, customs, and religion. These three elements work together in creating the disruptive and degraded people. One example given in the work is the native law system called “Brehon Law” which trumps the established law given by the English monarchy. This system has its own court and way of dealing with infractions. It has been passed down through the generations and Spenser views this system as a native backward custom which must be destroyed. Spenser also recommended scorched earth tactics, such as he had seen used in the Desmond Rebellions, to create famine. Although it has been highly regarded as a polemical piece of prose and valued as a historical source on 16th century Ireland, the View is seen today as genocidal in intent. Spenser did express some praise for the Gaelic poetic tradition, but also used much tendentious and bogus analysis to demonstrate that the Irish were descended from barbarian Scythian stock. His dislike for all things Irish showed no bounds and he put forward a proposal for the extinction of the Irish race.[21]

List of works

  • Iambicum Trimetrum
  • 1569: Jan van der Noodt's A theatre for Worldlings, including poems translated into English by Spenser from French sources, published by Henry Bynneman in London[22]
  • 1579: The Shepheardes Calender, published under the pseudonym "Immerito"[23] (entered into the Stationers' Register in December[22])

1590:

  • The Faerie Queene, Books 1–3

1591:

  • Complaints, Containing sundrie small Poemes of the Worlds Vanitie (entered into the Stationer's Register in 1590[22]), includes: "The Ruines of Time"
    • "The Teares of the Muses"
    • "Virgil's Gnat"
    • "Prosopopoia, or Mother Hubberds Tale"
    • "Ruines of Rome: by Bellay"
    • "Muiopotmos, or the Fate of the Butterflie"
    • "Visions of the worlds vanitie"
    • "The Visions of Bellay"
    • "The Visions of Petrarch"

1592:

  • Axiochus, a translation of a pseudo-Platonic dialogue from the original Ancient Greek; published by Cuthbert Burbie; attributed to "Edw: Spenser"[22] but the attribution is uncertain[24]
  • Daphnaïda. An Elegy upon the death of the noble and vertuous Douglas Howard, Daughter and heire of Henry Lord Howard, Viscount Byndon, and wife of Arthure Gorges Esquier (published in London in January, according to one source;[22] another source gives 1591 as the year[23])

1595:

  • Amoretti and Epithalamion, containing:
    • "Amoretti"[22]
    • "Epithalamion"[22]
  • Astrophel. A Pastorall Elegie vpon the death of the most Noble and valorous Knight, Sir Philip Sidney.
  • Colin Clouts Come home againe

1596:

  • Four Hymns (poem)|Fowre Hymnes dedicated from the court at Greenwich;[22] published with the second edition of Daphnaida[23]
  • Prothalamion[22]
  • The Faerie Queene, Books 4–6[22]
  • Babel, Empress of the East - a dedicatory poem prefaced to Lewes Lewkenor's The Commonwealth of Venice, 1599.

Posthumous:

  • 1609: Two Cantos of Mutabilitie published together with a reprint of The Fairie Queene[25]
  • 1611: First folio edition of Spenser's collected works[25]
  • 1633: A vewe of the present state of Irelande, a prose treatise on the reformation of Ireland,[26] first published in James Ware's Ancient Irish Chronicles (Spenser's work was entered into the Stationer's Register in 1598 and circulated in manuscript but not published until it was included in this work of Ware's)[25]

