Edmund Spenser (?1552-99)


Life
b. London, ed. Pembroke College, Cambridge; published The Shepheardes Calendar (1579); came to Ireland as secretary to Lord Grey, arriving at Dublin 12 Aug. 1580 in wake of three year Desmond Rebellion, the effects of which he noted in the people who looked like ‘anatomies of death’; remaining as clerk of chancery and later clerk to Munster plantation council, 1586; by article of 22 June 1586, received entitlement to 3,028 acres, acquiring castle, manor, and lands of Kilcolman [nr. Buttevant], the former seat of the Desmonds; settled there and became sherriff of Cork, 1598, a neighbour to Sir Walter Raleigh [on 40,000 acres; var. Ralegh ODNB &c.]; accompanied Raleigh back to London on his suggestion;
 
a legal suit was lodged against him by Lord Roche, Viscount Fermoy; received an audience with Queen Elizabeth; issued The Faerie Queene (I-III, 1590; I-VI, 1596), both editions in close assocation with William Ponsonby; Spenser received a royal pension of 50 for The Faerie Queene - which contains Irish place-names, transposed, and possibly Irish stories; also issued Amoretti and Epithalamion (1595); he wrote A View of the Present State of Ireland, prob. written in 1596 (pub. by Sir Thomas Ware, 1633), in the form of a dialogue between Eudoxus and Irenius about the best plan of government for Ireland and her people from the view-point of the Elizabethan colonist; considered contrary to royal policy and left unpublished;
 
Spenser was burnt out of Kilcolman castle by the súgan [straw] Earl of Desmond, a confederate of Hugh O’Neill, on 15 Oct. 1598 [var. the local McSheehy clan]; his infant son died in the flames acc. Ben Jonson’s report to Drummond of Hawthornden; escaped to Cork, and returned to England destitute, Dec. 1598; 1599, died shortly after at Westminster, on 13 Jan. 1599; bur. Westminster Abbey; an effigy [funerary statue] of his widow, and the second wife of Sir Robert Tynte, is exposed in Kilcredan Church nr. Youghal; “A Briefe Note of Ireland” [1598], an MS in the State Papers calling for the extermination of Irish rebels and long enjoyed a disputed attribution to Spenser, though prob. by Lord Grey; a son of Spenser fought on the Royalist side in the Cromwellian War; there is a fiction-life by Robert Welch [q.v.] and a verse biography by Seán Lysaght [q.v.]. ODNB NCBE OCEL FDA OCIL
 
See “Spenser Genealogy”, in R. Crofton Croker, Researches in the South of Ireland [... &c.] (1824) - attached.

On the use of the word “commodious” by Spencer and other English colonists such as Fynes Moryson, and its echo on the first page of Finnegans Wake, see under Matthew Cary, infra.
 
 
The Kinnoull Portrait
Kilcolman Castle
The Plimpton Portrait
— images from Andrew Hadfield, Spenser: A Life (Oxford 2012)

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Works

See full-text version of A Veue of The Present State of Ireland, Discoursed by way of a dialogue betwene Eudoxus and Irenius [written 1596], in RICORSO Library, “Irish Classics”, [infra] - or extracts from A View of the State of Ireland [pub. 1633], ed. C. L. Renwick (1970), under Quotations [infra].


Poetry (collected edns.)
  • The Works of that Famous English Poet Mr Edmund Spenser (London 1679);
  • John Hughes, ed., Works (1714);
  • Henry John Todd, ed., Works (1805);
  • Francis J. Child, ed., Poetical Works (Boston 1855);
  • John Payne Collier, ed., Poetical Works (London 1862);
  • Richard Morris & John W. Hales, eds., Works (London 1869);
  • Alexander B. Grosart, ed., Complete Works in Verse and Prose (London 1882-84);
  • W. B. Yeats, ed., ed., Poems of Spenser (Edinburgh, T. C. & E. C. Jack [1906]);
  • R. E. Neil Dodge, ed., Complete Poetical Works (Cambridge Mass., 1908);
  • J. C. Smith & Ernest De Selincourt, eds., The Poetical Works (London 1912);
  • W. L. Renwick, ed., The Works (Oxford 1930-32);
  • Richard A. McCabe, ed., intro., & annot., Edmund Spenser:The Shorter Poems (Harmonsworth: Penguin 1999), xxi, 780pp. [There is a Yale edition of the poems, 1989.]
 
Prose (Irish works - viz., A Viewe […; &c.]
  • James Ware, ed., A View of the Present State of Ireland (Dublin: Soc. of Stationers 1633) [details];
  • W. L. Renwick, ed., A View of the Present State of Ireland (London: Scolartis Press 1934), and Do. [rep. edn.] (Oxford: Clarendon 1970), and Do. Andrew Hadfield & Willy Maley, eds., A View of the State of Ireland (Oxford Blackwell 1997), xxvi, 197pp. [rep. of Sir James Ware’s edn. of 1633 taking the 1809 Hibernia Press edn. of same as copytext];
  • J. C. Smith, ed., The Faerie Queene, 2 vols. (Oxford: Clarendon 1909);
  • W. B. Yeats, ed., The Poems of Spenser (1906);
  • Rudolf Gottfried, ed., A Viewe […; &c.], in “Prose Works”, The Works of Edmund Spenser: A Variorum Edition, Vol. 10 (Yale UP 1949) [details].

