Spenser, Edmund (15521599)

Spenser, Edmund, author of the “Faërie Queene,” and one of England's greatest poets; details of his life are scanty and often hypothetical; born at London of poor but well-connected parents; entered Pembroke Hall, Cambridge, as a “sizar” in 1569, and during his seven years' residence there became an excellent scholar; took a master's degree, and formed an important friendship with Gabriel Harvey; three years of unsettled life followed, but were fruitful in the production of the “Shepheards' Calendar” (1579), which at once placed him at the head of the English poets of his day; had already taken his place in the best London literary and political circles as the friend of Sir Philip Sidney and Leicester, and in 1580 was appointed private secretary to Lord Grey, then proceeding to Ireland as the Lord Deputy, and although his master soon returned to England Spencer continued to make his home in Ireland, where he obtained some civil appointments, and in 1591 entered into possession of a considerable portion of the forfeited estates of the Earl of Desmond, adjacent to his house, Kilcolman Castle, co. Cork; seems to have been a pretty stern landlord, and, as expounded in his admirable tract, “A View of the Present State of Ireland,” the advocate of a policy of “suppression and repression”; consequently was little loved by the Irish, and on the outbreak of Tyrone's rebellion in 1598 his house was sacked and burned, and he himself forced to flee to London, where he died a few weeks later “a ruined and heart-broken man”; the rich promise of the “Shepheards' Calendar” had been amply fulfilled in the “Complaints,” “Amoretti,” “Colin Clout's Come Home Again,” the “Epithalamium” the finest bridal song in any language, and above all in the six published books of “The Faërie Queene” (1589 and 1596), in which all his gifts and graces as a poet are at their best; “He may be read,” says Professor Saintsbury, “in childhood, chiefly for his adventure; in later youth, for his display of voluptuous beauty; in manhood, for his historical and ethical weight; in age, for all combined” (15521599).

Definition taken from The Nuttall Encyclopædia, edited by the Reverend James Wood (1907)

Spener, Philip Jacob * Spermaceti
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Speculative, The
Spedding, James
Speke, John Banning
Spence, Joseph
Spencer, Herbert
Spencer Gulf
Spener, Philip Jacob
Spenser, Edmund
Spermaceti
Spey
Spezia
Sphinx
Spice Islands
Spinello, Aretino
Spinola, Ambrosio, Marquis of
Spinoza, Benedict
Spinozism
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