Edmund Spenser was an English poet, born in 1552. He is best known for his work The Faerie Queen, a poem that gives insights into Tudor Dynasty and Elizabeth. Spenser is considered one of the best craftsmen of the English language and the best poets of all time.
Edmund Spenser was born in East Smithfield, London around 1552. Not much information about his parents is available. Although, it is said that he was born in the house of John Spenser, a journeyman clothmaker. Edmund completed his school education in London’s Merchant Taylor’s School and his graduation at Pembroke College, Cambridge. His time at Cambridge shaped his career and he made a friend Gabriel Harvey, slightly older and witty and enthusiastic. In 1578, Spenser worked as a secretary to Bishop John Young of Rochester, a formal master in Spenser’s college in Cambridge. In 1579, Edmund Spenser took the first step in his career by publishing The Shepheardes Calender. He also married his first wife, Machabyas Childe around the same time. The couple had two kids, Sylvanus and Katherine.
Edmund Spencer’s first published work, The Shepheardes Calender was a series of eclogues that consisted of characters in the form of innocent shepherds conversing about life and love in beautifully formed verses. The Calender consisted of 12 eclogues, one named after each month of the year.
In 1580, Spenser went to Ireland in the service of a newly appointed Lord Deputy, Arthur Grey. Spenser worked under Lord Grey with Walter Raleigh. When Lord Grey was called back to England, Edmund decided to stay in Ireland as he had already acquired an official post and land in the Munster Plantation. In the short distance from his land, he grew a tree and named it ‘Spencer’s Oak’. Many old folks say that he wrote his famous work The Faerie Queen under that tree. Unfortunately, the tree was struck by lighting in the 1600s.
In 1590, Spenser published a translation of Les Antiquités de Rome by Joachim Du Bellay. The version was known as Ruines of Rome by Bellay.
In 1594, Spenser’s wife Machabyas Childe passed away. He married a much younger Elizabeth Boyle, a relative of Richard Boyle, the 1st Earl of Cork. The couple had a son named Peregrine.
Spenser’s life took a complete turn in 1596 when the nine-year war destroyed everything. He was driven from his home by the Irish forces. His house was burnt and an officers told him after some time that one of his infants has died in the blaze.
Edmund Spencer traveled to London in 1599 where he passed away. The Faerie Queen, his last published work. When he was buried many other poets threw pens and pieces of poetry on his grave as they bid him last goodbye. Edmund’s grave found in Westminster Abbey close to grave of Geoffrey Chaucer.
Edmund Spenser is one of the greatest poets who came from England. He glorified the English language in ways not many people can. His works like The Faerie Queen were admired by many renowned poets like Lord Byron and Percy Besshy Shelley. He is widely studied in many prestigious universities of the world.