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Bibliographical details
A View of the State
of Ireland, Written dialogue-wide betweene Eudoxius and Irenaeus, by Edmund Spenser Esq., in the yeare 1596; Whereunto is added the History of Ireland, by Edmund Campion, sometime fellow of St. John’s College in Oxford; published by Sir James Ware, Knight; Dublin: printed by the Dublin Society of Stationers, M.DC.XXXIII [1633]; monumental early renaissance titlepage frame with triple-columns dupporting irregular pediment, floral; Dedication to the Right Honorable THOMAS Lo. Viscount Wentworth, Lo. Depvty Generall of Ireland, Lo. President of his Maiesties Council established in the North Parts of England, [susbscribed Sir James Ware]; Preface by Ware (3-[5]); Title above text, [‘A View … &c.] Written Dialogue-wise between Eudoxous and Irenaeus, By Edmund Spenser Esq in the year 1596 [1-119pp.]: Eudoxus: ‘But if that Countrey of Ireland, whence you lately came, bee of of goodly and commodious a foyle as you report, I wonder that no courfe is taken for the turning thereof to good ufes, and reducing that nation to beter government and civility [… &c.]; Note: at the end are added ‘Certaine verfes of Mr Edmund Spenfers, Out of the fourth Book of the Faerie Queene, Canto XI, concerning the rivers of Ireland [‘Ne thence the Irish Rivers absent were, / Sith no leese famous then the rest they be …]; Out of the feventh Book of the Faerie Queene, Cant. VI [‘Eftsoones the time and place appointed were, / Where alll both heavenly Power, and earthly wights / Before great Natures prefence fhould appeare …’]; also, To the Right honourable Thomas Earle of Ormond and Ossory; To the most renowned and valiant Lord, Arthur Lord Grey of Wilton, Knight of the noble order of the Garter, &c.; also To the right noble Lord and most valiant Captaine, Sir Iohn Norris, Knight, Lord Preside of Mounster; ‘A translations made ex tempore by Mr Edmund Spenser up[on] this distich, written on a Booke belonging to the right honorable Richard Earl of Corke; Verses upon the said Earles Lute’; [Pt. II] Campions Historie of Ireland, The First Book, etc.; , pp1-138 [finis.] [This account from [See Bradshaw's Catalogue of Irish Books in Cambridge Univ. Library.] NOTE: Although unprinted, the Viewe was entered in the register of the Company of Stationers by the printer Matthew Lowndes on 14 April 1598. It was afterwards published in 1633 by Sir James Ware using the manuscript copy in the possession of Archbishop Ussher along with one other - neither being the copy which later came into the TCD Library, or that held in the State Papers Collection of the Public Records Offfice as S.P. 63/202/Pt. 4, no.58). Ware’s edition is printed along with works on Ireland by Edmund Campion and Meredith Hanmer, together with a brief continuation of the latter written by Lord Marlborough (as Marleburrough). Some editions omit one or all of the other authors [vide supra]. The book was published in Dublin with later issues following of the same year; 20 MS copies of A View also survive; references to Spenser in Anglo-Irish novels include Maria Edgeworth (Castle Rackrent), Lady Morgan (O’Donnell) and Robert Welch ( The Kilcolman Notebook).

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Rodolf Gottfried, ed., Spenser’s Prose Works, in Variorum Edition of the Works of Edmund Spenser [Vol 10] (Baltimore 1949) - CONTENTS: ‘Spenser’s Letters’ [1-19]; ‘Axiochus’ [19-38]; A View &c. [39-232]; A Briefe Note of Ireland [233] Appendix III (Vol. 10), contains notes on A View; General Criticism; Date and Place of Composition; the text; Smerick, 1580 [424-30]; prefatory matter from Ware’s edn. of A View, 1633 [492-532], and commentary on A Briefe Note of Ireland [533-37]. Under General Criticism are cited: Geoffrey Keating, pp.1, 3, 5 [‘no historian … has [so] continuously sought to cast reproach and blame both on the old foreign settlers and on the native Irish’]; Roderick O’Flaherty, Ogygia, Hely trans. 1793, pp.2, 285, 288 [‘We are astonished at the politician’s puerility in history’; Todd; Church; Grosart; Merrill; Corington[?]; de Selincourt; Legouis [‘Whatever we may think of the system of pacification recommended, of the conquest by sword and famine that he advocates, he shows himself a keen observer of men and customs …’]; Jones; Davis; Renwick [pref. ed. of View]; Black; Gottfried; Jenkins [PMLA]; Roland Smith [JEGP]. Ware’s edn. of View [ ] &c., copied from Ussher’s manuscript copy ex bibliotecha Reverendissimi in Christo patris D. Iacobi Usserij [Ussher], archep. Armachani [the editor shows that it is not the edition which was found in TCD five years after Ussher’s death.] See also notes on Spenser’s discussion of Smerick, 3355-88; viz., a massacre of Spanish and Italian ‘filibusters’ [according to Renwick], at the garrison of Smerick, Co. Kerry, on 9 Nov. 1588; Renwick endorses the excuse of Grey on the same grounds as Henry V massacre at Agincourt, and Napoleon’s at Acre [527]; Alfred O’Rahilly writes, ‘It is so hard for Spenser’s editors to believe that the poet should combine with Grey […] to hide the infamy which saved Ireland for the Empire’ [528]. On balance the eds. conclude that Spenser was present; Irenaeus in View declares ‘myself as being as near them as anye’ when the execution parties went to work. Vol. 11 is a Life of Spenser by Alexander C. Judson (1945). [SOURCES of Variorum text]: The Axiochus of Plato translated by Edmund Spenser, ed. Frederick Morgan Padelford (Baltimore 1934). Incls. edns. of A View of the Present State of Ireland, [WARE 1] as The Historie of Ireland, ed. Sir James Ware (Dublin 1633); A View of the State of Ireland (Dublin 1763); Ancient Irish Histories, ed. Sir James Ware (Dublin 1809); [1860] A Collection of Tracts … Illustrative … of Ireland (Dublin 1860); [MORLEY] Morley, Ireland under Elizabeth and James I, ed. Henry Morley (London 1890); [RENWICK] Renwick, A View of the Present State of Ireland, ed. W. L. Renwick (OUP 1934; [1970]). For fuller details of the Variorum Edition (1945), see infra.

