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Is said to have been descended from an ancient he was a priest and a jesuit, that he came into and respectable family in Norfolk, and being sent England to preach the Catholic religion, and was abroad for his education, became a jesuit at prepared to lay down his life in the cause. On Rome. He was appointed prefect of studies the 20th of February, 1595, he was brought to there in 1585, and, not long after, was sent as a his trial at the King's Bench, was condemned to missionary into England. His chief residence was die, and was executed the next day, at Tyburn. with Anne, Countess of Arundel, who died in the His writings, of which a numerous list is given in Tower of London. Southwell was apprehended the 67th volume of the Gentleman's Magazine in July 1592, and carried before Queen Eliza- together with the preceding sketch of his life, beth's agents, who endeavoured to extort from were probably at one time popular among the him some disclosure of secret conspiracies against Catholics. In a small collection of his pieces the government; but he was cautious at his there are two specimens of his prose composiexamination, and declined answering a number of tions, entitled “ Mary Magdalene's Tears," and ensparing questions. Upon which, being sent the “ Triumph over Death,” which contain some to prison, he remained near three years in strict eloquent sentences. Nor is it possible to read confinement, was repeatedly put to the rack, and the volume without lamenting that its author as he himself affirmed, underwent very severe should have been either the instrument of bigotry, tortures no less than ten times. He owned that or the object of persecution.
(Born, 1560. Died about 1592.] Was a native of London, and studied the com- to have devoted himself to lighter studies. Mr. mon law, but from the variety of his productions Steevens has certainly overrated his sonnets in (Vide Theatrum Poetarum, p. 213) would seem preferring them to Shakspeare's.
THE NYMPHS TO THEIR MAY QUEEN.
From England's Helicon.
With fragrant flowers we strew the way,
Now the air is sweeter than sweet balm,
ACTÆon lost, in middle of his sport,
Now birds record new harmony,
* [The word Sonnet, in its laxest sense, means a small copy of verses; in its true and accepted sense, a poem of fourteen lines, written in heroic verse, with alternate and couplet rhymes. Watson's sonnets are all of eighteen
lines: and perhaps in their superfluity of four, Steevens thought their excellence to consist ; for as he loved quan. lity in Shakspeare, he would like bulk in another.]
(Born, 1553. Died, 1598-9.)
DESCENDED from the ancient and honourable however, so many admirers, as to pass through family of Spenser, was born in London, in East five editions in Spenser's lifetime ; and though Smithfield, by the Tower, probably about the Dove, a contemporary scholar, who translated year 1553. He studied at the university of them into Latin, speaks of the author being Cambridge, where it appears, from his corre unknown, yet when Abraham Fraunce, in 1583,
spondence, that he formed an intimate friendship published his “ Lawyer's Logicke,” he illustrated | with the learned, but pedantic, Gabriel Harvey*. his rules by quotations from the Shepheard's Spenzer, with Sir P. Sydney, was, for a time, a
Calendar. convert to Harvey's Utopian scheme for changing Pope, Dryden, and Warton have extolled those the measures of English poetry into those of the eclogues, and Sir William Jones has placed Greeks and Romans.