From: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edmund_Spenser

  • ________________
  • Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900, Volume 53
  • Spenser, Edmund
  • SPENSER, EDMUND (1552?–1599), poet, was a Londoner by birth. ‘Merry London’ he described as
    • ‘my most kindly nurse
    • That to me gave this life's first native source,
    • Though from another place I take my name,
    • An house of ancient fame’
  • (Prothalamion). His father migrated to London from the neighbourhood of Burnley in north-east Lancashire, not far from the foot of Pendle Hill. As early as the close of the thirteenth century there was a freehold held by a Spenser at Hurstwood in the township of Worsthorne, some three miles to the south-east of Burnley. This seems to have been the original settlement of the family, and its head in the reign of Elizabeth bore the Christian name of Edmund. This Edmund Spenser died in 1587, having been twice married, and leaving a son John by each wife; both of these John Spensers had sons named Edmund. In course of time Spensers settled in other places in the vicinity. Lawrence (a name which the poet gave one of his sons) resided in the poet's lifetime at Filly Close, where a farm is still known as Spenser's; Robert and John Spenser lived in 1586 at Habergham Eaves, near Townley Hall; one John Spenser was a farmer at the time, at Downham, near Clitheroe. The poet's hereditary connection with the Burnley district is corroborated by his dialect. We find many traces of the north-eastern Lancashire vocabulary and way of speaking in the ‘Shepherd's Calendar’ and other of his early pieces (cf. Grosart, i. 408–21). Spenser's Lancashire kinsmen held their own with the Towneleys, the Nowells, and other old families of the district. Law- rence Spenser of Filly Close married Lettice Nowell of the family of Dean Alexander Nowell [q. v.], and the poet profited by the educational benefactions of the dean's brother, Robert Nowell. The poet, too, claimed some relationship with the Spencers of Althorp. He designated as his cousins Sir John Spencer's three daughters (Elizabeth, lady Carey; Alice, lady Strange; Ann, successively Lady Monteagle, Lady Compton, and Countess of Dorset). To each of these ladies he dedicated a poem [see under Spenser, Robert, first Baron Spencer]. In ‘Colin Clouts come home againe’ he described the ‘sisters three’ as
    • The honor of the noble family
    • Of which I meanest boast myself to be.
  • The poet's father seems to have been John Spenser, ‘a gentleman by birth,’ who was in October 1566 ‘a free journeyman’ in the ‘art and mystery of clothmaking,’ and then in the service of Nicholas Peele, ‘sheerman,’ of Bow Lane, London. The Christian name of the poet's mother was Elizabeth (see Sonnet lxxiv.). The parents, according to a statement of Oldys the antiquary, were living in East Smithfield when Spenser was born—probably in 1552. His date of birth cannot be later than 1552; it may have been a year earlier. In Sonnet lx. (of his ‘Amoretti’) he wrote that the one year during which he had been in love with the lady to whom the sonnet was addressed seemed longer to him ‘than all those forty which’ he had previously lived, and there is reason to believe that he began his wooing in 1592. He was not an only son. His intimate friend, Gabriel Harvey, wrote to him of ‘your good mother's eldist ungracious sonne’ (see Harvey's Letter-Book, ed. Scott, p. 60). He seems to have had a younger brother John, doubtless the John Spenser who entered Merchant Taylors' school on 3 Aug. 1571, and afterwards went, like the poet, to Pembroke Hall. But this brother of the poet is to be distinguished from John Spenser [q. v.], who became president of Corpus Christi College, Oxford. A sister of the poet was named Sarah. .... etc.
  • From: http://en.wikisource.org/wiki/Spenser,_Edmund_(DNB00)
  • ___________________
  • EDMUND SPENSER, English poet, author of The Faery Queen, was born in London about the year 1552. The received date of his birth rests on a passage in sonnet lx. of the Amoretti. He speaks there of having lived forty-one years; the Amoretti was published in 1595, and described on the titlepage as "written not long since"; this would make the year of his birth 1552 or 1553. We know from the Prothalamion that London was his birthplace. This at least seems the most natural interpretation of the words "Merry London, my most kindly nurse, That to me gave this life's first native source." In the same poem he speaks of himself as taking his name from "an house of ancient fame." Several of his pieces are addressed to the daughters of Sir John Spencer, head of the Althorp family; and in Colin Clout's Come Home Again he describes three of the ladies as "The honour of the noble family Of which I meanest boast myself to be." Mr R. B. Knowles, however, is of the opinion (see the Spending of the Money of Robert Nowell, privately printed, 1877) that the poet's kinsmen must be sought among the humbler Spencers of north-east Lancashire.
  • Robert Nowell, a London citizen, left a sum of money to be distributed in various charities, and in the account-books of his executors among the names of other beneficiaries has been discovered that of "Edmund Spensore, scholar of the Merchant Taylor School, at his going to Pembroke Hall in Cambridge." The date of this benefaction is the 28th of April 1569. As the poet is known to have been a sizar of Pembroke, the identification is beyond dispute. Till this discovery it was not known where Spenser received his school education. The speculations as to the poet's parentage, started by the Nowell MS., are naturally more uncertain. Mr Knowles found three Spensers in the books of the Merchant Taylors, and concluded that the poorest of them, John Spenser, a "free journeyman" in the "art or mystery of clothmaking," might have been the poet's father, but he afterwards abandoned this theory. Dr Grosart, however, adhered to it, and it is now pretty generally accepted. The connexion of Spenser with Lancashire is also supported by the Nowell MS. - several Spensers of that county appear among the "poor kinsfolk" who profited by Nowell's bounty. The name of the poet's mother was Elisabeth, and he notes as a happy coincidence that it was borne by the three women of most consequence to him - wife, queen and mother (Amoretti, lxxiv.).
  • It is natural that a poet so steeped in poetry as Spenser should show his faculty at a very early age; and there is strong reason to believe that verses from his pen were published just as he left school at the age of sixteen or seventeen. Certain pieces .... etc.
  • From: http://www.luminarium.org/renlit/spensbio.htm
  • ___________________________
  • Links
  • http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=5941
  • http://www.westminster-abbey.org/our-history/people/edmund-spenser
  • ___________________________