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A Variorum Edition of The Works of Edmund Spenser, ed. Edwin Greenlaw, Charles Grosvenor Osgood, Frederick Morgan Padelford & Ray Heffner [who originally undertook the edn.], 11 vols (OUP & Johns Hopkins UP 1932-49; 4th imp. 1966): Vol I, The Faerie Queene. Note pp.498-500, citation from Edward Dowden, Transcripts and Studies, pp.315-20, dealing with ‘the legend of St George as accepted by artists of the middle ages’, but making no reference to Ireland [FQ Bk. I]; Vol 10, Spenser’s Prose Works, spec. ed., Rodolf Gottfried (1949) [supra].

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Criticism

The Irish Context
  • David Comyn, trans., Geoffrey Keating, History of Ireland [Foras Feasa ar Eirinn] (1902).
  • P. W. Joyce, ‘Spenser’s Irish Rivers’, in Frazer’s Magazine, XVII [n.s.] (1878), rep. in Wonders of Ireland (1911).
  • T. Keightley, ‘Spenser the Poet of Ireland’, in Notes & Queries, VII, ser. iv (1871).
  • Eugene O’Curry, Manners and Customs of the Ancient Irish (1873).
  • O’Curry, Manuscript Materials of Irish Hist., 1861).
  • Roderic O’Flaherty, Ogygia, James Hely, trans. (1793), Vol. II, Pt. 3.
  • Standish J. O’Grady, History of Ireland, Vol. I (1878-80).
  • Standish H. O’Grady, Silva Gadelica II (1892).
  • W. H. Welply, ‘Family and Descendants of Edmund Spenser’, Cork Historical and Archaelological Journal, XXVIII (1922).
  • P. Wilson, The Beginnings of Modern Ireland (Dublin & London 1919).
  • H. Wood Guide to Public Records of Ireland (1919).
  • W. B. Yeats, ‘Edmund Spenser, in The Cutting of an Agate (Macmillan 1919).
  • W. B. Yeats, ‘Edmund Spenser’ [essay of 1902 in IX sections], rep. in Essays and Introductions (London & NY: Macmillan 1961), pp.356-83.
  • Eamon Grennan, ‘Language and Politics: A Note on Some Metaphors in Spenser’s View’, Spenser Studies, 3 (1982), pp.99-110.
  • Seamus Deane, Civilians and Barbarians [1983 pamph.] (Ireland’s Field Day, Hutchinson, 1985).
  • Ciaran Brady, ‘Spenser’s Irish Crisis: Humanism and Experience in the 1590s’, Past and Present, 111 (May 1986), pp.17-49.
  • Nicholas Canny and Ciaran Brady, ‘Debate: Spenser’s Irish Crisis: Humanism and Experience in the 1590s’, Past and Present 120 (August 1988), pp.201-15.
  • Andrew Hadfield, ‘The English Conception of Ireland c.1540-1600, with special reference to the works of Edmund Spenser’ (D.Phil. Thesis UUC 1988), vii, 669pp..
  • David Cairns & Shaun Richards, Writing Ireland: Colonialism, Nationalism and Culture (Manchester UP 1988), c.p.8.
  • Richard McCabe, ‘The Fate of Irena: Spenser and Political Violence’, in Patricia Coughlan, ed., Spenser and Ireland: An Interdisciplinary Perspective (Cork,1989), pp.109-25.
  • Anne Fogarty, ‘The Colonization of Language, narrative Strategies in A View of the Present State of Ireland and The Faerie Queene, Book VI’, in Coughlan, ed., op. cit. (1989), pp.75-108.
  • Clare Carroll, ‘The Construction of Gender and the Cultural and Political Other in The Faerie Queene and A View of the Present State of Ireland, the critics, the context, and the case of Radigund’, Criticism, Vol. XXXII, 2 (1990), pp.163-192.
  • Brendan Bradshaw, Andrew Hadfield and Willy Maley, eds., Representing Ireland: Literature and the Origins of Conflict, 1534-1660 (Cambridge, 1993).
  • Richard Rambuss, Spenser’s Secret Career (Cambridge UP 1993).
  • Gary Waller, Edmund Spenser: A Literary Life (London: Macmillan 1994), 211pp..