Spenser and Gay as the only genuine descendSpenser even wrote trimeter iambicst suffi ants of Theocritus and Virgil in pastoral poetry. ciently bad to counte iance the English hexame This decision may be questioned. Favourable ters of his friend; but the Muse would not as the circumstances of England have been to suffer such a votary to be lost in the pursuit the development of her genius in all the higher after chimeras, and recalled him to her natural walks of poetry, they have not been propitious strains. From Cambridge Spenser went to reside to the humbler pastoral muse. Her trades and with some relations in the north of England, manufactures, the very blessings of her wealth and and, in this retirement, conceived a passion for industry, threw the indolent shepherd's life to a a mistress, whom he has celebrated under the distance from her cities and capital, where poets, name of Rosalind. It appears, however, that she with all their love of the country, are generally trified with his affection, and preferred a rival. found; and impressed on the face of the country,
Harvey, or Hobinol (by so uncouth a name and on its rustic manners, a gladsome, but not did the shepherd of hexameter memory, the romantic appearance. learned Harvey, deign to be called in Spenser's In Scotland, on the contrary, the scenery, eclogues), with better judgment than he had rural economy of the country, and the songs of shown in poetical matters, advised Spenser to the peasantry, sung, at the watching of the leave his rustic obscurity, and introduced him to fold,” presented Ramsay with a much nearer Sir Philip Sydney, who recommended him to his image of pastoral life, and he accordingly painted uncle, the Earl of Leicester. The poet was
it with the fresh feeling and enjoyment of nature. invited to the family seat of Sydney at Penshurst, Had Sir William Jones understood the dialect of in Kent, where he is supposed to have assisted that poet, I am convinced that he would not the Platonic studies of his gallant and congenial have awarded the pastoral crown to any other friend. To him he dedicated his “ Shepheard's author. Ramsay's shepherds are distinct, intelCalendar.” Sydney did not bestow unqualified ligible beings, neither vulgar, like the caricatures praise on those eclogues ; he allowed that they of Gay, nor fantastic, like those of Fletcher. contained much poetry, but condemned the They afford such a view of a national peasantry antique rusticity of the language. It was of these as we should wish to acquire by travelling among eclogues, and not of the Fairy Queen (as has them; and form a draft entirely devoted to been frequently misstated), that Ben Jonson rural manners, which for truth, and beauty, and said, that the author in affecting the ancients extent, has no parallel in the richer language had written no language at all 1. They gained, of England. Shakspeare's pastoral scenes are
only subsidiary to the main interest of the plays * For an account of Harvey the reader may consult Wood's Athen. Oxon. vol. i. Fasti col. 128,
where they are introduced. Milton's are rather † A short example of Spenser's Iambicum Trimetrum pageants of fancy, than pictures of real life. The will suffice, from a copy of verses in one of his own letters shepherds of Spenser's Calendar are parsons in to Harvey.
disguise, who converse about heathen divinities Cnbappy verse! the witness of my unhappy state, and points of Christian theology. Palinode deMake thyself fluttering wings of thy fast flying
fends the luxuries of the Catholic clergy, and Tbought, and fly forth unto my love, wheresoever she be Whether lying restless in heavy bed, or else
Piers extols the purity of Archbishop Grindal ; | Sitting so cheerless at the cheerful board, or else
concluding with the story of a fox, who came to Playing alone, careless on her heavenly virginals. the house of a goat, in the character of a pedlar, [1 Ben Jonson's Works, by Gifford, vol. ix. p. 215.]
and obtained admittance by pretending to be a
sheep. This may be burlesquing Æsop, but casting her first look of regard on the poet, that certainly is not imitating Theocritus. There are was destined to inspire her future Milton, and fine thoughts and images in the Calendar, but, the other on the maritime hero, who paved on the whole, the obscurity of those pastorals is the way for colonising distant regions of the rather their covering, than their principal, defect. earth, where the language of England was to be
In 1580, Arthur Lord Grey, of Wilton, went spoken, and the poetry of Spenser to be admired. as lord lieutenant to Ireland, and Spenser accom- Raleigh, whom the poet accompanied to England, panied him as his secretary; we may suppose by introduced him to Queen Elizabeth. Her majesty, the recommendation of the Earl of Leicester, in 1590-1, conferred on him a pension of 501. a Lord Grey was recalled from his Irish govern- year. In the patent for his pension he is not ment in 1582, and Spenser returned with him to styled the laureat, but his contemporaries have England, where, by the interest of Grey, Leicester, frequently addressed him by that title., Mr. Maand Sydney, he obtained a grant from Queen lone's discovery of the patent for this pension Elizabeth of 3028 acres in the county of Cork, refutes the idle story of Burleigh's preventiug the out of the forfeited estates of the Earl of Des- royal bounty being bestowed upon the poet, by mond. This was the last act of kindness which asking if so much money was to be given for a Sydney had a share in conferring on him : he song; as well as that of Spenser's procuring it died in the same year, furnishing an almost soli- at last by the doggrel verses, tary instance of virtue passing through life un
I was promised, on a time, calumniated.
