EDMUND SPENSER (1552 – 1599)

From a passage in one of his sonnets it seems clear that Spenser was born in 1552; and from another passage, in his “Prothalamion”, we can deduce that he was born in London. His parentage is unknown; but, though Spenser claimed kinship with the noble branch of the Spenser family, it is fairly certain that he was a member of some northern plebeian branch. In Ireland Spenser remained for 18 years, serving the English Government in more than one capacity, and seeing his share of the rebellion outrage, and misery that afflicted the unhappy land. In 1589, he visited London to publish the first three books of the Faerie Queene. The first of the poems that have descended to us is The Shepheards Calendar (1579). He wrote a volume of miscellaneous poems, including The Ruins of TimeThe Tears of the MusesMother Hubberd’s Tale, and The Ruins of Rome in 1591; in 1595 he published his Amoretti, eighty-nine Petrarchan sonnets celebrating the progress of his love: Epithalamion, a magni-ficient ode, rapturously jubilant, written in honour of his mariage. In 1596 appeared his Four Hymns and Prothalamion,

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