  • John Breen, ‘The Empirical Eye: Edmund Spenser’s A View of the Present State of Ireland’, The Irish Review 16 (Autumn/Winter 1994), pp.44-52.
  • Hadfield, Edmund Spenser’s Irish Experience: Wilde Fruit and Salvage Soyl (Oxford: Clarendon Press 1997), 227pp.
  • Willey Maley, Salvaging Spenser: Colonialism, Culture and Identity (Macmillan 1997), 251pp.
  • David Gardiner, ‘To Go There As A Poet Merely: Spenser, Dowden, and Yeats’, in New Hibernia Review, 1, 2 (Summer 1997), pp.112-34.
  • Glenn Hooper, ‘Unsound Plots: Culture and Politics in Spenser’s A View of the Present State of Ireland’, in Éire-Ireland 32, 2&3 (Summer/Autumn 1997), pp.117-36.
  • David J. Baker, Between Nations: Shakespeare, Spenser, Marvell, and the Question of Britain (Stanford UP; Cambridge UP 1998), 221pp.
  • Richard Rambuss, Spenser’s Secret Career (Cambridge UP 1993).
  • Ciaran Brady, The Chief Governors: the rise and fall of reform government in Tudor Ireland, 1536-1588 (Cambridge, 1994).
  • Steven G. Ellis, Tudor Ireland: Crown, Community and the Conflict of Cultures, 1470-1603 (Harlow, 1985).
  • Richard A. McCabe, The Pillars of Eternity: Time & Providence in the “Faerie Queene” [Dublin Studies in Med. & Renaissance Lit. (Dublin: IAP 1989), 256pp.
  • Richard A. McCabe, Edmund Spenser: Poet of Exile [Chatterton Lecture on Poetry, 1991; Proc. of the British Academy, 80] OUP [1991]), 73-103pp. [offprint].
  • Christopher Highley, Shakespeare, Spenser, and the Crisis in Ireland (Cambrige UP 1998), xi, 246pp.
  • Nicholas Canny, Making Ireland British 1580-1650 (OUP [2001]), 633pp. [incls. discussion of Spenser as progenitor of subsequent settlements]
  • David Gardiner, Befitting Emblems of Adversity: A Modern Irish View of Edmund Spenser from W.B. Yeats to the Present (Creighton UP [2001]), xii, 233pp. ill. [ports.].
  • [...]
  • Andrew Hadfield, Spenser: A Life (Oxford: OUP 2012), 656pp. [see note]
  • Oona Frawley, ‘Edmund Spenser and Transhistorical Memory in Ireland’, in Irish University Review, 47, 1 (2017), pp.32-47.

See also Andrew Hadfield, Shakespeare, Spenser and the Matter of Britain (London: Palgrave Macmillan 2005), 220pp.; Christopher Warley, Sonnet Sequences and Social Distinction in Renaissance England (Cambridge UP 2005), xi, 240pp.; Patricia Palmer, ‘“Hungry Eyes” and the Rhetoric of Dispossession: English Writing from Early Modern Ireland’, in A Companion to Irish Literature, ed. Julia M. Wright, 2 vols. (Chichester: Wiley-Blackwell 2010), Chap. 6.

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Reference Works
A. C. Hamilton, The Spenser Encyclopedia [2001], 800pp.; Andrew Hadfield [ed.], The Cambridge Companion to Spenser (Cambridge UP 2001), 278pp.; Andrew Zurcher, Edmund Spenser‘s “The Faerie Queene”: A Reading Guide (Edinburgh UP 2011), 232pp.

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General Sources
Calendars of Carew Manuscripts, 1575-1600, Ed. J. S. Brewer and William Bullen (Lon 1867-73); Disiderata Curiosa Hibernica, ed. J Lodge (Dublin 1772); Calendar of Domestic State Papers, 1581-1590 [n.ed.]; Liber Munerum Publicorum Hiberniae, ed J Lacelles, ‘By Command’ (1824); Calendar of Patent Rolls, Ireland, ed. James Morrin (Dublin 1861-63); Register of Privy Council of Scotland, V (1592-99); Calendar of Scottish State Papers, ed. M. Thorpe (Lon 1858); also Calendar of Spanish State Papers, 1580-86; Calendar of State Papers Relating to Ireland, 1509-1614; State Papers of Lord Burghley, 1571-1596, ed. W. Murdin (London 1740) [see Gottfried, supra].