Edmund Spenser (/ˈspɛnsər/; 1552/1553 – 13 January 1599) was an English poet best known for The Faerie Queene, an epic poem and fantastical allegory celebrating the Tudor dynasty and Elizabeth I. He is recognised as one of the premier craftsmen of Modern English verse in its infancy, and is often considered one of the greatest poets in the English language.

Contents [show] 1 Life2 Rhyme and reason3 The Faerie Queene4 Shorter poems5 The Spenserian stanza and sonnet6 Influences and influenced7 A View of the Present State of Ireland8 List of works9 Editions10 References11 Sources12 External links

Life[edit]Edmund Spenser was born in East Smithfield, London, around the year 1552, though there is some ambiguity as to the exact date of his birth. As a young boy, he was educated in London at the Merchant Taylors' School and matriculated as a sizar at Pembroke College, Cambridge.[2][3] While at Cambridge he became a friend of Gabriel Harvey and later consulted him, despite their differing views on poetry. In 1578, he became for a short time secretary to John Young, Bishop of Rochester.[4] In 1579, he published The Shepheardes Calender and around the same time married his first wife, Machabyas Childe.[5]

In July 1580, Spenser went to Ireland in service of the newly appointed Lord Deputy, Arthur Grey, 14th Baron Grey de Wilton. Spenser served under Lord Gray with Walter Raleigh at the Siege of Smerwick massacre.[6] When Lord Grey was recalled to England, Spenser stayed on in Ireland, having acquired other official posts and lands in the Munster Plantation. Raleigh acquired other nearby Munster estates confiscated in the Second Desmond Rebellion. Some time between 1587 and 1589, Spenser acquired his main estate at Kilcolman, near Doneraile in North Cork.[7] He later bought a second holding to the south, at Rennie, on a rock overlooking the river Blackwater in North Cork. Its ruins are still visible today. A short distance away grew a tree, locally known as "Spenser's Oak" until it was destroyed in a lightning strike in the 1960s. Local legend has it that he penned some of The Faerie Queene under this tree.[8]

In 1590, Spenser brought out the first three books of his most famous work, The Faerie Queene, having travelled to London to publish and promote the work, with the likely assistance of Raleigh. He was successful enough to obtain a life pension of £50 a year from the Queen. He probably hoped to secure a place at court through his poetry, but his next significant publication boldly antagonised the queen's principal secretary, Lord Burghley (William Cecil), through its inclusion of the satirical Mother Hubberd's Tale.[9] He returned to Ireland.

By 1594, Spenser's first wife had died, and in that year he married Elizabeth Boyle, to whom he addressed the sonnet sequence Amoretti. The marriage itself was celebrated in Epithalamion.[10]

In 1596, Spenser wrote a prose pamphlet titled A View of the Present State of Ireland. This piece, in the form of a dialogue, circulated in manuscript, remaining unpublished until the mid-seventeenth century. It is probable that it was kept out of print during the author's lifetime because of its inflammatory content. The pamphlet argued that Ireland would never be totally 'pacified' by the English until its indigenous language and customs had been destroyed, if necessary by violence.[11]

In 1598, during the Nine Years War, Spenser was driven from his home by the native Irish forces of Aodh Ó Néill. His castle at Kilcolman was burned, and Ben Jonson, who may have had private information, asserted that one of his infant children died in the blaze.[12]


Title page, Fowre Hymnes, by Edmund Spenser, published by William Ponsonby, London, 1596In the year after being driven from his home, 1599, Spenser travelled to London, where he died at the age of forty-six. His coffin was carried to his grave in Westminster Abbey by other poets, who threw many pens and pieces of poetry into his grave with many tears. His second wife survived him and remarried twice. His sister Sarah, who had accompanied him to Ireland, married into the Travers family, and her descendants were prominent landowners in Cork for centuries.

