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solemn pause, he lifted up his hands as the signal, and his head was severed from the body at two blows. Thus fell Sir Walter Raleigh, a sacrifice offered to Spanish resentment, if not to Spanish gold: the glory of his country, and the deepest stain to the ignoble reign in which he was butchered. The body was interred in St. Margaret's church, Westminster, but lady Raleigh preserved the head in a case till her death. Her son, Carew Raleigh, kept it with equal veneration, and with him it was interred.
EDMUND SPENSER was descended of the antient and honourable family of that name, and was born in East Smithfield, by the Tower, about the year
1553. He was admitted as a sizer of Pembroke-hall, Cambridge, in 1569, and took . his degree of Master of Arts in 1576. It is asserted, that he suffered some disappointment at Cambridge, and this seems confirmed by the following curious passage in a letter to him from his friend Gabriel Harvey, printed at the close of Harvey's short, but learned judgment of earthquakes, dated April 7, 1580.
“And wil you needes have my testimoniall of youre old Controller's new behaviour ? A busy and dizy heade; a brazen forehead; a ledden braine ; a woodden wit; a copper face; a stony breast; a factious and elvish heart; a founder of novelties; a confounder of his owne and his friend's good gifts; a morning book-worme ; an afternoone malt-worme ; a right juggler, as ful of his sleights, wyles, fetches, casts of legerdemaine, toyes to mock apes withal, odde shiftes, and knavish practizes, as his skin can holde.”
From university he went to reside in the north, but our information of his mode of life is scanty. In 1579 he published his “Shepheard's Calendar, a pastoral poem of exquisite beauty.
Before the publication of this piece, he had been induced by the advice of Harvey to quit the country, and to remove to London. By the same friend he was introduced to the accomplished Philip Sidney, who recommended him to his uncle, the earl of Leicester, The poet was also invited to the family seat of Sidney, at Penshurst, in Kent, where he was probably employed in some literary service, and at least assisted, we may suppose, the platonic and chivalrous studies of the gallant and learned youth, who had thus kindly noticed him.
By Sidney it is probable that Spenser was introduced to the queen, for, in a letter to his friend Harvey, dated October 16, 1579, the poet says, “ Your desire to heare of my late being with hir maiestie must dye in itselfe.”
In 1580 he accompanied lord Grey, of Wilton, lord lieutenant of Ireland, as his secretary, and returned with him probably in 1582, when that nobleman was recalled.
To the interest of lord Grey, joined to that of the earl of Leicester, and Sir Philip Sidney, Spenser probably owed the grant from queen Elizabeth, of 8028 acres in the county of Cork, part of the forfeited lands of the earl of Desmond. The grant was dated in June, 1586. In October following he lost his friend Sir Philip, whose death he lamented in his elegy, entitled “ Astrophel. After this event he returned to Ireland to cultivate the land assigned to him. The resi
dence of Spenser was at Kilcolman, in the county of Cork ; thus described by Smith-“ Two miles north west of Doneraile, is Kilcolman, a ruined castle of the earls of Desmond; but more celebrated for being the residence of the immortal Spenser, where he composed his divine poem, “The Faerie Queene.” The castle is now almost level with the ground. It was situated on the north side of a fine lake, in the midst of a vast plain, terminated to the east by the county of Waterford mountains, Ballynowra hills to the north ; or, as Spenser terms them, the mountains of Mole ; Nagle mountains to the south ; and the mountains of Kerry to the west. It conimanded a view of above half of the breadth of Ireland and must have been, when the adjacent uplands were wooded, a most pleasant and romantic situation ; from whence, no doubt, Spenser drew several parts of the scenery of his poem. The river Mulla, which he more than once has introduced in his poems, ran through his grounds.'* Here indeed the poet has described himself as keeping his flock under the foot of the mountain Mole, amongst the cool shades of green alders by the shore of Mulla; and charming his oaren pipe (as his custom was) to bis fellow shepherd swains.
In this delightful retreat he was visited by sir
History of the County and City of Cork, vol. I. p. 333.
Walter Raleigh, with whom he had formed an intimacy on his first arrival in Ireland; Raleigh being at that tiine a captain in the queen's army. As Raleigh had greatly contributed by his activity to suppress the rebellion of Desmond, a considerable portion of that nobleman's forfeited property had been granted to him. Whether Raleigh came voluntarily to take a view of his late acquired seignory; or whether he retired from the court of England in consequence of a disagreement with the earl of Essex, which some writers believe ; it appears that his visit to Kilcolman occasioned an event of high importance in the history of literature; the determination of Spenser to prepare his first three books of the Faerie Queen" for immediate publication.
Raleigh being a poet himself, could not but listen with delight to the design which Spenser had formed ; and the latter tells us that Raleigh sitting beside him under the shady alders, on the banks of the Mulla, often" provoked him to play some pleasant fit.”
These two friends returned to England together, and the last ingenious biographer and editor of Spenser says, that he was introduced by Raleigh to the queen, who “ inclined her ear to his simple song,” as the poet modestly denominates his productions. But from the letter to Harvey already mentioned, it appears that Spenser was not unknown to her majesty, having already been formally introduced to her either by his