See also Philip Sydney, ‘Discourse on Irish Affairs’, in K. Duncan-Jones & J. Van Dorsten, eds., Miscellaneous Prose of Sir Phillip Sidney (Oxford: Clarendon Press 1973), pp.3-12; C. McNeill, ed., ‘Lord Chancellor Gerard’s “Notes on Ireland”’ (1577-78), in Analecta Hibernica, 2 (1931), pp.93-291; Mark Netzloff, ‘Forgetting the Ulster Plantation: John Speed’s The Theatre of the Empire of Great Britain (1611) and the Colonial Archive’, in Journal of Medieval and Early Modern Studies, 31, 2 (2001), pp.313-48; Philip Schwyzer, ‘British History and “The British History”: The Same Old Story?’, in David J. Baker & Willy Maley, eds., British Identities and English Renaissance Literature (Cambridge UP 2002), pp.11-23. [Supplied by Thomas Herron, East Carolina Univ., Greenville, NC, USA.]

See “A Synopsis of the Irish Material in Rodulf Gottfried, ed., Prose Works: A View of The Present State of Ireland [ Variorum Edition] - Commentary & Bibliography” [infra].

See also under Sir Philip Sydney and Fynes Moryson, elsewhere on this website.

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Commentary
See separate file [ infra ]

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Quotations
See separate file [ infra ]

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References
Dictionary of National Biography, notes that Spenser claimed relationship to Spencer family of Althorp, describing the ‘sisters three’ as ‘the honour of the noble family/Of which I meanest boast myself to be’, in Colin Clouts. Introduced to service of Earl of Leicester by Harvey [see note, infra]; delivered despatches for Leicester to foreign countries; in View &c., Irenaeus describes what he saw ‘at the execution of a notable traytour at Limmericke, called Murrogh O’Brien’ which occurred 1 July 1577 [but see under Ware, in Gottfried, Comm., infra]. He accompanied Lord Grey to Ireland, 12 Aug. 1580; with Grey on his expedition to Kerry in Nov. 1580, when the Spaniards, who had seized [Fort D’Oro] Smerwick, were captured and executed, and gave vivid account in View of the ensuing desolation in the wake of ‘those warres in Mounster’. Appointed clerk of chancery, 22 Mar 1581; resides with lease of abbey and castle and manor of Enniscorthy, Co. Wexford; transferred to one Richard Synot, 9 Dec. 1581; bought abbey in New Ross; 6 yr. lease on Lord Baltinglass’s house in Dublin, and a lease of New Abbey, Co. Kildare, 1582; commissioner for musters in Co. Kildare; spent days in literary discourse with Dr. Bryskett (vide Discourse of Civill Life, 1606; regarded Irish as a ‘savage nation’ and permanently depressed by scenes in Munster on his arrival; book II of Faerie Queene probably completed in Dublin, the earliest references to Ireland appearing in canto IX, stanzas 13, 16, and 24.). Resigned clerkship of court of chancery, 22 June, 1588; purchased from Bryskett post of clerk of council of Munster, Sir Thom. Norris acting President; Earls of Desmond declared forfeit, 1586; credited with 3028 acres in Articles for the Undertakers which received royal assent 27 June, 1586; on the property was the old castle of Kilcolman, 3 miles from Doneraile; settled there in 1588; accused of intruding on the property of Lord Roche, and of ill-treating servants, tenants, and cattle; quarrel dragged on for five years; Ralegh [sic] visits from Youghal; 11 June, 1594, m. Elizabeth, dg. of James Boyle, kinsman of Richard Boyle, 1st Earl of Cork; ‘Spenser wrote his View altogether from the point of view of the Elizabethan Englishman. He allowed no recognition of Irish claims and rights. English laws were to be enforced and Irish nationality to be uprooted by the sword. Sir James Ware, who first printed the tract, deplored Spenser’s lack of charity, and other Irish writers asserted that [his] harsh sentiments long rendered his name abhorrent to the native population [e.g., Hardiman]. But in his View, Spender acknowledged the defects in the existing English rule and denounced in anticipation of Swift the degeneration of the protestant clergy and the unreadiness of the new settlers to take advantage by right methods of cultivation of the natural wealth of the soil. Spenser contemplated another work on the antiquities of Ireland of which there is no trace.’ appointed Sheriff of Cork, 30 Sept. 1598; according to Ben Jonson, one of his children perished in the flames when Kilcolman castle was burnt by forces of the Sugan Earl of Desmond in the O’Neill rebellion, Oct. 1598; fled to Cork and drew up ‘A Briefe Note of Ireland’, inscribed to the Queen, calling for extermination of ‘these vile caitiffs’; among Irish state papers, a dialogue describing attacks on settlers, in Kings County harvest 1597 - All Saints’ Day 1598, the interlocutors being Pergryn [mod. Peregrine] and Silvyn, names of Spenser’s sons, in the conversational style of View, but probably by a gentleman to whom Spenser confided his opinions (Cal. State Papers, Irish, 1598-99, p.431-33). Died in London, after his arrival there on 16 Jan. 1598-99. Eight documents among Irish State papers bear his signature, 1581-89, one, his reply to commissioners appointed in 1589 to report on the plantation of Munster, is a holography (State Papers, Irish, cxliv. 70; cf. Cal. State Papers, Irish, 1598-99, p.lvii. Bibl. comm. includes sources varied as Aubrey’s Brief Lives (‘some gossip’) and analysis of Faerie Queene in Ruskin’s The Stones of Venice.

