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EDMUND SPENSER was born in East Smithfield, London, about the year 1553. In what situation of life his father was does not appear; but he was probably not very wealthy, as his son was, in 1569, admitted a sizer in Pembroke Hall, Cambridge. Spenser, however, in different parts of his works, claims kindred with the Spencers of Althorpe, in Northamptonshire-a claim which seems to have been allowed by that ancient family. He took his bachelor's degree in January, 1572-3, and that of master of arts in 1578. At Cambridge he became acquainted with Gabriel Harvey, with whom he maintained a close intimacy during the rest of his life. The allegation of some of his biographers, that he was an unsuccessful candidate for a fellowship in Pembroke Hall, is now considered to be incorrect. From Cambridge it is supposed he went to reside with some relations in the north; but whether merely as a visitor, or for the purpose of filling some situation, is not known. His continuance there, however, was not of long duration; though long enough, it appears, for him to fall in love. By the advice of his friend Harvey, he was induced, "for special occasions of private affairs, and for his more preferment," as his commentator E. K. says, to leave his residence in the north, and come to London- an event which took place, it is supposed, in 1578.

In the following year, he published his "Shepheards Calender," a series of twelve eclogues, appropriated to, or rather named after, the twelve months of the year, and written in such antiquated diction that it was thought necessary, even at that time, to add an explanation of the obsolete words at the end of each eclogue. This pastoral is not confined to scenes of rural life, to sketches of rustic manners, and to descriptions of the beauties or peculiarities of natural scenery or of particu lar seasons; indeed, they form but a small part of it. Instead of them, Spenser has introduced his shepherds discussing the comparative merits of the Protestant and Romish churchesdisquisitions little favorable to the development of poetical genius, and, in a pastoral, not only out of place, but absurd. He has also made this, as well as almost every other of his productions, the vehicle of panegyric on his sovereign. "The Shepheards Calender," in fact, is very moral, and, for the most part, very dull; possessing little that is tender or beautiful, and affording few indications of that excellence which the author afterwards attained. There are, however, some passages not deficient in accurate and forcible description. Sir Philip Sidney, to whom

it was dedicated, speaks of it in measured terms of praise:— "The Shepheards Calender,'" says he, "has much poetry in he Eclogues indeed worth the reading, if I be not deceived." It obtained some reputation for the author: Abraham Fraunce, a lawyer, a poet, and a friend of Sidney, drew from it part of his illustrations in The Logick of the Law, and it passed through five editions in Spenser's lifetime.

Some curiosity has been excited respecting Spenser's friend and commentator, E. K. That he was not the poet himself, as has been lately suggested, we are bound to believe, from the high strain of eulogium in which he indulges when speaking of Spenser; although the latter evidently thought highly of his own genius. From the circumstance of the name of Mrs. Kerke occurring in one of Spenser's letters to Harvey, in which E. K. is mentioned as desiring his hearty commendations to Harvey, some have conjectured that his name was Kerke. This friend, who says he "was made privy to his counsel and secret meaning in these eclogues," informs us that "Rosalind is a feigned name, which being well ordered, will bewray the very name of his

love and mistress, whom by that name he coloureth." Not being ourselves privy to his secret meaning, and E. K. not having left us a key to it, we are constrained to leave this weighty matter to the curious, who may be disposed to try to order the name rightly.

It appears, from the Epistle of E. K. prefixed to "The Shepheards Calender," that this was not the only poetical work on which the pen of Spenser had then been employed: he expresses a hope that this publication will "occasion him to put forth other excellent works of his which sleep in silence; such as his Dreams,' his 'Legends,' his 'Court of Cupid,' and sundry others." In a note to the third eclogue, he mentions having seen a translation of "Moschus his Idyllion of Wandering Love;" and, in the Argument to the tenth, he alludes to the author's book called "The English Poet;" "which book," he says, "being lately come to my hands, I mind also, by God's grace, upon further advisement, to publish." These "Legends," and "The Court of Cupid," were probably parts of "The Faerie Queene;" the latter, we conceive, was what is now called "The Masque of Cupid," in that work.

By Harvey, Spenser was introduced to Sir Philip (then Mr.) Sidney, by whom he was recommended to the Earl of Leicester. His biographers, however, differ in opinion as to the precise occasion and period of this event. Although it is not a matter of much importance, yet, as his last biographer has rejected, in rather decisive terms, two of the assigned occasions of this introduction, and, as appears to us, on insufficient grounds, we will for a moment advert to it. Mr. Todd, in alluding to a letter addressed by Spenser to Harvey, dated 16th Oct. 1579, in which he speaks of Sir Philip Sidney as a person with whom he was acquainted, adds, that it "affects the credibility of his pretended introduction to Sidney on account of his presentation to him of the Ninth Canto of the First Book of The Faerie Queene;' for it shows that he was known to Sidney previous to the publication of The Shepheards Calender' in 1579. This incontrovertible fact," he subjoins, "refutes the opinion also of a very elegant writer (Mr. Ellis), and of others less known to fame, that the Dedication of The Shepheards Calender' seems to have procured Spenser his first introduction to Sir

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