Rhyme and reason[edit]Thomas Fuller, in Worthies of England, included a story where the Queen told her treasurer, William Cecil, to pay Spenser one hundred pounds for his poetry. The treasurer, however, objected that the sum was too much. She said, "Then give him what is reason". Without receiving his payment in due time, Spenser gave the Queen this quatrain on one of her progresses:

I was promis'd on a time, To have a reason for my rhyme: From that time unto this season, I receiv'd nor rhyme nor reason. She immediately ordered the treasurer pay Spenser the original £100.

This story seems to have attached itself to Spenser from Thomas Churchyard, who apparently had difficulty in getting payment of his pension, the only other pension Elizabeth awarded to a poet. Spenser seems to have had no difficulty in receiving payment when it was due as the pension was being collected for him by his publisher, Ponsonby.[13]

The Faerie Queene[edit]Main article: The Faerie Queene


The epic poem The Faerie Queene frontispiece, printed by William Ponsonby in 1590.Spenser's masterpiece is the epic poem The Faerie Queene. The first three books of The Faerie Queene were published in 1590, and a second set of three books were published in 1596. Spenser originally indicated that he intended the poem to consist of twelve books, so the version of the poem we have today is incomplete. Despite this, it remains one of the longest poems in the English language.[14] It is an allegorical work, and can be read (as Spenser presumably intended) on several levels of allegory, including as praise of Queen Elizabeth I. In a completely allegorical context, the poem follows several knights in an examination of several virtues. In Spenser's "A Letter of the Authors," he states that the entire epic poem is "cloudily enwrapped in allegorical devises," and that the aim behind The Faerie Queene was to "fashion a gentleman or noble person in virtuous and gentle discipline.”

Shorter poems[edit]Spenser published numerous relatively short poems in the last decade of the sixteenth century, almost all of which consider love or sorrow. In 1591, he published Complaints, a collection of poems that express complaints in mournful or mocking tones. Four years later, in 1595, Spenser published Amoretti and Epithalamion. This volume contains eighty-nine sonnets commemorating his courtship of Elizabeth Boyle. In "Amoretti," Spenser uses subtle humour and parody while praising his beloved, reworking Petrarchism in his treatment of longing for a woman. "Epithalamion," similar to "Amoretti," deals in part with the unease in the development of a romantic and sexual relationship. It was written for his wedding to his young bride, Elizabeth Boyle. The poem consists of 365 long lines, corresponding to the days of the year; 68 short lines, claimed to represent the sum of the 52 weeks, 12 months, and 4 seasons of the annual cycle; and 24 stanzas, corresponding to the diurnal and sidereal hours.[citation needed] Some have speculated that the attention to disquiet in general reflects Spenser's personal anxieties at the time, as he was unable to complete his most significant work, The Faerie Queene. In the following year Spenser released "Prothalamion," a wedding song written for the daughters of a duke, allegedly in hopes to gain favour in the court.[15]

The Spenserian stanza and sonnet[edit]Spenser used a distinctive verse form, called the Spenserian stanza, in several works, including The Faerie Queene. The stanza's main meter is iambic pentameter with a final line in iambic hexameter (having six feet or stresses, known as an Alexandrine), and the rhyme scheme is ababbcbcc. He also used his own rhyme scheme for the sonnet.

Influences and influenced[edit]Though Spenser was well read in classical literature, scholars have noted that his poetry does not rehash tradition, but rather is distinctly his. This individuality may have resulted, to some extent, from a lack of comprehension of the classics. Spenser strove to emulate such ancient Roman poets as Virgil and Ovid, whom he studied during his schooling, but many of his best-known works are notably divergent from those of his predecessors.[16] The language of his poetry is purposely archaic, reminiscent of earlier works such as The Canterbury Tales of Geoffrey Chaucer and Il Canzoniere of Francesco Petrarca, whom Spenser greatly admired.