Dictionary of National Biography further lists Earls of Leicester, Robert de Beaumont, 1104-1168; Robert de Beaumont, d.1190; Simon of Ontfort, 2nd earl of 2nd creation, d.1265; Robert Dudley, 1st Earl of 4th creation, 1532-1588; Robert Sidney, 1st Earl of 5th creation, 1563-1626; Robert Sidney, 2nd Earl, 1595-1677; Philip Sidney, 3rd Earl, 1619-1698; George Townshend, 1st Earl of 7th creation, 1755-1811.

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R. F. Foster, Modern Ireland (1988), clerk of court of chancery, 1581; granted 3,000 acres, 1586; secretary of council of Munster, 1588; Sheriff of Cork, 1598; saw Kilcolman attacked and burnt in attempt of súgan Earl of Desmond to repossess his forefathers’ lands, Oct. 1598; escaped to London and died three months later; View of the Present State of Ireland (written 1596, published 1633); is that of Elizabethan Englishman, believing Irish nationality had to be uprooted by the sword. (ftn. p.8.)

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Seamus Deane, gen. ed., The Field Day Anthology of Irish Writing (Derry: Field Day 1991), Vol. 1: Intro., 171-74; A View &c. [175-202]; 225, intro. rem. to ‘Colin Clouts Come Home Againe’, ‘Epithalamion’ [227-29]; The Faerie Queene, 229-33; BIOG, 233 [attribs. Vol. 10. of Variorum Ed. to Rudolf Gottfried, ed., Johns Hopkins UP 1932-57; COMM, Paul Alpers, The Poetry of the Faerie Queene (Princeton UP 1967); Stephen Greenblatt, Renaissance Self-Fashioning (Chicago UP 1980)); Nicholas Canny, ‘Edmund Spenser and the Development of an Anglo-Irish Identity’, Yearbook of English Studies, XIII (1983), pp.1-19; Ciaran Brady, ‘Spenser’s Irish Crisis: Humanism and Experience in the 1590s’, Past & Present, No. 111 (May 1986), pp.17-49. REMS at 236 [new English community forcibly justified in]; 801 [Edmund Burke, on Pope’s Iliad III, 1,205-08 [on Helen], ‘I am sure it affects me much more than the minute description which Spenser has given of Belphebe’ (FQ II.iii, 21-31), in Sublime & Beautiful, Pt. V, Sect. V]]; 836 [Burke, ‘the whole spirit of the Revolution in Ireland was not that of the mildest conqueror […] what was done, was not in the spirit of a contest between two religious faction; but between two adverse nations […] If we read Baron Finglass, Spenser, and Sir John Davis [sic], we cannot miss the true genius and policy of the English government […] The original scheme was never deviated from for a single hour. Unheard of confiscations were made in the northern parts upon grounds of plots and conspiracies, never proved … the war of chicane succeeded to the war of arms and of hostile statutes &c.’, 1st Letter to Sir Hercules Langrishe, 1792]; 880 [cited by Hugh MacCurtin, refuting Richard Cox’s Hibernica Anglicana, ‘he liketh Spencer’s View of Ireland, and Sir John Davies’s Discourse, but says at last, that they are rather Commentaries than Histories’; in Briefe Discourse, 1717]; 1001 [Thomas Campbell cites Spenser’s ‘graphic’ description of the city of Cork, ‘the spreading Lee, that like an island fair, Encloseth Cork, with his divided flood’ (FQ IV.ix, 44, 3-4); A Philosophical Survey, 1778]; 1015n., [Maria Edgeworth cites Irenius on ‘an apt cloak for a thief’; FDA ed. notes that the text was probably available to Maria in Ware’s edn. as reprinted in Ancient Irish Histories, 2 vols; text at I, pp.84-87 (rep. Kennikat Press 1970); 1034n. [cited again by Maria Edgeworth, with other Irish histories, old and modern, in Chp. VI of The Absentee, when colambre returns to Ireland]; 1177 [Samuel Ferguson’s ‘Head and Heart’ dialogue refered to Spenser’s form in View; ed. comm. WJ McCormack]; 1274 [Spenser favorite author of William Pitt, acc. Thomas Davis, in ‘Middle Classes’ essay (1839, publ. 1848)]. [Also FDA2, rems. at 721, 825n, 875n.] NOTE The first epigraph to Sigerson’s Bards of the Gael and Gall (1897; 2nd ed. 1907) is a quotation from Spenser’s A View of the Present State of Ireland in which the beauties of Irish poetry are lauded by Iren[a]eus … the imputation seems to be that in the 16th c. the two civilizations come together in mutual literary appreciation … the origin of the tradition of Gael and Gall, a conception very difference from the notion of the Anglo-Irish tradition [Deane, ed.], 721-23; [Deane, ed. FDA]. Note also Spenser; FDA3 notes at 62n, 556, 628, 667, 675, 1351n, 1362. FDA1, p.175, Intro. erroneously refers to vol. IX [err; recte Vol. 10], pp.516-24 [in ‘Printed Editions of the View, 1633-1934’, Appendix III, of Rudolf Gottfried, ed., Prose Works, in Variorum Edition for details of Ware variations from MSS versions [listed by comparison with edition in Huntington Library, Ellesmore MS 7041]; Gottfried notes that Ware’s knowledge of Irish, Irish antiquities and classical knowledge led him to fill manuscript blanks, alter allusions, and remedy inconsist-encies; but also that in a ‘much larger number of cases … Ware made changes for a purpose much less scholarly, he deliberately softened or omitted passages which might be offensive to the Irish and, more particularily, Anglo-Irish feelings in his own time[; t]he cumulative effect is astonishing.’ A footnote refers to Ware’s apolgy for Spenser’s seeming aspersions [Sect. E. of Gottfried Appendix III.]

