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to reside with some relations in the north of England.
At Cambridge, he had become acquainted with Gabriel Harvey of Trinity-hall, by whose advice he removed, in 1578, to London, Here, Harvey introduced him to sir Philip Sidney, who extended towards him his generous and elevating friendship, and introduced him to the earl of Leices er, who gave him an appointment as agent i France and other parts, though it proved abortive. Soon after, however, or in 1580, lord Grey being appointed lord lieutenant of Ireland, Spencer attended him in quality of secretary ; but his lordship being recalled two years after, Spencer returned with him to England, where he continued till the death of his noble-hearted friend, sir Philip Sidney-a loss he never ceased to lament.
He obtained, in 1586, a grant of above 3000 acres out of the forfeited lands of the earl of Desmond, which, as he was obliged by his patent to cultivate, caused his removal to Ireland. His residence was at the castle of Kilcolman, in the county of Cork, where he was visited by sir Walter Ralegh, in whose company he came to England, and by whom he was introduced at court. Elizabeth granted him a pension of 501. a year, as laureat, though he is not thus styled in the patent.
The following year he returned to Ireland; where, in 1594, he married. In 1596, he again visited England and presented, as is inferred by Mr. Todd, his “ View of the State of Ireland," to the queen. This is his only prose production, for which the queen, it appears, designed to reward him, as it justly merited; for a letter from Elizabeth to the Irish government, discovered by Mr. Malone, dated the last day of September; 1598, recommended him to be sheriff of Cork. But the rebellion of the earl of Tyrone breaking out next month, Spencer was forced to fly from the rebels, who burnt his house, his papers, and one of his children. He arrived in England, with a broken heart, and died in the January following at an inn, or lodging house in King's street, Westminster; not in King's street, Dublin, according to the common accounts. The researches of Mr. Todd in his late edition of Spencer's works, have also disproved most of the anecdotes which have been related of him. Thus, it is not true, that he was introduced to Sidney by means of the stanzas describing de spair--that he sent to the queen the lines about rhyine and reason, complaining that her intended bounty was withheld from himlastly, that his merit was left unrewarded. That he died comparatively poor, having lost his large estate in Ireland, is unquestionably true; but he had still his pension from the queen, no inconsiderable sum in those days, and had, besides, abundant friends. Mr. Todd observes," the burial having been ordered by the earl of Essex, may surely be considered as a mark of that nobleman's respect for the poet, without proving that the poet was starved. Of the man who had thus perished, a remarkable funeral might seem almost mockery; and yet the pall was held up by some of the poets of the time."
The “ View of the State of Ireland," was called forth by the peculiar circumstances of that country in the time of the rebellion. The fate of Spenser, in respect of his possessions in Ireland, was necessarily involved in that of the country, and he could not be indifferent to the probable effects of the prevalent commotions. With a view to obviate these effects, he undertook to sketch and perfect a plan for the reduction of the island, within the short space of two winters. The plan was well con
trived, but never carried into execution circumstance, perhaps, to which the rebels were indebted for their subsequent success. In this work, too, Spesner appears a zealous defender of the administration of lord Grey, who had been represented to Elizabeth as exercising cruelties which drove the rebels to despera. tion.
The piece is written in the form of dialogue, between Eudoxus and Irenæus. In the begin. ning, the author treats at some length of the customs and manners of the inhabitants; and thus the regulations and measures he afterwards proposes are judiciously adapted to their national character.
Iren. The difference of manners and customs doth follow the difference of nations and people. The which I have declared to you to have been three especially, which seated themselves here: to wit, first the Scythians; then the Gauls; and lastly, the English. Notwithstanding that I am not ignorant, that there were sundry nations which got footing in that land, of the which there yet remain divers great families and septs, of whom I will also in their proper places make mention.
I will begin then to count their customs in the
same order that I counted their pations, and first with the Scythian or Scottish manners : of the which there is one use amongst them, to keep their cattle, and to live themselves the most part of the year in Boolies, pasturing upon the mountains and waste wild places, and removing still to fresh land, as they have depastured the former. The which appeareth plain to be the manner of the Scythians, as you may read in Olaus Magnus, and Joh. Boemus, and yet is used among all the Tartarians, and the people about the Caspian Sea, which are naturally Scythians, to live in heards, as they call them; being the very same as the Irish Boolies are, driving their cattle continually with them, and feeding only on their milk and white meats.
Eudox. What fault can you find with this custom? For though it be an old Scythian use, yet it is very behooveful in this country of Ireland, where there are great mountains, and waste deserts full of grass, that the same should be eaten down, and nourish many thousands of cattle, for the good of the whole realm; which cannot (methinks) well be any other way, than by keeping those Boolies there, aş ye have shewed.
Iren. But by this custom of boolying, there grow in the mean time many great enormities unto that commonwealth. For first, if there be any outlaws, or loose people (as they are never without