This revisionary biographical study documents that Spenser was the protégé of a circle of churchmen who expected him to take holy orders, but between 1574, when he left Pembroke College, and 1579, when he published the Shepheardes Calender, he decided against a career in the church. At Pembroke College and in London, Spenser watched the Elizabethan establishment crack down on independent thinking. The sequestration of Edmund Grindal was a watershed event in his early life, as was his encounter with Philip Sidney, the dedicatee of to the Shepheardes Calender. Once Spenser exchanged the role of shepherd-priest for that of shepherd-poet, he understood that his role was not just to celebrate the victories of Protestant England over the Spanish empire, immortalize in verse the virtues of Gloriana’s knights, but also to ‘fashion a noble person in vertuous and gentle discipline’. The received biography of the early Spenser emphasizes Gabriel Harvey, who is reported to have been Spenser’s tutor. Brink shows that Harvey could not have been Spenser’s tutor and argues that Harvey published Familiar Letters (1580) to promote his ambition to be named University Orator at Cambridge. Brink shows that Spenser had already received preferment. His life is contextualized by comparisons with contemporaries including Philip Sidney, Lodowick Bryskett, Shakespeare, and Sir Walter Ralegh. Brink’s provocative study, based upon a critical re-evaluation of manuscript and printed sources, emphasizes Philip Sidney over Harvey and shows that Spenser’s appointment as secretary to Lord Grey was a preferment celebrated even years later by Camden.
This chapter asks and answers the question of why Ireland was attractive to Englishmen, particularly those, like Spenser, who were intrigued by adventure and had few, if any, prospects in England. The combination of Latin debates on Roman colonization and the lurid report of Captain Thomas Smith, a patron of Gabriel Harvey’s, being boiled and fed to dogs sparked interest in Ireland. For Spenser, his appointment as secretary to Arthur, Lord Grey of Wilton, was a preferment, an extraordinary opportunity for a twenty-five-year-old poet. In the sixteenth century, Ireland resembled the England of the Wars of the Roses, and it promised medieval glamour as well as remarkable opportunities for social advancement to those, like Spenser, who traded sixteenth-century England for Ireland.
will make the case in Chapter 4 , ‘Southerne shepheardes boye’, that from 1574 to 1578 Spenser was probably in London working for John Young, Master of Pembroke and then Bishop of Rochester in 1578. There is no solid evidence of why or how Spenser moved from service under Bishop Young to the patronage of Arthur Lord Grey of Wilton. At some point between 1578 and 1579, Spenser exchanged the role of shepherd-priest for that
. The Shepheardes Calender not only treats Edmund Grindal sympathetically, but also attacks John Aylmer (Elmer, Elmore as Morrill), then Bishop of London. We know that Spenser's next patron was Arthur, Lord Grey of Wilton, a military man who had previously acted as the patron of George Gascoigne, but we do not know when their relationship began. In this study of the early Spenser, the text of Familiar Letters is used to suggest that
document Spenser's association with a militant Puritan sympathizer, Arthur Lord Grey of Wilton. 16 The pendulum seems to have swung too far to the right and there may be too much insistence on Spenser's conformity. 17 We need to consider the agency of John Young, who, even if he agreed with Spenser's politics, would not, and probably could not, have
Clinton (d. 1517) married Jane Poynings, one of Sir Edward Poynings’ seven illegitimate children, and sister of Thomas, Lord Poynings; and Arthur, Lord Grey of Wilton married Dorothy, daughter of Richard 9th Lord Zouche.36 Although all the daughters of Emanuel, earl of Sunderland were married after 1640, it is worth examining their marital careers, as they provide some contrast to the observation that few illegitimate women married noblemen in the years 1500–1640. In addition to Mary and Annabella Scrope, who inherited extensive lands in Yorkshire and Nottinghamshire
which 83 Arthur Grey, ‘Declaration by Arthur Lord Grey, of Wilton, to the Queen, showing the state of Ireland when he was appointed Lord Deputy, with services during his government, and the plight he left it in’, 1583, TNA: PRO, SP 63/106/62. 84 John Perrot, ‘A brief declaration of part of the services done to your Majesty by Sir John Perrot, knight, during the time of his deputation in the realm of Ireland’, 1588, TNA: PRO, SP 63/139/7; Hiram Morgan, ‘The fall of Sir John Perrot’, in John Guy (ed.), The reign of Elizabeth I: Court and culture in the last decade
-Egerton (ed.), A Commentary of the Services and Charges of William Lord Grey of Wilton, K.G., by His Son Arthur Lord Grey of Wilton, K.G. (Camden Society, 1848, reprinted 1968), p. 70. 66 In Richard McCabe’s succinct analysis, ‘The whole of Gaelic society is here: its political, social, religious, and cultural orders joined in a conspiracy against “civility” in the occulted seclusion of a wild landscape’ (McCabe, Spenser’s Monstrous Regiment , p. 44). 67
based on Sir Thomas Masterson, despite him being seneschal of Ferns in Co. Wexford and being, as Henry Sidney noted, ‘one of the ancienteste followers’ in Ireland of his, in a postscript to a letter he wrote to Arthur Grey (17 September 1580), printed in Arthur Grey de Wilton, A Commentary of the Services and Charges of William Lord Grey of Wilton, K.G. by His Son Arthur Lord Grey of Wilton, K.G. with a Memoir of the Author, and Illustrative Documents , ed. Philip de Malpas Grey Egerton (London: Printed for the