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Seamus Deane, gen. ed., The Field Day Anthology of Irish Writing, gen. ed. (Derry: Field Day 1991): See also FDA1 section editors Nicholas Canny & Andrew Carpenter, editiorial essay: ‘Early Planters, Spenser and his contemporaries’, REMS, Spenser’s political importance lies in the fact thtat he was the first of his nation to advance a coherent argument for the systematic colonization of ireland by English peop;e … became prime apologist for destruction of Hiberno-Norman civilizations in Ireland; but also the most eleoquent advocate of the civilizing reform that was meant to follow upon lthis destruction; settlers and descendants to be made responsible for the erection of the political, economic and social framework considered necessary to support a civil life and the protestant faith; affected outlook of Anglo-Irish ascendancy [173]; in anon. A Survey of the State of Ireland, anno 1615, the author made his purpose clearer by assuming the initials of Edmund Spenser which imitating the title of his text [Huntington Lib., San marino, California, Ellesmere MS 1746]; Spenser and Anglo-Irish contemporaries best seen as apologists for English rule in Ireland; theme of civilization encourages reader into a feeling of self-righeousness which … pushed to excess, could justify all manner of atrocities [and justify] possession of Irish land in their attempt to improve the country. EXTRACT, Eudox, ‘But if that country of Ireland when you lately come be so goodly and commodious a soil as you report, I wonder no course is taken for the turn thereof to good uses …. [Opening; in Gottfried, l.4ff.] Vol. 2, p.872n; Kilcolman was his seat during his Irish residence, c.1552-99; see also under Sigerson. Lines on Cork, ‘The pleasant Lee that like an island fair/Encloseth Cork with his divided flood.’ Spenser on Irish martial abilities, “very valiaunte and hardye, for the most part great endurours of cold, labour, hunger, and all hardiness, very active and strong of hand, very swift of foote, very vigilaunte and circumspect in their enterprises, very present in perils, very great scorners of death.”

Library of Herbert Bell (Belfast), holds Spenser, [with] Campion, Hanmer & Marleburrough, Ancient Irish Histories 2 vols. (Dublin 1809).

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Emerald Isle Books (Cat. 95), lists Ancient Irish Histories, The Works of Spencer [sic], Campion, Hanmer and Other Histories of Ireland, 2 vols. (Dublin: Hibernia Press 1809), 4o; full cont. Russian lea[f]., spines tooled in gilt and blind, with raised bands, sides with decorative gilt tooling and coronet centerpiece [sic], with monogram XS, &c.

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Notes
Two Cantos of Mutabilitie’ were posthumously discovered and printed for the first time in The Faerie Queene (1611), folio edn.

Knockshegowna: P. A. Sillard’s footnote annotation to “The Fairies of Knockshegowna” in the Poems of Richard D’Alton Williams (Duffy 1894) runs: ‘The name of a Fairy Hill in Lower Ormond, and means Oonagh’s Hill - so called being the fabled residence of Una the Faerie Queene of Spenser.’ (Poems, 1894, p.325, n.)

The Desmond Rebellion (1568-73; 1576-83) decimated Munster; Berlith [sic] in Twilight Lords and more reliably Michael MacCarthy-Murrough reported variously that either 90% of the male inhabitants of Munster or 300,000 (roughly one-third of the entire population of County Cork) died during the famines coinciding with the second rebellion.’ See McCarthy-Murrough, The Munster Plantation: English Migration to Southern Ireland 1583-1641 (OUP 1986). [Information supplied by David Gardiner on Irish Studies List (Virginia).]