Spenser was called a Poets' Poet and was admired by William Wordsworth, John Keats, Lord Byron, and Alfred Lord Tennyson, among others. Walter Raleigh wrote a dedicatory poem to The Faerie Queene in 1590, in which he claims to admire and value Spenser's work more so than any other in the English language. In the eighteenth century, Alexander Pope compared Spenser to "a mistress, whose faults we see, but love her with them all."[17]

A View of the Present State of Ireland[edit]In his work A View of the Present State of Ireland, Spenser devises his ideas to the issues of the nation of Ireland. These views are suspected to not be his own but based on the work of his predecessor, Lord Arthur Grey de Wilton who was appointed Lord Deputy of Ireland in 1580.[18] Lord Grey was a major figure in Ireland at the time and Spenser was influenced greatly by his ideals and his work in the country, as well as that of his fellow countrymen also living in Ireland at the time.[19]

The goal of this piece was to show that Ireland was in great need of reform. Spenser believed that "Ireland is a diseased portion of the State, it must first be cured and reformed, before it could be in a position to appreciate the good sound laws and blessings of the nation".[20] In A View of the Present State of Ireland, Spenser categorises the “evils” of the Irish people into three prominent categories: laws, customs, and religion. These three elements work together in creating the disruptive and degraded people. One example given in the work is the native law system called "Brehon Law" which trumps the established law given by the English monarchy. This system has its own court and way of dealing with infractions. It has been passed down through the generations and Spenser views this system as a native backward custom which must be destroyed.

List of works[edit]Iambicum Trimetrum 1569: Jan van der Noodt's A theatre for Worldlings, including poems translated into English by Spenser from French sources, published by Henry Bynneman in London[21] 1579: The Shepheardes Calender, published under the pseudonym "Immerito"[22] (entered into the Stationers' Register in December[21]) 1590:

The Faerie Queene, Books 1–3 1591:

Complaints, Containing sundrie small Poemes of the Worlds Vanitie (entered into the Stationer's Register in 1590[21]), includes: "The Ruines of Time" "The Teares of the Muses" "Virgil's Gnat" "Prosopopoia, or Mother Hubberds Tale" "Ruines of Rome: by Bellay" "Muiopotmos, or the Fate of the Butterflie" "Visions of the worlds vanitie" "The Visions of Bellay" "The Visions of Petrarch" 1592:

Axiochus, a translation of a pseudo-Platonic dialogue from the original Ancient Greek; published by Cuthbert Burbie; attributed to "Edw: Spenser"[21] but the attribution is uncertain[23] Daphnaïda. An Elegy upon the death of the noble and vertuous Douglas Howard, Daughter and heire of Henry Lord Howard, Viscount Byndon, and wife of Arthure Gorges Esquier (published in London in January, according to one source;[21] another source gives 1591 as the year[22]) 1595:

Amoretti and Epithalamion, containing: "Amoretti"[21] "Epithalamion"[21] Astrophel. A Pastorall Elegie vpon the death of the most Noble and valorous Knight, Sir Philip Sidney. Colin Clouts Come home againe 1596:

Four Hymns (poem)|Fowre Hymnes dedicated from the court at Greenwich;[21] published with the second edition of Daphnaida[22] Prothalamion[21] The Faerie Queene, Books 4–6[21] Babel, Empress of the East – a dedicatory poem prefaced to Lewes Lewkenor's The Commonwealth of Venice, 1599. Posthumous:

1609: Two Cantos of Mutabilitie published together with a reprint of The Fairie Queene[24] 1611: First folio edition of Spenser's collected works[24] 1633: A vewe of the present state of Irelande, a prose treatise on the reformation of Ireland,[25] first published in James Ware's Ancient Irish Chronicles (Spenser's work was entered into the Stationer's Register in 1598 and circulated in manuscript

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Edmund Spenser's Timeline

1552
1552
East Smithfield, London, England
1561
August 14, 1561
Age 9
August 14, 1561
Age 9
August 14, 1561
Age 9
1580
1580
1599
January 13, 1599
Age 47
London, England
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