To have reason for my rhyme, &c. Whether Sydney was meant or not, under the character of Prince Arthur in the Fairy Queen, Yet there are passages in the Fairy Queen which we cannot conceive the poet, in describing heroic unequivocally refer to Burleigh with severity. excellence, to have had the image of Sir Philip The coldness of that statesman to Spenser most Sydney long absent from his mind.
probably arose from the poet's attachment to By the terms of the royal grant, Spenser was
Lord Leicester and Lord Essex, who were each obliged to return to Ireland, in order to cultivate successively at the head of a party—opposed to the the lands assigned to him. His residence at Lord Chancellor. After the publication of the Kilcolman, an ancient castle of the Earls of Fairy Queen, he returned to Ireland, and, during Desmond, is described by one* who had seen its his absence, the fame which he had acquired by that ruins, as situated on the north side of a fine lake, poem (of which the first edition, however, conin the midst of a vast plain, which was termi- tained only the first three books) induced his pubnated to the east by the Waterford mountains, lisher to compile and reprint his smaller piecest. on the north by the Ballyhowra hills, and by the He appears to have again visited London about the Nagle and Kerry mountains on the south and end of 1591, as his next publication, the Elegy on east. It commanded a view of above half the Douglas Howard, daughterof Henry Lord Howard, breadth of Ireland, and must have been, when is dated January 1591-2. From this period there the adjacent uplands were wooded, a most roman- is a long interval in the history of Spenser, which tic and pleasant situation. The river Mulla, was probably passed in Ireland, but of which we which Spenser has so often celebrated, ran through have no account. He married, it is conjectured, his grounds. In this retreat he was visited by in the year 1594, when he was past forty; and it Sir Walter Raleigh, at that time a captain in the appears from his Epithalamium, that the nuptials queen's army. His visit occasioned the first re- were celebrated at Cork. In 1596, the secon solution of Spenser to prepare the first books of part of the Fairy Queen appeared, acompanied the Fairy Queen for immediate publication. by a new edition of the first. Of the remaining Spenser has commemorated this interview, and six books, which would have completed the poet's the inspiring influence of Raleigh's praise, under design, only fragments have been brought to the figurative description of two shepherds tuning light; and there is little reason to presume that their pipes, beneath the alders of the Mulla ;- they were regularly furnished. Yet Mr. Todd a fiction with which the mind, perhaps, will be has proved that the contemporaries of Spenser much less satisfied, than by recalling the scene
believed much of his valuable poetry to have as it really existed. When we conceive Spenser been lost, in the destruction of his house in reciting his compositions to Raleigh, in a scene
Ireland. so beautifully appropriate, the mind casts a In the same year, 15.96, he presented to the pleasing retrospect over that influence which the queen his “ View of the State of Ireland,” which enterprise of the discoverer of Virginia, and the remained in manuscript, till it was published by genius of the author of the Fairy Queen, have Sir James Ware, in 1633. Curiosity turns naturespectively produced on the fortune and language
+ Viz. 1. The Ruins of Time.-2. The Tears of the Muses. of England. The fancy might even be pardoned
-3. Virgil's Gnat.-4. Prosopopoin, or Mother Hubbard's for a momentary superstition, that the Genius of Tale.-5. The Ruins of Rome, by Bellay.-6. Muiopottheir country hovered, unseen, over their meeting, mos, or the Tale of the Butterfly.--7. Visions of the
World's Vanitie. --8. Bellay's Visions. - 9. Petrarch's * Smith's History of Cork, quoted by Todd.