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Another State: An anonymous folio work of the title The Present State of Ireland (London: by M.D. for Chr[istopher]. Wilkinson & T. Burrell 1673), written by ‘a private person’, gives a ‘history’ of Ireland from the earliest times to the reign of Charles II. It accounts for the failure of the English to conquer and govern Ireland in terms of the failure to ‘communicate their laws to the rude and barbarous people they conquered’, and attacks the system of giving large plantations to successful soldiers in Ireland, instead of following the Roman custom according to which the like were given ‘honourable offices and triumphs, and not made lords of proprietors of whole kingdoms and provinces’; comments extensively on habits of consumption, including remarks to the effect that ‘both men and women of all sorts are extremely addicted to take tobacco in a most abundant manner’. Includes a list of parliamentary seats, subsidiary payments to the nobility, military, &c.; and an account of the chief towns of Ireland with a map from Historia mundi or Mercator’s Atlas [2nd Edn. London 1637).

Bibl. A copy held in Marsh’s Library was displayed in Exhibition of Irish Books, 1994 (See Hibernia Resurgens [catalogue], ed. Muriel McCarthy and Caroline Sherwood-Smith, 1994.)

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Sir Walter Raleigh (1): Raleigh participated in the English campaign lead by the Lord Deputy Grey de Winton in Ireland during second Desmond uprising, 1579-83; played prominent part in mass-murder of the Papal expeditionary force of some 300 disarmed Spaniards - widely condemned in Europe - who had surrendered at the Dun an Oir fort near Smerwick harbour in November 1580 when Lord Grey ordered the dispatch of all save the officers, whom he kept for ransom. Capt. Mackworth, the other officer who, with Raleigh, oversaw the killings (‘hewing and paunching’ in Raleigh’s account) within the enclosure was later flayed alive by the O’Connors of Offaly. Raleigh impressed Elizabeth by his furious pursuit of the Imokilly rebels between the Blackwater and the Lee and received a reward of 42,000 acres between Lismore and Youghal, together with the governership of Cork and the office of Deputy President of Munster. He greatly increased his wealth by turning the woods on his estate into pipe-staves which he exported to the continent on the strength of a royal monopoly. His ownership of the rights to fish salmon in the tidal waters of the Blackwater and in Youghal Bay passed by sale ot Sir Richard Boyle and thence ot the Duke of Devonshire at Lismore Castle. His associate Edmund Spenser, who was probably at Smerick, was burnt out of Kilcolman Castle by the local clan of McSheehys and died shortly afterwards in London. Raleigh's hopes of regaining his Irish property after the Battle of Kinsale were frustrated by Sir Richard Boyle. Raleigh urges the harshest policies in Ireland and acted a prosecution witness in the treason trial of Essex, resulting in the latter's death on the scaffold in 1601. He himself was beheaded in 1618. (See Barry McLoughlin, review of John Pope Hennessy, Sir Walter Raleigh in Ireland, in Books Ireland, Sept. 2009, p.178; see further under Pope-Hennessy, q.v.)

Raleigh (2): See Sir Thomas Raleigh, K.C.S.I., Irish Politics [Political Studies] ( London: Methuen & Co. 1890), vi, 114pp.

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Karl Marx described Spenser as Elizabeth’s ‘arse-licking poet’ whose remedy for Irish ills of Ireland was mass extermination of the native population.

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Seamus Heaney, “Bog Oak”: ‘[…] Perhaps I just make out / Edmund Spenser, / dreaming sunlight, / encroached upon by // geniuses who creep / “out of every corner / of the woodes and glennes” / towards watercress and carrion.’ (Wintering Out, 1972, p.14.)

Derek Mahon aludes to Spenser in “Beyond Howth Head”: ‘“Lewd libertie”, whose midnight work / Disturbs the peace of Co. Cork // And fired Kilcolman’s windows when / The flower of Ireland looked to Spain, / Come back and be with us again!’ (Poems 1862-1978, 1979, p.52.)

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Secret service: Richard Rambuss, Spenser’s Secret Career (Cambridge UP 1993), argues that Faerie Queene was intended to advertise author’s aptness for secret service, and later poems reflect his disillusion with the Queen when he realises that he is to stay in Ireland.

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Woodlands wild: Spenser was granted 15,000 acres of Irish woodlands (see Eoin Neeson, Irish Trees [2000].)

Andrew Hadfield, Spenser: A Life (Oxford 2012) - publisher's notice: ‘Edmund Spenser's innovative poetic works have a central place in the canon of English literature. Yet he is remembered as a morally flawed, self-interested sycophant; complicit in England's ruthless colonisation of Ireland; in Karl Marx's words, 'Elizabeth's arse-kissing poet' - a man on the make who aspired to be at court and who was prepared to exploit the Irish to get what he wanted. In his vibrant and vivid book, the first biography of the poet for 60 years, Andrew Hadfield finds a more complex and subtle Spenser. How did a man who seemed destined to become a priest or a don become embroiled in politics? If he was intent on social climbing, why was he so astonishingly rude to the good and the great - Lord Burghley, the earl of Leicester, Sir Walter Ralegh, Elizabeth I and James VI? Why was he more at home with 'the middling sort' - writers, publishers and printers, bureaucrats, soldiers, academics, secretaries, and clergymen - than with the mighty and the powerful? How did the appalling slaughter he witnessed in Ireland impact on his imaginative powers? How did his marriage and family life shape his work? Spenser's brilliant writing has always challenged our preconceptions. So too, Hadfield shows, does the contradictory relationship between his between life and his art.’

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