rally to the prose work of so old and eminent a returned to Ireland, and in the following year poet, which exhibits him in the three-fold cha was destined to an honourable situation, being racter of a writer delineating an interesting recommended by her majesty to be chosen sheriff country from his own observation, of a scholar for Cork. But in the subsequent month of that tracing back its remotest history, and of a poli- year, Tyrone’s rebellion broke out, and occasioned tician investigating the causes of its calamities. his immediate flight, with his family, from Kil. The antiquities of Ireland have been since more colman. In the confusion attending this calamisuccessfully explored; though on that subject tous departure, one of his children was left beSpenser is still a respectable authority. The great hind, and perished in the conflagration of his value of the book is the authentic and curious house, when it was destroyed by the Irish insurpicture of national manners and circumstances
gents. Spenser returned to England with a heart which it exhibits ; and its style is as nervous, as broken by distress, and died at London on the the matter is copious and amusing. A remark- | 16th of January, 1598-9. He was buried, accordable proposal, in his plan for the management of ing to his own desire, near the tomb of Chaucer; Ireland, is the establishment of the Anglo-Saxon and the most celebrated poets of the time (Shaksystem of Borseholders. His political views
speare was probably of the number,) followed his are strongly coercive, and consist of little more
hearse and threw tributary verses into his grave. than stationing proper garrisons, and abolishing Mr. Todd, the learned editor of his works, has ancient customs: and we find him declaiming proved it to be highly improbable that he could bitterly against the Irish minstrels, and seriously have died, as has been sometimes said, in absodwelling on the loose mantles, and glibs, or long lute want. For he had still his pension and hair, of the vagrant poor, as important causes of many friends, among whom Essex provided nobly moral depravity. But we ought not to try the for his funeral. Yet that he died broken-hearted plans of Spenser by modern circumstances, nor
and comparatively poor, is but too much to be his temper by the liberality of more enlightened feared, from the testimony of his contemporaries, times. It was a great point to commence earnest Camden and Jonson. A reverse of fortune might discussion on such a subject. From a note in crush his spirit without his being reduced to one of the oldest copies of this treatise, it appears absolute indigence, especially with the horrible that Spenser was at that time clerk to the coun recollection of the manner in which his child had cil of the province of Ulster. In 1597, our poet | perished.
FAIRY QUEEN, BOOK I., CANTO III.
UNA FOLLOWED BY THE LION.
Yet she, most faithful lady, all this while
Forsaken, woeful, solitary maid,
Far from all people's preace, as in exile,
In wilderness and wasteful deserts stray'd,
To seek her knight, who, subtily betray'd Nought is there under Heaven's wide hollowness, Through that late vision, which the enchanter That moves more dear compassion of mind,
wrought, Than beauty brought t'unworthy wretchedness, Had her abandon'd : she, of nought afraid, Through envy's snares, or fortune's freaks unkind. Through woods and wasteness wide him daily sought; I, whether lately throngh her brightness blind, Yet wished tidings none of him unto her brought. Or through allegiance and fast feälty, Which I do owe unto all womankind,
One day, nigh weary of the irksome way, Feel my heart pierced with so great agony, From her unhasty beast she did alight; When such I see, that all for pity I could die. And on the grass her dainty limbs did lay
In secret shadow, far from all men's sight; And now it is impassioned so deep,
From her fair head her fillet she undight, For fairest Una's sake, of whom I sing,
And laid her stole aside : her angel's face, That my frail eyes these lines with tears do steep, As the great eye of heaven, shined bright, To think how she through guileful handelling, And made a sunshine in a shady place ; Though true as touch, though daughter of a king, Did never mortal eye behold such heavenly grace. Though fair as ever living wight was fair, Though nor in word nor deed ill meriting, It fortuned, out of the thickest wood, Js from her knight divorced in despair,
A ramping lion rushed suddenly, And her due love's derived to that vile witch's Hunting full greedy after savage blood; share.
Soon as the royal virgin he did spy,